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Archive for July, 2012

On a sign from a mobile phone company:

Des spéciaux qui vont faire jaser.

des spéciaux
specials, deals

jaser
to chat, to make conversation

faire jaser
to get people talking, chatting

You’ll hear jaser pronounced with the vowel sound â in Quebec, as if it were written jâzer.

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In the series François en série, François literally comes face-to-face with different aspects of his personality.

François is the one with the stubble on his face. The other people we see in this scene are all parts of his personality, in the form of real people. That’s why they’re all dressed the same. Only François can see these people though.

The female in this scene is the woman in François, la femme en lui (his feminine side).

We also see the artist in François, l’artiste en lui, who tries to help François attract a woman called Marie-Hélène through poetry. François thinks that the artist in him is an awful poet though. He tells him:

Mais t’es ben poche!
But you really suck!

The artist in François has a depressive personality and can’t handle criticism…

Watch another clip from François en série here.

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Une poche is a pocket, so something that’s format de poche is pocket-sized.

In Quebec French, poche also exists as an informal adjective meaning nul, “no good,” “lame,” etc.

For example: Je suis vraiment poche en anglais. I’m really bad at English, hopeless in English…

If something’s pas poche, like the price of this 414 mL Coke, then it’s the opposite.

format de poche
prix pas poche

pocket-sized
not-awful price

It sounds better in French though because of the wordplay on poche.

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I always look forward to reading the Montreal-based magazine Urbania.

You may remember this magazine from past entries on OffQc, where Urbania authors have devoted issues to themes like lesbiennes and bébés and the hiver québécois.

Right now I’m enjoying the summer 2012 issue of Urbania, #34.

It’s all about… les Parisiens.

From the magazine:

Reason number 2 of 25 for a Québécois to not feel inferior to a Parisian: Nous autres [les Québécois], nos sacres peuvent se décliner en verbes, en adverbes et en adjectifs.1 (Our swear words can be used as verbs, adverbs and adjectives.)

Reason number 15 of 25 for a Québécois to indeed feel inferior to a Parisian: Nous [les Parisiens], à partir de 16 ans, on range le sac à dos et on l’oublie. À jamais. Surtout avec des talons.2 (After age 16, we put the backpack away and forget about it. Forever. Especially with heels.)

Or this from a young Parisian woman named Marion: Quand je vivais à Montréal et que je m’habillais bien, c’était pour mon mec ou pour des garçons en général. À Paris, je m’habille pour mes copines. C’est elles qui portent un jugement.3 (When I lived in Montreal and would dress well, it was for my boyfriend or for boys in general. In Paris, I dress for my girlfriends. They’re the ones who pass judgement.)

In Quebec, you can find the magazine in kiosks. Here’s a list of places where you can find it in Paris.

This issue isn’t a comparison of the Parisians and Québécois. It’s about Parisians and their city. Some comparisons do come through in the writing, however. If you’re interested in reading about Parisians from an engaging québécois perspective, you’ll enjoy it. This issue is written in the usual Urbania style that makes it a pleasure to read.

Urbania also offers some content online. You can find some links to articles and videos related to this issue here.

Quoted material from Urbania, spécial Parisiens, no. 34, été 2012, Montréal.

1Marie-Andrée Labbé, “25 raisons de ne pas se sentir inférieur devant un Parisien,” p.40.

2Anne-Laure Naumowicz, “25 raisons de se sentir inférieur à un Parisien,” p.41.

3Marion, in an article written by Catherine Perreault-Lessard, “Souper de gonzesses,” p.50.

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In the summer months, representatives from different charities take the streets of downtown Montreal by storm.

These representatives can be found on many street corners, looking for people interested in their cause. Some passers-by stop to talk to them, while others avoid them and just keep on walking.

While walking down Sainte-Catherine Street, a group of three people in their 20s walked ahead of me — two guys and a girl. A representative from a charity approached the girl, and she stopped unwillingly to speak to him.

Her two friends kept on walking, leaving her behind. They laughed at how she got “stuck” speaking to the representative.

Frustrated that her friends had left her behind (and eager to free herself of the representative), she called out to her friends to not leave her alone. That’s when the representative himself encouraged her two male friends to come back by saying:

Venez-vous-en, les boys!
Come here, guys!

They kept their distance though, and they let their friend get out of the conversation on her own…

venez-vous-en!
viens-t’en!
come here!

And the opposite:

allez-vous-en!
va-t’en!
go away!

Remember, there’s a liaison between vous and en, so the vous forms sound like this:

venez vou zen
allez vou zen

The representative also used the informal les boys to call out to the guys. The s in boys is pronounced z, just like in English.

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