https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OussamaChe247854

Is saying "Tiens" to someone disrespectful?

One time I told my friend casually "tiens" while giving her something and she told me not to say this as it is disrespectful as it is used only with dogs. That has since bothered me as I thought that meant "take" and she was taking French lessons and that gave her some credibility to me. Is that true?

I also struggle with words that are offensive in French and I can't realize that as their meaning is fine in english (eg.: Chienne which means in English female dog as duolingo presents and that friend told me also not to use it).

May 26, 2019

20 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AR1US

I thought "Tiens" meant "Oh"? On Mango Languages I was taught that you can say things like "Tiens, Salut!" ("Oh, Hi!") and it would be fine, so this is quite new to me. I can imagine why "Chienne" is a bad word. In Russian the word for female dog is one of the worst possible swears. (I speak Russian and English as first languages). I have noticed that there are some displacements in between many languages, like some words have subtly different meanings in one than in another.

May 26, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pom666

I am French : I agree . "Tiens" is not disrespectful with a friend, with someone you do not know well it is too familiar.

Be careful with "chienne" it can be very insulting ... like in Russian if I understand well.

May 26, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ivor810183

Would you be able to give a few examples of how to use "Tiens". Also, is there a formal way to use it. Eg. "Tenez"? It's one of those terms that I've never quite got my head around.

Merci d'avance...

May 26, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cleanthe3

There are 2 meaning of 'tiens" = Either it's from the verb "tenir" so you say "tiens" to someone you know and use the informal "tu" or you use the polite form and it's "tenez" which means "take this" "take it" . Ex: "tiens, c'est ton livre" or "tenez, voici votre billet de train" .

Or, it's an interjection like AR1US said , like "tiens, un éléphant rose qui vole ...! " in that kind of sentence, you're not really talking to someone so you don't need to bother with a formal or an informal speech .

About chienne ... there are already lots of discussions about this, you can use the search engine and find lots of them ...

May 26, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ivor810183

Many thanks for the explanation. I appreciate your time in explaining this...

May 26, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pom666

I will try ;-) In fact you can/may not say "tiens" the meaning is almost the same... cf : Oh ! Hi! (AR1US)

You explain something and your friend say nothing... and you want he says what he is thinking... instead say directly "et toi qu'est-ce que tu en penses" you can say " "Tiens, et toi etc..." It is more cool... less agressive.

You are with a child and you give him a gift that you have made... You can say "Tiens, regarde ce que j'ai fait pour toi",it is more loving that "Regarde ce que, etc..."

"Tenez" is the same thing but with a person whose you say "vous" and no "tu".

With "tiens" and "tenez" there is complicity between two persons or you try to establish complicity... I hope I help you...

May 26, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ivor810183

Many thanks. I think I get it ;-) So difficult in English that we don't have the distinction between formal and familiar...

May 26, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pom666

OK... I think this night (but I sleep well, no problem ...) "Tiens" say "TIENS !" with loud voice is absoluty not kindy ! If you tell a child with loud voice "TIENS, regarde ce que tu as fait" is more agressive than " Regarde ce que tu as fait"...

"Tiens" increases what you say ... (kindy or not kindy) it's a reinforcement (from Deepl traducteur...) In French : c'est un renforcement. I hope I do not mix your brain !

May 27, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ZarrouguiL

To conclude this debate, I would say that if you say "tiens" you need to add "voilà du boudin".

Cordialement.

May 27, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SkywalkerLily

You use Mango? I do to! It feels great to have someone else on here that does it to!

May 27, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Carmen807459

I can't realize that as their meaning is fine in english ...

But there's a swear word that means "Female dog" in English as well.

May 26, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OussamaChe247854

Wow! I didn't know that before, I thought it's just a swear as that's the only way I saw it being used. Thanks a lot!

May 26, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SoundOfWinter

It's a word that 100% means that but literally almost nobody will use it to refer to a female dog. I'd say at this point it's an almost archaic usage. Another English swear like that which comes to mind is one that starts with F and used to mean "a bundle of something, especially sticks". I'd recommend not using either as non-swears

May 26, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ZarrouguiL

Cleanthe3 said it all. "Tiens" is not rude if you're talking to someone that you "tutoie" (someone you say "tu" at). Otherwise it would be "tenez", that is not rude either. It depends on the tone you're using, as much things do.

I can't really imagine a situation when "chienne" can be misinterpreted. In most cases, the interlocutor has to have a devious mind to think that you're talking about a woman. "Chatte" is much more hazardous, because we pretty much always use it to designate something else than the animal. But you can hear a lot of dog owners using "chienne" and if you say "où est ma chienne ?" everyone will understand that you're talking about your dog.

May 26, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Y-mir

"Tiens" is absolutely correct (and not disrespectful in the least bit) in the situation you described, i.e. with a friend. "Tiens" is the imperative form of "tenir" (=hold), sure, but it's also very often used as an interjection: "Tiens, prends ça" = "Here, take this"—which you could also say it in a more formal way as "Tenez, prenez ça" (polite "vous"). Or "Tiens? C'est bizarre" ("Huh? That's weird"). "Tiens-moi ça" is a familiar way of saying "Hold this for me", but it's OK with a friend. And although you would indeed say something "Tiens, attrape" to mean "Here, catch!" when throwing something to your dog, this in itself doesn't make the word disrespectful.

"Chienne" is less problematic in French than in English, depending on how you use it: if you say "Espèce de chienne" to a woman, this clearly means "you btch" (with a very derogatory and literal sexual meaning to boot). If you say "J'ai une chienne" because you have a female dog, that's perfectly fine. We're less fussy about this than in English, where btch is (I think) almost never used to mean "female dog" outside of a strictly breeding context.

May 27, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/perrillat5

Not really. Yes it is not perfect but in France everybody could say that. Just you have to pay attention about the usage of the second person (Tu or vous) ''tiens'' will be used for relatives, friends or children ''tenez'' will be used for, officials, unknowns, old peoples. It's more respectful

I hope I help you. Have a good day, J

May 28, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/perrillat5

Idem for ''Chienne'' it's not at all an inappropriate term in french. But I think that even in American language you don't call a man ''chien'' or a woman ''chienne''. It's not these words which are inappropriate but only their bad usage. For your complete information: If you call a man ''chien'' it can mean he is a disloyal and selfish man or a man who has a hard sexual beahaviour. And if you call a women ''chienne'' it means she is a girl who has a hard sexual behaviour.

But really consider that it's a bad language (In American ''Slang'' ?) (in French, ''argot'') used only by rude people.

May 28, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Veronica342715

i used google translate with the first one. it showed up in english as "like." so im pretty sure youre ok and your friend must've misheard it for something else (?).

May 29, 2019
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