C’est un drôle d’oiseau, celui-là!
say uh droll dwah-zoh, slwee LAH! Click below to hear this.*
He’s an odd one!
Do you know someone like that? Most of us do. Some of us know we are one, and rather revel in it. Being a little odd can be fun!
The direct English translation is He’s a funny bird, that one. Some Brits will call him an odd duck, but a duck is still a bird, so there’s not a lot of difference there.
You say c’est instead of il est because it’s followed by a noun. Yes, drôle is an adjective, but it’s being used as a noun in this expression. You can tell because of the article un before it.
Why the de before oiseau? Good question. Do you really want to know the answer? You’re sure? Shhh, don’t tell anyone. The answer is: Because. What, you don’t like that answer? Sorry, that’s just the way the expression works. It’s like saying in English He’s an odd sort of bird.
And that celui-là tacked on to the end? That’s just for emphasis. It’s a very common turn of phrase in French, that one is.
*Some mobile phones, such as Blackberries, won’t display the audio player. If no player appears, here’s an alternative link to the audio file: