In a recent video, Lionel samples some beer at a local market in the town of Toul. In classic Lionel fashion, he delivers a witty pun:
Quand on boit de la bière Coin Coin
When you drink "Coin Coin" [Quack Quack] beer,
il faut vivre dans une pièce sans coins.
you need to live in a room without corners.
Captions 36-37, Lionel - Les bières artisanales Coin CoinPlay Caption
The name of the beer is derived from the onomatopoeic expression coin coin, or "quack quack," as in the sound a duck makes. When not repeated, the word coin has several meanings. As Lionel demonstrates, un coin usually means "a corner." He's talking specifically about the corner of a room, but un coin can also be a street corner:
Au coin de la rue Fabre et de la rue Laurier.
At the corner of Rue Fabre [Fabre Street] and Rue Laurier [Laurier Street].
Caption 39, Canadian Chocolate Seller - ChocolatsPlay Caption
The other word for "corner" in French is angle (which literally means "angle," as you may have guessed). So you could just as easily say l'angle de la pièce (the corner of the room) or l'angle de la rue (the street corner).
Sometimes, un coin can refer not simply to a street corner, but to a broader area of a town or city:
De l'extérieur, on dit que c'est un coin... un quartier chaud.
Outsiders say that this is an area... a rough neighborhood.
Caption 29, Actus Quartier - Fête de quartier Python-DuvernoisPlay Caption
Or it can have a more general locational meaning, like "spot" or "place":
J'ai trouvé un coin sympa au bord de l'eau.
I found a nice spot on the waterfront.
There's also the adjectival phrase du coin, which refers to all things local:
Pas de polémique: qu'ils soient du coin ou qu'ils viennent de loin...
No argument: whether they're from around here or from far away...
Caption 14, Le Journal - Un automne bien chaudPlay Caption
Nous sommes allés au bistrot du coin.
We went to the local bistro.
Coin is a false cognate of the English word "coin." The word for "coin" is pièce, which also means "room," as in Lionel's example above. Try not to get them confused!
C'est la pièce de dix euros, euh, qui représente la région.
It's the ten-euro coin, uh, that represents the region.
Caption 2, Normandie TV - La pièce de 10 euros bas-normandePlay Caption
You can find many expressions featuring coin on this page. Keep them dans un coin de la tête (at the back of your mind) for whenever you speak French!
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