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J’crois que j’ai utilisé toutes mes journées de maladie, faque j’vais caller morte. I think I’ve used up all my sick days at work, so I’m gonna call in dead.

If only!

The expression utiliser une journée de maladie means “to use a sick day (at work),” which is calqued on the English equivalent. We can also say this expression as prendre un congé de maladie.

Faque means alors, “so.” It comes from a reduction of (ça) fait que.

Caller (pronounced câllé; the â makes an “aww” sound) derives from the English verb “call.” Caller as used in this meme is strictly an informal usage.

Caller morte (to call in dead) is not a frequently used expression in Québec. Despite the Québécois’ reputation of having a laid-back attitude to life, not even here is it common to call in dead at work! The expression is just used for comic effect. It’s based on the equally informal expression caller malade (to call in sick).

Don’t confuse the informal caller with the verb caler. Not only are these two verbs pronounced differently (caler doesn’t use the â sound), they don’t mean the same thing. Example: caler une bière, to down a beer, to chug a beer. Caler une bière is a Québécois expression.

Image source: quebecme.me

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Update:

To make this meme sound even more like colloquially spoken French, we could change j’vais to j’vas (sounds like jvâ). This alternate conjugation is frequently heard in the spoken French of Québec.

You’ll also hear m’as (sounds like ). It means the same thing as j’vas/j’vais (m’as caller morte, I’m gonna call in dead).

An alternate and more spontaneous sounding wording:

J’pense que j’ai pris toutes mes journées de maladie, faque m’as caller morte / faque j’vas caller morte.

Here’s a new texto conversation in French taken from the Les Parent Facebook page.

We saw another one recently in entry #874.

Today’s conversation uses the word niaiseux. The conversation takes place between husband (blue) and wife (grey).

Click on the image to make it bigger.

Chéri, c’est quoi, le nouveau NIP de la carte?
Honey, what’s the [bank] card’s new PIN?

Tu devrais pas demander ça par texto.
You shouldn’t ask that in a text message.

Je sais, mais je suis pressée.
I know, but I’m in a rush.

(Ton âge) x 3 – 125, date du décès de ton oncle Guy, mon chiffre chanceux, nombre de pattes de mon premier chien.
(Your age) x 3 – 125, the day your uncle Guy died, my lucky number, the number of paws my first dog had.

1-2-3-4?
1-2-3-4?

Affirmatif…
Affirmative…

Niaiseux.
You goof.

NIP stands for numéro d’identification personnel. It’s pronounced like a word, not as three individual letters. Your NIP is the code you enter at the bank machine or when paying by debit.

Un texto is a text message. Par texto means “by text message.” This is similar to un courriel (an email) and par courriel (by email).

The wife calls the husband niaiseux here. She’s teasing him when she says this. It’s like calling him a goof for delivering the PIN to her through coded language. The feminine form is niaiseuse.

The adjective niaiseux can also mean “idiot” or “stupid” and be used to insult someone. It’s obvious here that it’s being used to tease though, not insult.

In the last post, we saw an example of the Québécois verb gosser.

Let’s take a closer look at how the verb gosser can be used in the sense of “to bug someone” or “to give someone a rough time.”

Here are some good examples pulled from a quick Google search:

Au secondaire tu n’arrêtais pas de me gosser avec ça! In secondary school, you always bugged me about that!

Mon propriétaire est un vieux pervers dégueu qui arrête pas de me gosser. The owner is a disgusting, old pervert who keeps bugging me.

Ma blonde arrêtait pas de me gosser pour en acheter une. My girlfriend kept bugging me to buy one.

In the last entry, Rabii Rammal used se faire gosser instead. If gosser quelqu’un means “to give someone a rough time,” then se faire gosser means “to be given a rough time” by someone. Rammal wrote:

Tous, homme ou femme, ont le droit de ne pas se faire gosser dans la rueEverybody, male or female, has the right to not be bothered in the street.

Here are a few more examples pulled from a Google search:

Je me faisais gosser par les infirmières à l’hôpital pour que mes garçons boivent aux 3 heures. I was bugged by the nurses at the hospital to get my boys to drink every 3 hours.

Je me suis fait gosser par un policier. I was given a rough time by a policeman.

J’haïs tellement ça me faire gosser par un vendeur! I hate it so much when salesmen bug me!

Tips: Aux trois (quatre, cinq…) heures means “every three (four, five…) hours.” J’haïs is pronounced ja-i.

In short:

gosser quelqu’un
to give someone a rough time

se faire gosser par quelqu’un
to be given a rough time by someone

The verb gosser has even more uses than just the ones here. Let’s leave that for a future post…

In La Presse, Rabii Rammal writes an article in response to a video called “10 hours of walking in NYC as a woman.” This video shows a woman who receives unwanted attention 100 times in 10 hours walking through New York.

Rammal’s article (C’est rassurant, être un homme) contains a few Québécois usages.

Referring to the men who called out to the woman asking how she was doing, he writes:

Qu’est-ce que t’en as à colisser de comment elle va? What the hell do you care how she’s doing?

