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In #922, the expression prendre une marche came up, which is a calque of the English expression to take a walk.

A reader asked what expressions could be used in place of prendre une marche. It’s good to know other ways of saying it because in some circumstances, like in a composition in your French course, it might be best to use a different wording.

(This doesn’t mean I consider prendre une marche to be incorrect, of course — but some people do, and it’s good to be aware of that so you can choose when and if you’ll use the expression.)

I consulted the Usito dictionary, and here are other possibilities they suggest:

aller marcher
faire une marche
faire une promenade
faire un tour
se promener

The Banque de dépannage linguistique also suggests other ways here, including:

faire une promenade
faire une marche
faire un tour
faire un tour à pied
se promener
marcher
aller marcher

I take issue with the way they label the examples using prendre une marche as exemples fautifs (and then also put them in red!), but you might still find the page useful for different examples of usage.

A reader asks how rendu is used. There are different ways, but let’s just look here at what it means in the question y’est rendu où?

Rendu is the past participle of the verb rendre. Here, we can understand rendu to mean gone to, ended up.

In an article on Urbania called Kicker Bruce Lee dans les chnolles (“Kick Bruce Lee in the nuts” — chnolles is your bonus word today), Jonathan Roberge writes:

« Y’est rendu où le gars positif que j’étais!? Est-ce que c’est ça vieillir ? Genre, je deviens un vieux grincheux jamais content? Oh, non! Je suis devenu un adulte, c’est ça!! »

“What ever happened to the positive guy I used to be!? Is that what getting old is about? Like, I become an old grump who’s never happy? Oh, no — I’ve become an adult, that’s what it is!!”

Y’est rendu où is used in his text in the sense of what ever happened to him, where did he go, where did he end up. Y’est is a contraction of il est, and it sounds like yé. Gars rhymes with pas (rs not pronounced).

y’est rendu où?
where did it/he go?
what ever happened to it/him?

genre
like, as in

un vieux grincheux
an old grump
a grumpy old man

kicker
to kick

les chnolles
balls, nuts

Quote by Jonathan Roberge, “Kicker Bruce Lee dans les chnolles,” Urbania, 19 December 2014.

Yesterday we looked at how je suis can contract when the next word begins with a vowel. For example, je suis en maudit can contract to j’t’en maudit, where j’t’en sounds like ch’t’en.

Let’s look at another informal contraction containing je now.

Je me suis can contract to j’me su’s (sounds like jme su).

J’me su’s posé une question.
I asked myself a question.

C’est bon, que j’me su’s dit.
It’s good, I said to myself.

J’me su’s payé la traite.
I treated myself.

J’me su’s couché tard.
I went to bed late.

Review. Say what all of the following are informal contractions of:

  • j’t’en (sounds like ch’t’en)
  • j’t’à (sounds like ch’t’à)
  • j’t’un (sounds like ch’t’un)
  • j’t’allé (sounds like ch’t’allé)
  • j’pas (sounds like ch’pas)
  • j’me su’ (sounds like jme su)

Answers

  • je suis en
  • je suis à
  • je suis un
  • je suis allé
  • je (ne) suis pas
  • je me suis

1. In the last entry, we saw how je suis en can contract to j’t’en, where j’ makes a ch sound (ch’t’en).

We’ve seen je suis reduced to just a ch sound before in Lisa LeBlanc’s song J’pas un cowboy (official video on YouTube here). J’pas is a contraction of je (ne) suis pas, and it sounds like ch’pas.

2. In a radio ad, I heard a woman say prendre une marche avec mon chum, to take a walk with my boyfriend.

The expression prendre une marche is a calque of the English expression to take a walk (and felt to be incorrect by certain people for that reason).

3. Parle-moi can be negated informally as parle-moi pas. Parle-moi pas comme ça. Don’t talk to me like that.

The same goes for dis-moi ça (dis-moi pas ça), demande-moi (demande-moi pas), dérange-moi (dérange-moi pas), etc.

