Slang

Swiss French slang: Four short important words

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"Ca va ou bien?!" "Ca va?" is the colloquial way to say, "Hello," or to greet someone informally in French. This certainly applies in Swiss Romandie -- the French-speaking area of Switzerland. However, this particular phrase has a different meaning entirely. The closest translations in English would be, "What's your problem?" or, "Are you crazy?!" I first heard it uttered when a teenage boy ran into my adult male friend, then shot him a glare as if to say, "Get out of my way you old fart. " My friend replied in a loud voice, "Ca va ou bien?" It's also used as a comeback when someone makes a joke at your expense, or when you find the receipt for your coffee totals 8 Swiss Francs. You must say it in a sing-song, incredulous tone of voice.

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