Archive for January, 2012

T’as pas d’affaires à dire ça!
You’ve got no business saying that!
You’ve got no right to say that!

Including this expression here was inspired by different episodes of 30 vies, where t’as pas d’affaires à (…) was used a few times. It’s an informal expression.

Another example:

T’as pas d’affaires à me parler comme ça!

During regular, informal conversations in French, you’ll often come across tu n’as pas said as t’as pas.

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The winter 2012 issue of the thematic (and always fascinating) magazine Urbania is now available en kiosque. This issue, #32, is devoted to the theme of lesbiennes.

You may remember this magazine from entry #385, where the autumn issue was devoted to the theme of babies.

Over the next while, we can look at some of the vocabulary in this issue related to lesbians and homosexuality.

For this entry, let’s look at some of the language that was used in French to talk about “coming out,” or revealing one’s homosexuality.

Even though the expressions below come from an issue devoted to the theme of lesbians, they can all be used when talking about gay males too.

To say “to come out,” the expression used most often in this issue is:

  • faire son coming out

Elle a fait son coming out en 2001.
J’ai fait mon coming out à ma famille.

Another expression used in numerous articles is:

  • sortir du placard

This is the equivalent of “to come out of the closet.”

La sœur de Marge Simpson est sortie du placard en 2005.*
Il est sorti du placard.

Other expressions that appear in the issue include:

  • avouer son homosexualité
  • annoncer son homosexualité
  • révéler son homosexualité
  • afficher son homosexualité
  • sortir de la garde-robe (also sortir du garde-robe in Quebec)
  • faire sa sortie du placard

If you’re looking for interesting reading material in French with contemporary and urban vocabulary, give Urbania a try.

But be warned: Because each issue is thematic, with interesting articles and images printed on paper that feels good to touch, you may be tempted to start collecting them!


*Marjolaine Arcand, « 25 lesbiennes qu’on aime ». Urbania, hiver 2012, numéro 32, Montréal, page 33.

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In Tu peux frencher un gars à Memphis, author Matthieu Simard talks about the importance of the place we call home and where we choose to end our lives.

No matter where you were born, no matter where you’ve lived in the world, what counts, he says, c’est où t’arrêtes. For him, that’s Montreal. He has some interesting things to say about Montreal, like:

Assez propre pour qu’on en soit fiers, mais assez sale pour qu’on ne se sente pas mal de jeter sa gomme par terre.

You’ll notice that the title of his text uses the verb frencher, “to french kiss.” Frencher un gars is “to french kiss a guy.” Remember, gars is pronounced gâ. The letters rs in gars aren’t pronounced.

There’s a noun too: un french, “a french kiss.”

Both frencher and un french are informal uses.

In entry #245, you can read about un french avec trop de langue et trop de bave.

[Quote by Matthieu Simard in Tu peux frencher un gars à Memphis, published on Urbania on 1 September 2009.]

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Qu’est-ce que ça fait? (#402)

In a scene from 30 vies, a father lectures his teenaged daughter about a magazine that she’s reading. He doesn’t think it’s appropriate for her to read it. She doesn’t think it’s a big deal though, and she says:

Mais là, qu’est-ce que ça fait?

Qu’est-ce que ça fait?
What does it matter?

With mais là, the girl expressed her surprise at what she was being told.

[Quote from 30 vies, season 2, episode 54, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 13 December 2011.]

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Éric asks Macha for news about Valérie. Macha’s got some funny news to tell him about Valérie, but she’s not sure where to begin or how to word it:

Éric: Pis… Valérie?
Macha: Comment j’te dirais ben ça?

Éric: So… Valérie? (i.e., So… what about Valérie?)
Macha: How can I put this?

Maybe you’ll remember from elsewhere on this blog that je te often contracts to j’te when speaking informally. It sounds like chte.

Maybe you’ll also remember that the letter d sounds like dz before the French i sound. So dirais sounds like dzirais.

Ben is an informal pronunciation of bien. Pis is an informal pronunciation of puis. The way Éric used pis here was to encourage Macha to speak: “and? so?”

[Quotes from Tout sur moi, “Passe ton tour,” season 5, episode 12, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 30 November 2011.]

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Dormir en cuillère (#400)

In the TV comedy Tout sur moi, Valérie is in an argument with her husband. In fact, he’s not really her husband because their marriage isn’t legal.

(I don’t remember the husband’s name. It’s rarely used. He’s a policeman. Let’s just call him Cop.)

Valérie and Cop are arguing because Cop wants to make the marriage official. But Valérie refuses, and now Cop feels unloved.

So Cop goes out and buys a hamster. Why a hamster? Cop explains to Valérie:

Un hamster, on peut dormir en cuillère avec.

“(With) a hamster, you can spoon at night.”

Understood message: With a hamster, you can spoon at night (but with you I can’t because you don’t love me).

Dormir en cuillère, in the sense of one person cuddled behind the other in bed. Or in this case, man cuddled behind hamster. Or hamster cuddled behind man?

Speaking of hamsters, there aren’t any cat photos on this blog yet.

Here you go.

Dormir en cuillère

[Quote from Tout sur moi, “J’accuse,” season 5, episode 11, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 23 November 2011. Image by Robert Michaud on Flickr account Trebor….hors du virtuel.]

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In frustration, a character in 30 vies says:

Maudite journée d’marde… j’ai pogné un ticket.

“Damn shitty day… I got a ticket.”

Maudite sounds like mau-DZITT. Ticket sounds like tsi-KÈTT. You can review in entry #209 how the letters d and t are pronounced before the French i sound.

Pogner — this is an informal verb with different uses, but it often conveys the idea of catching or getting stuck with something. Here, pogner un ticket means “to get a ticket” (for speeding, parking, etc.). You’ll hear pogner during informal conversations. It’s avoided in careful writing and speech.

You’ll hear merde also pronounced as marde in Quebec.

[Quote from 30 vies, season 2, episode 65, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 16 January 2012.]

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