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Archive for March, 2013

If you’re new to Québec and looking for work, want to study, or need help integrating, you might like to mark the following in your agenda.

At the Palais des congrès de Montréal, 3 and 4 May 2013, you can visit for free the Salon de l’immigration et de l’intégration au Québec (SIIQ).

At this exposition, there will be more than 150 participants, including universities and cégeps, job recruiters (bring your CV) and associations devoted to helping you integrate. Click here to see a list of who’ll be present.

A useful link on the SIIQ website leads to Immigrant Québec, where you can download three guides related to immigration, work and education. To download the guides, click on the image below.

Immigrant Québec

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As I waited in line to pay at a café in Montréal, the customer ahead of me tried to pay by debit, payer par débit, with his bank card.

When you pay by debit with a bank card, the amount is withdrawn directly from your bank account (unlike when you pay by credit card where you pay at a later date).

The cashier tried a few times to get the bank card machine to work but was unsuccessful. She let the customer have his order for free.

She then asked me if I would be paying in cash (presumably so she wouldn’t have to give me my order for free too!).

She asked:

Vous payez comptant, monsieur?

Comptant is pronounced like content.

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Maybe you’ve been feeling pretty good about your French lately, you’ve made progress, your confidence has gone up, when, all of a sudden, you find yourself in a language situation with a francophone and you make a complete mess of it.

You don’t understand what they’re talking about, you don’t know how to answer, and you start to get a little (or very) flustered.

It’s going to happen, and it’s normal. When it does happen, you may find yourself thinking, “I’ve been at this for how long and I still can’t make my way through a conversation without getting lost? My French stinks!”

You may even find yourself wanting to pull away from French, thinking that you’re too hopeless to continue.

On the contrary — instead of beating yourself up over these moments, give yourself a pat on the back. Your boundaries in French have just been stretched, and that’s a very good thing.

If you find yourself in a language situation that’s left you perplexed, you can be certain that you’re charting new territory in French.

Why beat yourself up when you could be viewing that as the ideal moment to learn something new? To make an unfamiliar language situation more familiar to you and keep advancing in French?

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A question that comes up regularly in French conversations is:

Qu’est-ce que tu en penses?
What do you think (about that)?

For example, maybe a friend has planned a travel itinerary for her trip to Europe and wants your opinion on it: Qu’est-ce que tu en penses?

You’ll often hear an informal way of asking this same question:

Qu’est-ce t’en penses?

It sounds like “kess t’en penses.”

When this informal form occurs, you hear the question asked with qu’est-ce (sounds like “kess”) instead of qu’est-ce que (“kess que”).

T’en is a contraction of tu en.

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Bye-bye chaussures ennuyantes, allô espadrilles branchées

Bye-bye chaussures ennuyantes
Allô espadrilles branchées

Bye-bye boring shoes
Hello cool running shoes

Une espadrille in Québec is a running shoe, sports shoe or sneaker.

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Some overheard French on the métro earlier today — a girlfriend said to her boyfriend while boarding the train:

J’parlais pas de c’te fois-là.
I wasn’t talking about that time.

j’parlais pas (informal)
= je ne parlais pas

de c’te fois-là (informal)
= de cette fois-là

Remember, at an informal level of spoken French, negative sentences are very often formed with just pas, rather than ne… pas.

She also pronounced cette as c’te, which sounds like “çte” (rhymes with me, de, le, etc.). You don’t have to do this yourself, but do learn to recognise it.

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Listen to an explication in French about the correct way to adjust a bike helmet (ajuster son casque).

Ce n’est pas tout de se mettre un casque sur la tête, encore faut-il choisir un casque à sa taille qui nous convient bien et approuvé par des organismes de certification reconnus. C’est une garantie minimale de solidité et de qualité de construction.

Il faut ensuite vérifier que le casque soit stable et qu’il couvre bien le dessus de la tête. Il ne doit ni ballotter ni tomber sur le front ou la nuque. Le casque est bien ajusté lorsque les courroies avant et arrière se rejoignent et que la mentonnière n’est pas trop serrée. La molette arrière permet aussi un ajustement. Et s’il le faut, utilisez les coussinets de mousse vendus avec le casque.

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