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Archive for January, 2013

In the French of Québec, you’ll come across the verb magasiner in the sense of “to shop.”

A shopper is un magasineur or une magasineuse.

Here are examples of ways that I’ve heard these words used in the past few days.

magasiner un matelas
to shop for a mattress

magasiner en ligne
to shop online

magasiner l’esprit en paix
to shop with peace of mind

une magasineuse compulsive
a compulsive shopper

In this Urbania interview, you can read the confessions of une magasineuse pathologique who, among other things, owns 200 pairs of shoes. She says:

Quand j’achète quelque chose, c’est comme un fix. Je ne prends pas de drogue, mais je m’achète des affaires. Mon buzz dure une heure maximum.

When I buy something, it’s like getting a fix (of drugs). I don’t do drugs, but I do buy stuff. My buzz lasts a maximum of one hour.

Where do you put 200 pairs of shoes?

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In an advertisement from the bank ING, listeners are reminded that tax season is approaching.

Jokingly, the male speaker mentions that this upsets some people’s stomachs, his included!

Ça me vire l’estomac à l’envers.
It upsets my stomach.

Remember that the c in estomac is not pronounced. The s in envers is also silent.

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Is it making a telephone call in French?

Is it speaking up in a group setting where everyone is speaking in French?

Is it ordering in French at a restaurant?

Take heart — you’re not alone. I think most of us struggle with things like this when learning a language.

But rather than shy away from what makes you uncomfortable, do more of that — a lot more of that.

If you dread making telephone calls in French, do it several times a day for a month. Don’t dwell over it. Just take your phone and make the call before you can talk yourself out of it.

When we accomplish the things that make us uncomfortable, we feel good about ourselves and we learn.

Do yourself a favour — study less, and go do what makes you uncomfortable instead. It will demand a lot more of you, but the payoff is huge.

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What if, instead of spending 5 hours a week studying French and 20 minutes speaking it, you spent 5 hours a week speaking it and 20 minutes studying?

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In the television comedy Les Parent, Thomas is the oldest of three sons in the Parent family.

In this image (taken from the Les Parent Facebook page), we read a funny text message exchange between Thomas (grey) and his father (green). You can click on the image to make it bigger.

Thomas thinks he can hide a house party from his father, who’s away with his youngest son Zak.

But his father discovers that Thomas is up to no good, and he calls Thomas out on it…

Père — Salut mon grand. Tout se passe bien?

Thomas — Oui p’pa. Profitez de votre w-e. Allo à Zak.

Père — Tu fais quoi?

Thomas — Rien. Je chill dans ma chambre.

Père — Good. Dernière question, c’est qui le gars qui sonne à la porte avec 3 caisses de 24?

Thomas — Hein?? Vs êtes où?

Père — Devant la maison. En arrière des 6 autos / 8 scooters / 14 vélos qui bloquent l’entrée.

Père — Oh! La musique vient d’arrêter…

mon grand, big guy (term of endearment)
p’pa, papa
w-e, weekend (texting abbreviation)
je chill, I’m chilling, hanging out
un gars, a guy (pronounced )
sonner à la porte, to ring the doorbell
une caisse de 24, a case of 24 beers, a “two-four”
vs, vous (texting abbreviation)
en arrière de, behind
bloquer l’entrée, to block the driveway

Thomas thought he could get away with saying he was just chilling in his room. But when he learns that his father is in front of the house seeing that a party’s underway, he cuts the music… and his father makes a sarcastic comment.

Here it is in English:

Father — Hi big guy. Everything ok?
Thomas — Yeah, Dad. Enjoy your weekend. Hi to Zak [his little brother].
Father — What are you doing?
Thomas — Nothing. Chilling in my room.
Father — Good. Last question, who’s the guy with 3 two-fours (3 cases of beer) ringing the doorbell?
Thomas — What?? Where are you guys?
Father — In front of the house. Behind the 6 cars / 8 scooters / 14 bikes blocking the driveway.
Father — Oh! The music just stopped… [i.e., Oh! Go figure! The music just stopped…]

The show Les Parent is broadcast on television on Radio-Canada. It’s also periodically available online at tou.tv for Canadian viewers.

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The French noun bout is pronounced bou. The final t is silent.

At an informal level of Quebec French, you may however sometimes hear bout pronounced as boutte, with the final t pronounced.

On Montréal’s Rouge FM yesterday, actress (and radio host for Rouge FM) Marina Orsini exclaimed:

C’est l’fun au boutte!
It’s a whole lotta fun!

au boutte
= à l’extrême

Sometimes this informal pronunciation of bout is also spelt as boute.

Another informal expression:

C’est le boutte du boutte!
That’s the limit! (C’est le comble!)

Although you’ll hear the pronunciation boutte in certain informal expressions such as these, I recommend that you stick with the pronunciation bou everywhere else in non-informal language (e.g., au bout de deux mois).

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The radio is a good way to listen to spoken French, but I think it’s often overlooked. You can take a break from listening actively when music is played.

On the radio yesterday, the host described the next song he was about to play as a song that he never gets tired of listening to.

In French, he described it as une chanson que je ne me tanne pas d’écouter, “a song that I never get tired of listening to.”

The expression se tanner de is used in Québec in the sense of “to get tired of,” “to get sick of,” “to get fed up with,” etc.

J’ai fini par me tanner d’attendre.
I ended up getting sick of waiting.

A related expression is être tanné de, for example:

T’es pas tanné de faire ça?
Aren’t you fed up with doing that?

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