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#1
Old 07-28-2010, 08:24 AM
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What does the French phrase "comme ci, comme ca" mean to you?

Putting this in IMHO and googling it seems to come up with a number of different interpretations of its meaning in English. Literally it means "like this, like that" in French, but as to the contextual meaning answers vary from being akin to "It's all good" to "meh", to just a step above tolerable.

What does "comme ci, comme ca" mean to you?
#2
Old 07-28-2010, 08:27 AM
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You know...

<wiggles hand>

like... so-so.

Last edited by GHO57; 07-28-2010 at 08:29 AM.
#3
Old 07-28-2010, 08:28 AM
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Mediocre.

It's ok, like.

Whatever.
#4
Old 07-28-2010, 08:37 AM
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So-so; not particularly good, not particularly bad.
#5
Old 07-28-2010, 09:00 AM
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Another vote for 'so-so'
#6
Old 07-28-2010, 09:13 AM
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Another vote for "so-so", although my ex-mother-in-law used to use it with a tinge of "meh" as well.
#7
Old 07-28-2010, 09:14 AM
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'some you win, some you loose'
#8
Old 07-28-2010, 09:15 AM
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means the same thing as "medso-medso" (sp?) in Italian.

It's middling... nothing wrong with it, but basically just ok.
#9
Old 07-28-2010, 09:19 AM
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Yeah. 'Eeeh, so-so.'
#10
Old 07-28-2010, 09:19 AM
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I've been worse.
#11
Old 07-28-2010, 09:19 AM
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Yep: not good, not bad, just so-so.
#12
Old 07-28-2010, 09:46 AM
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"It is what it is."
"You win some, you lose some."
#13
Old 07-28-2010, 09:49 AM
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Interesting to see the differences. Appearantly I'm not the only one that sees it as 'you win some, you lose some', but that is still quite different from the majority of 'meh'.
#14
Old 07-28-2010, 09:50 AM
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"So-so."

Someone once pointed out that the equivalent terms in other languages is usually a reduplicative:

comme ci, comme ca (French)
asi asi (Spanish)
sa som sa (Danish)
etsky ketsky (greek)
zozo (Dutch)
svo-svo (Icelandic)
sa sa (Swedish)
asim-asim (Portuguese)
zozo (Afrikaans)
ma made (Japanese)
mamahuhu (Chinese)
#15
Old 07-28-2010, 09:52 AM
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Comment ça va? Comme ci, comme ça.


How is it going? So-so; OK; can't complain...

You need to put it in its full context. Would any of you answer "how is it going?" with "you win some, you lose some"?
#16
Old 07-28-2010, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
"So-so."

Someone once pointed out that the equivalent terms in other languages is usually a reduplicative:

comme ci, comme ca (French)
asi asi (Spanish)
sa som sa (Danish)
etsky ketsky (greek)
zozo (Dutch)
svo-svo (Icelandic)
sa sa (Swedish)
asim-asim (Portuguese)
zozo (Afrikaans)
ma made (Japanese)
mamahuhu (Chinese)
Kacha-kacha (Hebrew).
#17
Old 07-28-2010, 10:43 AM
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Oh, you know, strikes and gutters, man. Strikes and gutters.

I think the closest American response to "How's it going?" would probably be "It's going."
#18
Old 07-28-2010, 11:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyCatLady View Post
Oh, you know, strikes and gutters, man. Strikes and gutters.

I think the closest American response to "How's it going?" would probably be "It's going."
To me, 'it's going' is much more negative. That's like saying, 'the only good thing I can say about today is that I'm not dead'. 'Comme ci, comme ca' is more like, 'oh, can't complain', or, 'not too bad, not too bad'. Not fantastic, but not bad, either.
#19
Old 07-28-2010, 11:21 AM
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Gay. Or up-and-down.
#20
Old 07-28-2010, 01:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
Gay.
Cum see, cum saw?
#21
Old 07-28-2010, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
"So-so."

