2 February 2024

In a schoolyard, in France, in September 2018.

Sf you have children or teenagers at home, there is little chance that you have escaped the “quoicoubeh” craze. Quoicoubeh, quesaco? In this language game, someone first starts talking to you in a not very audible way, muttering at the end of the sentence deliberately unintelligible remarks such as: “Are you cramped? » The purpose of the maneuver is to encourage you to ask for clarification: ” What ? » Once you have had the misfortune to use this interrogative pronoun, the trap closes in on you and your interlocutor, as if he had managed to trip you up lexically, responds exultantly: “Quécoubeh !!! »

If the term itself does not mean anything, the dialogic exchange as a whole comes down more or less to: you have been well had. There are variants, adapted to your possible reactions. If you answer: ” Eh ? »your interlocutor will then continue with: “Heinpayaye”, which, again, means nothing. This strange language game would have for inventor Camsko La Vache, a 22-year-old tiktokeur with 350,000 subscribers, whose onomatopoeic replicas have been circulating for a few months on the networks. In a video, we see him trapping his own mother with a quoicoubeh, while she empties the remains of the meal in the trash. “You have nothing to do with your life, my poor, it’s unfortunatelaments the mother. At your age, you’d better look for work. »

Linguist Julie Neveux, interviewed in March by the magazine Pointsees in the use of this fashionable interjection the sign of a “nihilistic mini-drive intended to sow chaos in classical linguistic interaction”. For an adult raised in the idea that words necessarily mean something, the quoicoubeh, mumbled all day long by a laughing teenager, can trigger a certain moral panic and suggest that the evil genius of TikTok has suddenly taken to possessing the spirit of his offspring.

Generational rallying sign

This invasive gimmick undeniably testifies to the epidemic force of the Chinese social network. Admittedly, there were many modes before in the schoolyards, but they diffused more slowly, where, jumping from one screen to another, they now take as quickly as fires of pine forests. Before ending up soon being stale, the quoicoubeh is still a kind of generational rallying sign where the youngest have fun not being understood by adults, their teachers, their parents.

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