Rohff, rapper in linguist mode

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(AFP) – Do you sometimes say that you are “in” deconfinement mode or “in” rest mode? You don’t necessarily know it, but if the expression is commonly used by politicians, journalists and the general public, it is probably thanks to rapper Rohff.

his album “Beyond my limits”, released in 2005 and sold at around 300 . 00 0 copies, “En Mode” was a huge hit. Throughout this title built around an anaphora, the rapper from Vitry-sur-Seine explains that he is “in big sound mode”, “in studio mode” or even “in automatic mode”

“It marked the spirits to the point of entering into everyday language. I have already seen images of the National Assembly, presidents or ministers saying it”, tells AFP Rohff, who does not hesitate to qualify his find of expression “the most contagious of the last twenty years”.

“It is a form of recognition”, insists the artist of 43 years old, Housni Mkouboi for civil status.

“It shows that nothing is wrong is impossible. Me, it is (the Japanese animated series) Grendizer who taught me to speak French “, specifies this native of the Comoros who arrived in France at the age of 7 years.

“I had to get up to speed very quickly. I was a little embarrassed, people laughed at me. I wanted to bring back good points and satisfaction tickets from school for my mother. It gives you a penchant for the language. “

His writing, recognized and hailed by the critics, allowed Rohff to become one of the most popular rappers of his generation, with nearly 2 million albums sold. And to create many expressions, which have become very popular among rap fans and beyond.

– “Strike force” –

In 2005, with his hit “It’s nice”, many young people have thus started to say “it sounds like zizir” when they were happy.

Another example, the word “zumba”, basically a dance close to fitness, which has become in the mouths of Rohff, then in those of music critics, an effective way to qualify urban pop in fashion.

“It is necessary to prove that the language is not limited to the words of the dictionary and is renewed. When you’re French, you live in this language. It’s my job to speak to the public, to touch them with my metaphors, my expressions “, Rohff analysis.

” Rap and song in general offer us a written record words used in the street “, analyzes Aurore Vincenti, specialist in rap and the evolutions of the French language.

” It is a music which has an enormous force of strike, its popularity guarantees an extremely wide distribution of this language that we tended to localize in certain suburbs, “adds the linguist, noting that more and more expressions from rap are democratized among young people as” fat “(synonymous with “mec”), “OKLM” (“quiet”) or “moula” (“money”).

Robert’s Historical Dictionary of the French Language has thus integrated the expression “in mode”, without however that Rohff is credited and with an etymology eyeing more towards the data-processing modes.

– Creativity –

“It came to me to 1993 – 1994 while playing Streetfighter game on Nintendo. I wanted to win all the time and I played with the different game modes: hard mode, etc … “, assures for his part the rapper from Val-de-Marne, who adds” never to have heard the expression “before to make a piece of it.

The etymology “is not an exact science”, recalls Aurore Vincenti for whom, creator or not, Rohff “has certainly contributed to popularize and widely disseminate this expression “.

Why so many games and innovation among rappers?

” There is more creativity with the language in working-class circles than in bourgeois or elitist circles, where we tend to pick up and correct children who express themselves outside the framework of grammatically correct “, argues the linguist.

And these privileged circles, Rohff, like the majority of rappers, managed to touch them with his words.

“Once I received a letter from someone who comes from a family of great French florists, the top he bourgeoisie, he even sent me a photo of their domain “, recalls the artist.

” Opposites attract and I have always found it funny ” , he adds, “we were attracted to the light and those who are in the light are attracted to the dark.”

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