Someone once pointed out that the equivalent terms in other languages is usually a reduplicative:

comme ci, comme ca (French)
asi asi (Spanish)
sa som sa (Danish)
etsky ketsky (greek)
zozo (Dutch)
svo-svo (Icelandic)
sa sa (Swedish)
asim-asim (Portuguese)
zozo (Afrikaans)
ma made (Japanese)
mamahuhu (Chinese)
That's just too freaking cool.
#22
Old 07-28-2010, 01:15 PM
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"Whatever."
#23
Old 07-28-2010, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runcible spoon View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyCatLady View Post
Oh, you know, strikes and gutters, man. Strikes and gutters.

I think the closest American response to "How's it going?" would probably be "It's going."
To me, 'it's going' is much more negative. That's like saying, 'the only good thing I can say about today is that I'm not dead'. 'Comme ci, comme ca' is more like, 'oh, can't complain', or, 'not too bad, not too bad'. Not fantastic, but not bad, either.
I don't use "it's going" as particularly negative -- I'd use it interchangeably with "Hanging in there." (Which, come to think of it, isn't particularly enthusiastic, either.)

Anyway, to answer the OP -- I'd say the current idiom that's closest is "whatever."
#24
Old 07-28-2010, 02:38 PM
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In a non-French context, what it means to me is "I'm being pretentious"—like Miss Piggy referring to herself as "moi."

Last edited by Thudlow Boink; 07-28-2010 at 02:38 PM.
#25
Old 07-28-2010, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nava View Post
Comment ça va? Comme ci, comme ça.


How is it going? So-so; OK; can't complain...
That's exactly the way I heard the phrase used as a child.
#26
Old 07-28-2010, 02:49 PM
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I've always used it in the "so-so" context.
#27
Old 07-29-2010, 06:40 PM
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plus ca change, plus c'est la meme
#28
Old 07-29-2010, 06:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alessan View Post
Kacha-kacha (Hebrew).
Gesundheit (German)
#29
Old 07-29-2010, 08:58 PM
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Literally, "Like this, like that" with the appropriate waver of the hand, meaning "So-so".

Closest English equivalent is along the lines of "It's been better, it's been worse."
#30
Old 07-29-2010, 09:17 PM
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So-so.

I don't think I'd ever use the phrase to mean "whatever", or at least not the way I hear "whatever" used most (slight disdain and/or disinterest in something).
#31
Old 07-29-2010, 09:30 PM
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"Same shit, different shovel."
#32
Old 07-29-2010, 10:12 PM
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Why do we all recognize and use the "hand waver" signal?

When the hell did the "International Gesticulation Committee" (IGC) decide upon this, exactly?

Last edited by Leaffan; 07-29-2010 at 10:14 PM.
#33
Old 07-29-2010, 10:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mutantmoose View Post
plus ca change, plus c'est la meme
Chose. It's "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. The more it changes, the more it's the same thing. Chose = thing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaffan View Post
Why do we all recognize and use the "hand waver" signal?

When the hell did the "International Gesticulation Committee" (IGC) decide upon this, exactly?
Is the International Gesticulation Committee anything like the International Color Committee, that shadowy organization that arbitrarily decrees what next year's hot fashion colours will be? And if it has that kind of power, can it sort out that whole Bulgarian "headshake = yes" situation?

Last edited by Sunspace; 07-29-2010 at 10:39 PM.
#34
Old 07-29-2010, 10:45 PM
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[QUOTE=Sunspace;12743956]
Quote:
Originally Posted by mutantmoose View Post
And if it has that kind of power, can it sort out that whole Bulgarian "headshake = yes" situation?
OP - It means so so to me.

