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I know that this is used for junk food, but can you also say “Il dit des cochonneries ?” as in what he's saying is total nonsense? or is there another translation or is it simply not used in with parler or dire...?

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I won't add an answer, the previous ones are great. I will just add two correct expressions that can replace your expression: il dit des bêtises and il dit des sottises. –  Oltarus Jun 7 '13 at 9:02

4 Answers 4

About the use of "cochonneries"

In my experience (I'm from Quebec, Canada) :

Il mange des cochonneries

is used to expression someone eating junk food.

Il dit des cochonneries.

is not used to express nonsense, but is used for sexual related stuff. This can also be used with the verbe "faire" to express the action, instead of just talking about it.

So, people might (and probably will) misinterpret you if you use it to describe nonsense. And that could get you to some awkward situations!


What would be a correct expression

As far as I'm thinking I don't really see any expression to tell people that what they say makes no sense but something like

Ça n'a aucun sens ce que tu dis!

Which is very litteral.

Actually, there would be a very "street-y" expression to mean nonsense :

Tu dis de la merde!

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4  
Your description of the usage of cochonneries also applies to France. –  Gilles Jun 5 '13 at 22:02
    
I agree with Gilles. But "tu dis de la merde" is definitely from Quebec. Here the common expression is "tu dis des conneries" (slang) or "tu dis des bêtises". –  gurney alex Jun 8 '13 at 12:03
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@Gurney: It applies to France as well. I guess you are not “street-y” enough :-) –  Stéphane Gimenez Jun 15 '13 at 22:35

Cochonneries describe multiple things in the french language:

  1. junk food
  2. trash, rubbish, dirty objects and things
  3. sexual activity, as in faire des cochonneries
  4. dirty talk, as in dire des cochonneries
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Make cochonnerie a bit shorter, and you can use it :)

Tu ne dis que des conneries

If you want to use the verb parler, you could use the following expression

Tu parles pour ne rien dire

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On top of Hugo Dozois's answer, I would translate what he's saying is total nonsense as follows:

Formal:

  • Ce qu'il dit est dénué de sens. (this one is really formal)
  • Ce qu'il dit n'a aucun sens.
  • Ce qu'il dit n'a pas de sens.

Unformal:

  • Il dit n'importe quoi.

Derogatory/colloquial:

  • Il dit des conneries.
  • Il dit de la merde. (this one is worse than the previous one)
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