|femme, meuf, feum
||[Feb. 1st, 2010|08:15 pm]
on the brink of eloquence
"The language used in les cités is an important source of new vocabulary. The main form of jargon is a word-crunching system called verlan, whose origins date back to the seventeenth century. Verlan has been popular in France's suburbs since the 1970s. It consists of reversing syllables and writing them phonetically; the term itself is verlan for á l'envers (in reverse). It has produced one of the most interesting expressions of the political landscape in France: les beurs, verlan for rab, the Arabic term for Arabs, referring to French of North African descent.|
The jargon of the cités is evolving constantly and regularly entering mainstream usage, often through publicity. Suburban kids don't speak of français but rather céfran. The beurs who make it to the middle class are now calles les beurgois. A femme (woman) is meuf, a flic (cop) is keuf, mère (mother) is reum, père (father) is reup and a prof (teacher) is a frop. Verlan goes as far as reverlanizing its terms, so that Arabs, first beurs, have become rebeus, and femmes, first meufs, have become feums. Comma ça (like that) was first verlanized as comme aç, then as askeum, and then as asmeuk."
nadeau, barlow: the story of french