Is the Bulgarian headshake the same as the Greek one? What about the Greek 'no' movement. I always thought the nodding and shaking for yes and no would have come from babies suckling - nod, and unlatching - shake. Why is it opposite for the Greeks?
#35
Old 07-29-2010, 10:48 PM
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Life goes on, brah! Lala, how the life goes on!
#36
Old 07-29-2010, 10:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunspace View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by mutantmoose View Post
plus ca change, plus c'est la meme
Chose. It's "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. The more it changes, the more it's the same thing. Chose = thing.
Alternatively, plus ça change, plus ça reste pareil. But I also wouldn't really use that to mean comme-ci, comme-ça.
#37
Old 07-29-2010, 10:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
"So-so."

Someone once pointed out that the equivalent terms in other languages is usually a reduplicative:

comme ci, comme ca (French)
asi asi (Spanish)
sa som sa (Danish)
etsky ketsky (greek)
zozo (Dutch)
svo-svo (Icelandic)
sa sa (Swedish)
asim-asim (Portuguese)
zozo (Afrikaans)
ma made (Japanese)
mamahuhu (Chinese)
In Bulgarian, it's gore-dolu (up-down).
#38
Old 07-30-2010, 01:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunspace View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by mutantmoose View Post
plus ca change, plus c'est la meme
Chose. It's "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. The more it changes, the more it's the same thing. Chose = thing.
C'est Dupont et Dupond
#39
Old 07-30-2010, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bam Boo Gut View Post
Is the Bulgarian headshake the same as the Greek one? What about the Greek 'no' movement. I always thought the nodding and shaking for yes and no would have come from babies suckling - nod, and unlatching - shake. Why is it opposite for the Greeks?
I haven't been to Greece, and I wasn't aware they do this as well. (I've seen it in Albania, though.) Bulgarians definitely do nod up-down for no and shake side-to-side for year, though. They also do a little head bobble (Indians do something similar) for, essentially, "okay, I find this acceptable".

They know they're doing it the opposite way of everyone else, and will switch it up for foreigners on occasion.
#40
Old 07-30-2010, 04:22 PM
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Ah, they're 1930s-style "jazz clarinetists"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hello Again View Post
means the same thing as "medso-medso" (sp?) in Italian.

It's middling... nothing wrong with it, but basically just ok.
That's mezzo mezzo. (Not to be confused with "Mezz Mezzrow".)

The Italian phrase equivalent to the French one in question is così così, which is the same as French comme ci, only a little contracted. In Italian così means 'so' and also 'like this'. In older forms of English, "so" simply had the meaning of 'in this way', 'like this'. E.g., "Why do you weep so?"

If you phrase it as "like this, like that," the meaning is more transparent than saying "so-so." Implying a mixture of some good things and some bad things, with neither predominating.
#41
Old 07-30-2010, 04:26 PM
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so-so
#42
Old 08-02-2010, 07:05 AM
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"Okay, I guess."
#43
Old 08-02-2010, 11:58 PM
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To me, it means the exact same thing as "so-so". In as much as "chien(ne)" in French means (in non-slang usage) the exact same thing as "dog" means in English. I would expect anyone familiar with both languages to say the exact same thing. It's the same exact concept.
#44
Old 08-03-2010, 02:28 AM
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Note: In French, you can also say couci-couça, it means the same thing.
#45
Old 08-03-2010, 07:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
"So-so."

Someone once pointed out that the equivalent terms in other languages is usually a reduplicative:

comme ci, comme ca (French)
asi asi (Spanish)
sa som sa (Danish)
etsky ketsky (greek)
zozo (Dutch)
svo-svo (Icelandic)
sa sa (Swedish)
asim-asim (Portuguese)
zozo (Afrikaans)
ma made (Japanese)
mamahuhu (Chinese)
Hindi: ठीक-ठाक (ṭhīk-ṭhāk)

The Danish one should be "så som så".
#46
Old 08-03-2010, 09:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arnold Winkelried View Post
Note: In French, you can also say couci-couça, it means the same thing.
Stop it, that tickles.
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