Métro, boulot, dodo.

Tonguetwister Tuesday!

Métro, boulot, dodo.

may-TRO, boo-LO, do-DO. Click below to hear this pronounced!

Subway, work, sleep.

It’s not really a tonguetwister, but it’s as repetitive as one!

This is a very common French expression that conveys the dreariness of work life: you get on the Métro, which is the name of the Paris subway, do your job, the slang word for which is le boulot, and you go home to sleep (dodo). Then you do it all over again.

Boulonner means to buckle down to work or to slog away at something, and may be a variant of boulotter, a 19th-century slang work for work. It is also a little reminiscent of the ball-and-chain around the ankle, since the root word is boule (ball).

In any case, this is a great opportunity to de-anglicize your /o/ sounds. Round your lips as for the /oo/ sound, but drop your jaw farther open. Big resonating cavern in your mouth! Once you get past the first syllable, you can leave your lips rounded for the rest of the phrase. They don’t need to move, even to make the /b/ of boulot.

We Americans, especially if you are originally from Pennsylvania like me, have a very slack /o/ sound indeed. Fight it if you want to sound more French!


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