Archive for May, 2011

Concordia salus (#208)

Concordia salus

Source: Wikipédia

No, that’s not French in the title. 😉

If you’ve come to Montreal to study at Concordia University, do you know where your university got its name from?

The motto on Montreal’s coat of arms is:

Concordia salus

That’s Latin for le salut par la concorde in French, or “well-being through harmony” in English. This is a very appropriate motto for Montreal, given its linguistic and ethnic make-up.

Concordia University took its name from this Latin motto. (read more)

If you don’t know what the floral emblems on the coat of arms represent, read this page from the Ville de Montréal.

The next time you pass through metro station Guy-Concordia, you’ll now think Concordia salus!

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Gabrielle, a teacher in the series 30 vies, is worried about a student in her class. She decides to talk to another student, Dominique, in search of information about what’s going on with the troubled student.

Dominique, who’s on very good terms with Gabrielle, is reluctant to provide information, however. He’s concerned that other students in his class will think he’s a snitch for revealing information about the troubled student.

He tells Gabrielle:

Ils vont me prendre pour un stool.

[Said by the character Dominique in 30 vies, season 1, episode 38, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 15 March 2011.]

Here, ils refers to Dominique’s classmates. The informal word stool is pronounced as though it were written stoule.

In this article from Jobboom, we find this quote using the word stool:

Un dénonciateur, dans la culture québécoise, c’est un stool!

[Grenier, Éric. C’est lui!, Jobboom. Accessed here on 27 May 2011.]

In the article, the author talks about la dénonciation in the workplace, arguing that it’s not part of Quebec culture.

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In past entries, you’ve read examples of how the word is used informally in the French of Quebec. Here’s a review of some of the most common ways.

If you haven’t heard used in conversations yet, start listening for it. You’ll also want to take note of how people pronounce the word in Quebec. Pay attention to the vowel sound.

Sometimes is repeated: là, là. See the examples below. When this happens, the first is stressed a little more heavily than the second one.

used in the sense of “then”

Puis là, il prend son cellulaire et…
So then he takes his cellphone and…

used to show indifference or nonchalance

Ben… je sais pas, là.
Well… I dunno.

C’est comme tu veux, là.
However you want.

used to show disbelief

Ben là, franchement!
Oh, come on! Really!

Là là used to show anger

Là là, j’en ai jusque là!
So I’ve had it up to here!

OK, là là, je suis tanné!
OK, so I’m fed up now!

Là là used in the sense of “right away”

Viens-t’en là là.
Come right away.

-Quand ça? Là là? -Immédiatement!
-When? Right away? -Immediately!

-Quand ça? Là là? – là!!
-When? Right away? –RIGHT away!!

See also entries #146 and #151.

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Mouais… genre! (#205)

Earlier this week, I went for an information session at a school. When I arrived at the reception, I asked for the person who’d be giving me the information.

The receptionist then said to me:

Ah! Vous êtes monsieur Portobello?

I tried not to laugh.

I know that Polesello, mon nom de famille « italiano », can be a little difficult. I even had a school teacher who used to pronounce it as Pollozollo. That always earned my friends’ laughing at me.

Anyway, I knew she meant Polesello, not Portobello. In my head, I thought:

Mouais… genre!

In other words, “Yeah… something like that!”

But I just smiled and told her the correct version of my name instead… just in case she really was expecting a monsieur Portobello!

If you hear someone answer a question with genre, they’re saying, “Yes, something along those lines,” but in an informal way. In some circumstances, it can sound sarcastic or evasive. Try listening for it if possible, especially around younger people.

So, there’s another informal example of genre for you! Two more examples of genre can be found in entries #197 and #199.

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Any idea what it means if someone is described as being boqué in French?

In a scene from the series 19-2, a character called Amélie is talking to police officers Nick and Ben. Amélie works as une travailleuse sociale, a social worker. She refers to herself as une T.S., which is an abbreviation of her job title. The masculine form also exists: un travailleur social, un T.S.

At one point, Amélie takes a little “dig” at Nick behind his back. She says to his partner Ben:

Ça doit pas être facile… travailler avec un boqué de même?

Nick is a stubborn guy; everybody knows it. Ben responds:

Non, [mais] je peux être aussi boqué que lui.

The adjective boqué and the noun un boqué are both informal words. They refer to a stubborn person, a “hardhead.”


Ça doit pas être facile… travailler avec un boqué de même?
Must not be easy… working with a hardheaded guy like that?

Non, [mais] je peux être aussi boqué que lui.
No, but I can be just as hardheaded as him.

Note: I’m not finding an equivalent in English on the same level of informality as boqué. If you can suggest a better equivalent, please do so. Otherwise, just be aware that boqué is an informal word. The non-informal equivalent is têtu, which corresponds to “stubborn.”

[Both quotes are from the series 19-2, season 1, episode 6, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 9 March 2011.]

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