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colloquial words for "brother in arms" - WW1 era


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I have a usage question with an historical element.

For a novel set in WW1, I'd like to have an appropriate French colloquial term for young soldiers—something equivalent to how American popular culture referred to "our boys" "over there." At the moment I'm just using copains as a placeholder for this. Would that be appropriate? Is there something better?

Thanks in advance!

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A friend with some French relations just came up with another: poilu. Apparently this was current in WW1, but I don't know the level of diction - i.e., was this a serious term, a joking term, a familiar term or what. According to the Wikipedia entry it sounds more jocular, perhaps not serious enough for my purposes.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poilu

Anyone have a view? Thanks in advance!

 

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"Les poilus" was a pejorative and an unrespectful nickname given to the french soldiers at the WW1 because they had all a big beard for obvious reasons .

It wasn't a joking term at all but I think it's not a good idea to use it in a novel because It wasn't a friendly nickname .

But it's depends of the context and the use you want to do with it I suppose .

I hope I have answered at your question .

 
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36 minutes ago, JUST_a_FRENCH_guy said:

"Les poilus" was a pejorative and an unrespectful nickname given to the french soldiers at the WW1 because they had all a big beard for obvious reasons .

It wasn't a joking term at all but I think it's not a good idea to use it in a novel because It wasn't a friendly nickname .

But it's depends of the context and the use you want to do with it I suppose .

I hope I have answered at your question .

 

Thank you! That is exactly the native-speaker insight I needed. Camarades it is.

Merci

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