“Ah, bon?!”, “Baaaah oui!”, “Ben non!” are all French familiar verbal expression that many tourists or even foreigners who live in France do not know or fully understand… Some friends of mine once told me that they thought on hearing the expression “Ben oui!” that people were talking about a certain Ben…
French is also a language where intonation can change, sometimes completely, the meaning of a sentence and for example the same sentence with a question mark at the end is perfectly grammatically correct without any other changes: “Vous aimez la France” which translates by “You like France” and “Vous aimez la France?” which translates by “Do you like France?” are both grammatically correct.
But now talking about bon, ben and bah…. Well, let’s take them on by one.
“Ah, bon?!” does not mean that things are good – like in the word “bon” – but can be translated as “Oh, really?!” So no offence if you share with somebody an unfortunate happening and they answer with “Ah, bon”; they do not mean “I am glad this happened to you!!!!” 🙂
“Bah oui”, “baaaaah oui”, “bah non”, “baaaaah non” are utilized in two different cases:
– The short “bah” followed by both “oui” or “non” means the obviousness of the answer, “obviously”, “of course” like in “Est-ce que tu aimes boire du champagne?” “Bah, oui!” (Do you like drinking champagne? Of course)
-The long “baaaaaaah” means hesitation. In English it can be translated as “I think yes/no but I am not really sure” like in “Est-ce que tu aimes manger cuisses de grenouilles?” “Baaaaaaah, non” (Do you like to eat frog legs? Not really)
“Ben” is used in exactly the same sense. “Beeeeeeeeen oui/non” or “ben oui/non”
These expressions are frequently used in familiar language in France
Hi, I am Carla. I am living and working in the beautiful city of Toulouse, France.
I like history, travel and... the southwest of France and try to share through this blog information about events that might be of interest to the travelers to this part of the world!