Archive for December, 2011

Thank you to everybody for your comments and words of encouragement over the past year, and to everybody who takes time out of their busy day to read something here. I wish you all a new year of discovery and progress in French. Prochaine station : 2012 !

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Here’s a list of some informal spoken French to learn or review. The informal spoken language is on the left of the equal sign. The full written form is on the right. There’s nothing orderly or complete about this list — it’s just some common stuff that you’ve seen over the past few months here.

You can just learn to understand the informal language for now if you like. It’s never necessary to use it yourself if you’re unsure about it, or if you’re coming across it for the first time. When you reach a high level of fluency in French, you’ll have developed a feel for the situations it’s used in.

j’suis (chui) = je suis
j’suis pas (chui pas) = je ne suis pas

j’sus (chu) = je suis
j’sus pas (chu pas) = je ne suis pas

t’as = tu as
t’as pas = tu n’as pas

t’es = tu es
t’es pas = tu n’es pas

t’acceptes = tu acceptes
t’avoues = tu avoues

t’as rien fait = tu n’as rien fait
t’as rien vu = tu n’as rien vu

ya = il y a
ya pas = il n’y a pas

yen a (yen na) = il y en a
yen a pas (yen na pas) = il n’y en a pas
yen a pu (yen na pu) = il n’y en a plus

ya = il a
ya pas = il n’a pas
ya donné = il a donné
ya pas donné = il n’a pas donné

yé = il est
yé pas = il n’est pas
yé t-allé = il est allé
yé pas allé = il n’est pas allé

y veut = il veut
y mange = il mange

y veulent = ils veulent
y mangent = ils mangent

ç’a été = ça a été
ç’a pas été = ça n’a pas été

j’y dis = je lui dis
j’y ai donné = je lui ai donné

j’te donne (chte donne) = je te donne
j’te dis (chte dzi) = je te dis

qu’est-ce tu veux? (kess tsu veux) = qu’est-ce que tu veux?
qu’est-ce t’en dis? (kess t’en dzi) = qu’est-ce que tu en dis?
qu’est-ce t’en penses? (kess t’en penses) = qu’est-ce que tu en penses?

qu’est-ce ça change? (kess ça change) = qu’est-ce que ça change?
qu’est-ce ça veut dire? (kess ça veut dzire) = qu’est-ce que ça veut dire?

c’est-tu clair? (cé tsu clair) = est-ce que c’est clair?
c’est-tu bon? (cé tsu bon) = est-ce que c’est bon?

ya-tu…? (ya tsu) = est-ce qu’il y a…?
yen a-tu? (yen na tsu) = est-ce qu’il y en a?

quèque chose (kek chose) = quelque chose

c’est pas… = ce n’est pas…

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If you watched the video Rencontre du deuxième type in entry #376, maybe you’ll remember that the male character’s double asked:

Je te dis sûrement quelque chose?

This was the double’s way of asking the “real” guy if he reminded him of someone, if his face “said something” to him.

Were you able to pick out two informal pronunciations in his question?

je te dis sûrement quelque chose
–> j’te dis sûrement quèque chose

1. Informally, you’ll come across je te pronounced as j’te, which sounds like chte. You can read more about this in entry #272.

2. You’ll also come across quelque chose pronounced informally as quèque chose, which sounds like kek chose.

Both of these informal features can be heard in other informal varieties of French in the francophone world, not just in Quebec French.

There is one pronunciation feature of this sentence that is exclusively québécois, however:

dis is pronounced as dzi

This isn’t an informal pronunciation. Dis is always pronounced like this. You can read more about this in entry #209.

The whole thing sounds like this:
chte dzi sûrement kek chose

Here’s the clip again if you want to listen. This sentence comes at 1:40.

You can go back to entry #376 for help with the informal vocabulary in this clip. You can also continue working with this clip in entries #379 and #380.

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There are French subtitles on this clip, but in some cases they don’t match exactly what the actors say. (The informal language is subtitled in a French meant for a non-québécois audience.) Some clues are listed below to help fill in the gaps. With the subtitles and these clues, can you pull it all together?

coudon, ce gars-là, ben, depuis tantôt, tu lui es tombée dans l’oeil, sacrament, pas pire, qu’est-ce tu veux, la grosse affaire, crisse, tes chums, mon gars, faire le party, pis là, j’sus (chu), ben occupé, ça te tenterait-tu qu’on se marie?

Learn more about the language in this clip in entries #377, #379 and #380.

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Qu’est-ce tu fais là? (#375)

Ariane is a teacher in the series 30 vies. She’s sitting on a bench in the school corridor, crying.

A male colleague walks past and sees her crying. He approaches her and starts a conversation to see what the matter is:

— Qu’est-ce tu fais là?
— Je m’en veux.
— De?

To ask her what she was doing there (i.e., sitting on a bench crying), Ariane’s colleague asked qu’est-ce tu fais là, instead of qu’est-ce que tu fais là which maybe you might have expected. His question sounds like kess tu fais là. This way of asking the question is informal.

This doesn’t mean that qu’est-ce que always becomes qu’est-ce at an informal level. If this is new for you, just understand the example above and try to find other examples of it when listening to informal French. You’ll probably hear it in questions that have tu or ça as a subject: qu’est-ce tu veux?, qu’est-ce t’en penses?, qu’est-ce ça veut dire? (You can hear an example of qu’est-ce tu veux? in entry #376.)

Ariane then told her colleague je m’en veux because she felt bad about something that she had done. She was angry with herself.

By asking de?, her colleague was inviting her to say why she was angry with herself, why she felt bad. (The expression is s’en vouloir de. Je m’en veux d’avoir fait…)

[The conversation above was taken from 30 vies, season 2, episode 48, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 1 December 2011.]

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