Thursday, May 21, 2009

Les routiers sont sympa

Les routiers sont sympa = "Truck drivers are nice." A thought which has crossed my mind, yea and nay, in the fast lane of the 3500 miles I've chalked up on U.S. interstates in the past 10 days as I ricocheted from one ceremony to another, from South Carolina to Massachusetts to Virginia. I'm so tired I can hardly type!

But it made me think of this bumper sticker, which was a familiar sight on French autoroutes in the 70s and 80s; and the slogan was adopted in a French cartoon TV show featuring the classic character Titeuf.
But is it les routiers sont sympa or sympas in the plural?
I still am stumped.


Isabelle said...

It should be sympas, so who knows why they didn't put it in plural on this sticker!

Starman said...

I would have guessed "sympa" because it's actually a contraction of the word sympathique.

Polly-Vous Francais said...

There is a complex system (which I can never figure out) for plurals in French. I can't find the rule, but I did find random examples in my Petit Robert: un abat-jour, des abat-jour; un pique-nique, des pique-niques; but what's the plural of pique-assiette? (And I was delighted to know that the plural of le pipi-room is les pipi-rooms!)

It's petits-enfants, but is the plural for breakfast petits-dejeuners? And Starman, I remember something about contractions not being pluralized, too. And chic stays the same: des femmes chic. Like I said, I am stumped!!

Anna said...

It's definitely "sympa" plural-- it's one of the few adjectives you don't make agreement.

Anna said...

I found you a link to clarify with facts what I remember learning in high school. Har.

Who is Mary Blake? said...

Good name for my new puppy!

jonnifer said...

Huh. You learn something new every day (about the plural of sympa, not that truck drivers are nice!).

Starman said...

According to my friend, Mickelino in Paris, it would have the 's' at the end because it has become a common word.

Meg said...

But the real question is...why does Titeuf have a giant plume sticking out of his head???

Polly-Vous Francais said...

@Anna - thanks for the link!

@Mary Blake - great name for a puppy! do you have him/her yet? Another idea would be to name the dog Sacre Coeur or Place du Tertre so when people stop to ask directions while you are painting, you could just say "ici" and point to your pup...

@Jonnifer -- So true!

@Starman -- That's understandable; thanks. Of course it doesn't explain why the adjective chic is still invariable, but that's one of life's little mysteries!

@Meg -- maybe it's an S-shaped plume?

Denis Florent said...

1. "Les Routiers sont sympa" was a very very famous RADIO NIGHT SHOW from 1972 til 1983. In that show, truck drivers would call the radio, telle stories live on air, ask for help if they had an accident, etc. A solidarity-based talk show. Wonderful concept.

2. The problem of "sympa" or "sympas" is completely irrelevant, as this word DOES NOT EXIST. It's a contraction of "sympathique", which WOULD have a ending S if used with plural. But "sympa" is just a fake word.

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