He also writes:

Tous, homme ou femme, ont le droit de ne pas se faire gosser dans la rue. Everybody, male or female, has the right to not be bothered in the street.

In the first quote, qu’est-ce que t’en as à colisser? (“what the hell do you care?” or even “what the fuck do you care?”) is an impolite usage.

Gosser quelqu’un means “bother, exasperate, nag someone,” example: y’arrête pas de me gosser avec ça, “he won’t stop bothering me about that; he won’t stop nagging me about that.” Rammal’s quote uses se faire gosser.

[French quotes written by Rabii Rammal in C’est rassurant, être un homme, La Presse, 2 November 2014.]

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When you order food at a fast food restaurant, you’ll need to know these expressions: C’est pour ici? (Is it for here?) C’est pour manger ici? (Is it for [eating] here?) C’est pour emporter? (Is it to go?) C’est pour ici ou pour emporter? (Is it for here or to go?)

At a fast food restaurant in Montréal this weekend, the cashier left me wondering what my third possibility was for where to eat my food.

- C’est pour emporter?
- Non.
- C’est pour manger ici?

- Is it to go?
– No.
– Is it for here?

:-|

Here’s a fictitious text message conversation between two brothers (Zak and Oli) taken from the Québécois television comedy Les Parent.

You can click on the phone to enlarge it.

Oli, es-tu réveillé?
Oli, are you awake?

Ouais… Pas capable de dormir.
Yeah… Can’t sleep.

Lol! Moi non plus. J’entends ronfler jusque dans ma chambre.
Lol! Neither can I. I can hear the snoring all the way in my room.

Je sais. Imagine quand tu dors dans le même lit.
I know. Imagine what it’s like when you sleep in the same bed.

Yark! Grand-p’pa devrait clairement se faire opérer les fosses nasales! Lol!
Yuck! Granddad obviously needs to get his nostrils operated! Lol!

Heu… C’est ma blonde qui ronfle.
Uh… It’s my girlfriend who’s snoring.

Notes

Réveillé means “awoken” (awoken from sleep). Debout means “up” (physically out of bed).

Learn the difference between moi aussi and moi non plus. Moi aussi means “me too.” Moi non plus means “me neither.”

– J’aime ça. I like that.
– Moi aussi. So do I.

– J’aime pas ça. I don’t like that.
– Moi non plus. Neither do I.

Capable often sounds like capab’ when it’s pronounced informally. Chu pas capab’ de dormir. I can’t sleep.

Une blonde is used in Québec for “girlfriend.”

This show is called Les Parent and not Les Parents. Parent is the family’s surname. The title translated into English is “The Parent Family.”

In French, you never put an s on a surname in the plural, no matter what the ethnic background: les Tremblay, les Rossi, les Jackson.

Because this comedy deals with the trials of being a parent, the title is in fact also a play on words (les Parent sounds like les parents).

If you like Humans of New York, be sure to take a look at Portraits de Montréal. The creators strike up conversations with strangers and post part of the conversation online for us to read, accompanied by a photo.

As I browsed through the images on Facebook, I came across two examples of French that you’ll find useful to learn:

au primaire, (when I was) in primary school
au secondaire, (when I was) in secondary school

A young woman says:

Je me faisais intimider quand j’étais au primaire.
I was bullied when I was in primary school.

If you click on the thumbnail, you can read the entire quote on Facebook.

au-secondaireAnother young woman says:

J’avais des troubles du comportement intenses au secondaire.
I had severe behaviour issues when I was in secondary school.

I often notice learners of French wonder how to talk about their school years in Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, etc.

Learn this third expression: en (première, deuxième…) année.

quand j’étais en quatrième année
when I was in Grade 4

Similarly, if you have Grade 12 where you live, you can say the expression “in Grade 12″ as en douzième année.

Don’t say en grade douze. The word grade does exist in French, of course, but it’s not used to talk about school years.

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Portraits de Montréal on Facebook

Portraits de Montréal official site

Here’s some random French I overheard today in Montréal while out.

All of these examples of French were said by a group of three women in their 60s in the seating area of a public space.

1. Y’a une place icitte.

There’s a place (to sit) here.

Y’a is an informal pronunciation of il y a. Icitte means ici and is often heard at the informal level of language.

2. Amène une chaise.

Bring a chair. Get a chair.

The verb amener is used here to tell someone to bring something. There’s another example of this below.

3. Qu’est-ce tu veux?

What d’you want?

Qu’est-ce sounds like kess. Dropping que here (qu’est-ce tu veux instead of qu’est-ce que tu veux) is an informal usage.

4. Amène-moi un biscuit.

Bring me a cookie.

Here’s another example of the verb amener. The woman who said this yelled it out to her friend who was ordering food.

5. A s’en vient.

She’s coming.

You’ll often hear elle pronounced informally as a, like the a in ma, ta or la. The verb s’en venir is frequently used: je m’en viens, I’m coming; tu t’en viens, you’re coming; y s’en vient, he’s coming; y s’en viennent, they’re coming.

One of the three women said this as her friend was coming back to their table after ordering food.