French football and English puns

I recently read an article on the Guardian with the following title:

“Monaco out to restore French football’s pride against Manchester City”

The article argues that because in recent weeks French football has suffered heavy defeats, it is now up to Monaco to get a great win to bring back French football’s pride. The defeats the article is talking about are Monaco’s own defeat at Manchester City, the terrible performance by Arsenal (who has a French manager) against Bayern Munich, and finally Paris Saint-Germain’s historic debagging in Barcelona.

However, the most interesting thing to me was not the article itself but an exchange of puns in the comments section…

A user reacted to the article by commenting:

They’ll never be able to match the pride of Lyon’s.

On the face of it, the comment means that Monaco will never be as proud as the city of Lyon and its football team, but there’s a beautiful pun in this comment as in English “a pride of lions” means a group lions, so the comment can also mean, “they’ll never be as good as a group of lions.”

The above comment quickly got a reply:

Nice pun.

* Nice are a French football team.

Yes, Nice (pronounced /nis/) are indeed a French football team.

This was followed by some other comments until someone said:

Rennes are you going to stop?

This of course is a pun on Rennes, a French city, and the similar-sounding word “when”.

And the answer was:

When I get a Lille recognition. Or when everyone gets so Bordeuax my puns that they complain.

I hope you get the puns here. If not…

Click here for an explanation...

"Little" is usually pronounced /ˈlɪt əl/ but it can sometimes be pronounced in a way which sounds quite similar to Lille, the French city where I happen to live. And Bordeuax, a city in the south of France, sounds somewhat like "bored of"

Another interesting comment was:

Can’t believe these puns Angers some people so much.

This one is very easy so I’m pretty sure you all get it, but in case you don’t…

Click here for an explanation...

Angers is a city in western France, about 300 km southwest of Paris, which looks quite like the English word "anger".

Now let’s move on to a comment that contains not one but three puns!

They Caen get a Lille bit annoying at the Brest of times

Here is an explanation:

Click here for an explanation...

Caen is a commune in northwestern France and of course its name makes you think of the English word "can", we have already talked about the city of Lille and "little", and Brest, a port city in Brittany in northwestern France, sounds not very different from the English word "best".

Then came this brilliant pun in reply to some earlier comments (Rennes are you going to stop? … When everyone gets so Bordeuax my puns that they complain.):

Why should you stop, you have nothing Toulouse!

You do get the pun, don’t you? If not, there’s an explanation below.

Click here for an explanation...

Toulouse, a city in the southwestern part of France, sounds very much like "to lose".

This was followed by a comment with two puns:

Amiens to that!

I had to type it really fast, I was Sochaux someone was going to beat me to it.

Yes, Amiens and Sochaux are French towns and the pun is…

Click here for an explanation...

Amiens looks like the English word "amen" (/ˌɑːˈmen/) and Sochaux sounds like "so sure".

There were of course many more puns to follow. If you are interested, you can have a look here.

But before wrapping this post up, here is one more comment for you:

I’m afraid your pun just doesn’t cut the Dijon.

Do you get the play on words? Tell us in your comments what you think it means and also what you think of this post… and French football’s pride…

* A footnote to this post: Monaco did indeed restore French football’s pride by beating Manchester city 2-0 in the return match yesterday evening, drawing 6-6 on aggregate, and winning the tie thanks to their superior away goals.

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Jean-Marc L
Active Learner
7 years ago

It’s really funny. I only found “nothing Toulouse”.

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