Small vocabulary for the use of the normaliens
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Small vocabulary for the use of the normaliens

As every grande école, the École normale supérieure has its own language – its argot – which allow the normaliens to communicate among themselves without being understood from outside people. Here you will find some clues.

Of course, the list below is not exhaustive. You may already know some words, which have passed in common French language, and you will surely learn many other words during your academic years at the École normale supérieure.

Agrégatif - masculine common name. Student preparing the agrégation (competitive examination for becoming a high school teacher).

Aquarium - masculine common name. Entrance hall of the École normale supérieure, used as a concourse. students wait here to be introduced to the Director or Deputy Director, or pass through to attend classes or go to the Pot.

Amphi - masculine common name. Amphitheatre, and, by extension of the container to the content, lesson.

Anatole - masculine common name. Caretaker, from the proper noun of a former caretaker of the École normale supérieure.

Archicube - masculine or feminine common name. Any alumnus of the École normale supérieure.

Bataliser - transitive verb. Talk pleasantly and spiritedly, without trying to spare time nor words.

Biblial -feminine common name. Library of the École normale supérieure. Long rows of cabinets where the books used to be stored in two-rows shelters.

Bica - adjective and masculine or feminine common name. Student in his/her 4th year of studies at the École normale supérieure, and, by extension, student in his/her 4th year of khâgne.

Bithurne ou biturne - nom commun. Dormitory room shared by two students.

Cacique - adjective and masculine or feminine common name. Valedictorian of the competitive examination for admission at the École normale supérieure.

Caïman - masculine or feminine common name. Supervisor or teacher at the École normale supérieure. In the 19th century, nickname given to a supervisor who looked like a caiman.

Carré - adjective and masculine or feminine common name. Student in his/her 1st year of khâgne (preparatory class in Humanities, preparing to the competitive examination for admission at the École normale supérieure).

Conscrit (-e) - masculine or feminine common name. Student in his/her 1st year at the École normale supérieure.

Cothurne ou coturne - masculine or feminine common name. Roommate.

Courô - feminine common name. Nickname given to the Cour aux Ernest, prominent meeting place of the École normale supérieure.

Cube - adjective and masculine or feminine common name. Student in his/her 2nd year of khâgne.

Ernest - masculine common name. From the name of Director Ernest Bersot (1871-1880), goldfish living in the Bassin aux Ernest located in the Cour aux Ernest of the École normale supérieure.

Forum - masculine common name. Spot located near the exit of the Pot and dedicated to billposting.

Hypokhâgne - feminine common name. Preparatory year to the khâgne.

Hypokhâgneux (-se) - adjective and masculine or feminine common name. Student in preparatory year to the khâgne.

Hypotaupe - feminine common name. Preparatory year to the taupe.

Hypotaupin - adjective and masculine or feminine common name. Student in preparatory year to the taupe.

Khâgne - feminine common name. Preparatory class in Humanities, preparing to the competitive examination for admission at the École normale supérieure.

Khâgneux (-se) - adjective and masculine or feminine common name. Student of preparatory class in Humanities.

Monothurne ou monoturne - feminine common name. Individual dormitory room

Palais des cubes - masculine common name. Third floor of the École normale supérieure dormitory, with dormitories in the attic, traditionally reserved to 3rd year students.

Petit-poter - transitive verb. Having breakfast, generally in the Pot.

Pot - masculine common name. Refectory of the École normale supérieure and, by extension, meal taken in this refectory.

Tala - masculine or feminine common name. Student being a practising Catholic. The etymology of this word comes from the joke mispronunciation “le tala va-t-à la messe” (meaning “the tala goes to the mass”, with a supplementary “t”).

Taupe - feminine common name. Preparatory class in Sciences, preparing to the competitive examination for admission at the École normale supérieure.

Taupin - adjective and masculine or feminine common name. Student of preparatory class in Sciences.

Thurne ou turne - feminine common name. Dormitory room for students of the École normale supérieure.

Mis à jour le 4/5/2017