4. Learn the phrase on peut-tu…? It means can we…?, is it possible to…? The tu here signals that this is a yes-no question. On peut-tu aller le voir? Can we go see him, it? On peut-tu arrêter de chiâler? Can we stop complaining?

5. OK, not Québécois French, but still of interest — Montréal’s got a street name change in the city centre, boulevard Robert-Bourassa.

If you’re new to OffQc, check out C’est what? 75 mini lessons in conversational Québécois French for an overview of important features of spoken language. (You can buy and download it here immediately.)

We’ve seen how je suis can contract to what sounds like chu at the informal level of language. But when the next word after chu begins with a vowel, an additional change can occur.

The expression en maudit, for example, means mad as hell, pissed off. Je suis en maudit. I’m mad as hell. I’m pissed off.

But when we apply an informal pronunciation to je suis en maudit, it can sound like ch’t’en maudit. What’s going on here?

The ch sound in ch’t’en is a contraction of je suis. Then a t sound is slipped in before en, which begins with a vowel.

So that’s how je suis en can end up being pronounced as ch’t’en, which you might see written informally as j’t’en.

Can you now say how the following might sound informally?

Je suis en train de…
I’m in the process of…

Je suis en forme.
I’m in shape.

Je suis en burn-out.
I’m burnt out. (Burn-out is pronounced as in English but with the stress on the last syllable.)

Je suis à boutte!
I’ve had it!

Quand je suis arrivé à Montréal…
When I arrived in Montréal…

Je suis allé fumer une cigarette.
I went to smoke a cigarette.

Answers
ch’t’en train de
ch’t’en forme
ch’t’en burn-out
ch’t’à boutte
quand ch’t’arrivé
ch’t’allé fumer

In the last post, we looked at 10 words and expressions common to both Belgian and Québécois French.

This time, let’s do the same with Swiss French. A word or expression used in Swiss French is called a helvétisme.

I’ve referred to the Usito dictionary again. In it, there’s a list of helvétismes prepared by André Thibault. I’ve pulled 7 words from the list of helvétismes that also happen to be used in Québécois French.

Just like the shared Belgian-Québécois words and expressions, these shared Swiss-Québécois words may be heard in other French-speaking areas as well, not just in Switzerland and Québec.

mitaines

1. une mitaine
a mitten (the fingers aren’t separated in a mitten like they are in a glove)

2. une trâlée
a heap, slew, large amount (ex., une trâlée d’enfants)

3. un soûlon, une soûlonne
a drunk

4. trempe
soaking wet (ex. chemise trempe de sueur)

camisole

5. une camisole
a sleeveless undershirt, tank top

6. un bec
a kiss, peck (ex., un bec sur la joue)

7. une case postale, C.P.
a post-office box (ex., C.P. 2500, in an address)

Like Belgian and Québécois French, Swiss French also uses le déjeuner (breakfast), le dîner (lunch) and le souper (supper) as the names of the three meals of the day.

The Québécois Usito dictionary contains a list of belgicismes (words and expressions used in Belgian French).

We’ve seen before how the names of the three meals of the day are the same in Québécois and Belgian French — le déjeuner (breakfast), le dîner (lunch) and le souper (supper).

I’ve picked 10 more items from the Usito list that can be heard in both Québécois and Belgian French according to the list’s author, Michel Francard.

The use of these words and expressions isn’t necessarily limited to Québécois and Belgian French. They may be heard in other French-speaking areas as well.

1. un banc de neige
a snowbank

2. jouer à la cachette
to play hide-and-seek

3. un camionneur, une camionneuse
a truck driver

4. une sacoche
a purse, handbag

5. à tantôt!
see you in a bit!

6. faire la file
to line up, queue up

7. avant-midi
morning (ex., dans l’avant-midi)

8. ennuyant
boring (ex., une conférence ennuyante)

9. d’abord
then, in that case (ex., vas-y d’abord, go ahead then)

10. goûter
to taste like (ex., ce vin goûte le vinaigre)

In the next post — shared Québécois and Swiss French words.