I saw a sign today using the verb se ramasser here in Montréal, so let’s review this verb. First things first: pronunciation.
The verb ramasser is pronounced ramâsser. That â sound in there comes close to how “aww” sounds in English. It’s only the second a that’s pronounced “aww,” not the first one.
You may remember that ramasser was included in this list of 50 words using the â sound in Québec but not written with the accented â.
In entry #664, we saw a little sign on a tree that told dog owners to pick up their dog crap from the street. The sign says:
Pick it up, for fuck’s sake!
OK, no, it doesn’t. It just says ramassez! They’re much more polite than me.
In entry #437, the mother in the television show Les Parent is tired of her sons’ messiness.
She uses the verb se ramasser when she says:
Ce que je vous dis souvent aussi c’est de ranger pis de vous ramasser.
What I often also tell you is to tidy up and to pick up after yourselves.
Ranger means “to tidy up.” But se ramasser is “to pick up after oneself.”
If you heard a parent say ramasse-toi to a child, the parent has said “pick up after yourself.”
The sign that I saw today in Montréal encourages residents of the city to come together and clean up after ourselves in public places (streets, sidewalks, alleys, etc.). The sign says:
On se ramasse tous ensemble
Let’s pick up after ourselves all together
The sign says that we can sign up for the corvée. Une corvée is work carried out in public. The work is voluntary. In the case of this corvée in particular, we’re dealing with une corvée de propreté where residents come together to clean up.
If you live in Montréal, you know that the streets here look pretty nasty after all the snow has melted away in the spring…