Donne-moi tes coordonnées…au cas où.

Donne-moi tes coordonnées…au cas où.

DUN-mwah tay koh-or-duh-NAY…oh kah OO.  Click below to hear the audio file!  

Give me your contact info…just in case.

Where does it say contact? Which word means info? Beginners often ask this kind of question. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know–here comes my mantra–that Words don’t equal other words. Words equal ideas.

In French, a common way to refer to contact info is les coordonnées: coordinates, as on a map. That’s how you find someone. Only instead of latitude and longitude, we use cellphone numbers, street addresses, email addresses, and the like. Even Twitter addresses, like @spkfrnch.

And what’s au cas où? It sounds like an unfinished sentence, and it is. A normal way to end the sentence would be: …au cas où j’en aurais besoin (oh kah oo zhah noh-ray buh-ZWAA), in case I need it (literally, In case I would have need of it). But that’s long and cumbersome. Who needs to say all that, in a friendly conversation? So it gets shortened, and au cas où stands alone. It’s fun to say…you should try it.

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