Archive for March, 2013

Fido is a mobile phone company.

— Bonjour. Un café, s’il vous plaît.
— Pour un café régulier, dites régulier. Pour un cappuccino, dites cappuccino. Pour un café latte, dites café latte.
— Café latte?…
— Vous avez dit tasse de thé. Pour confirmer votre choix, dites oui.
— Euh, non… non…
— Vous avez dit tasse de thé.

Chez Fido, on sait que vous détestez parler à une machine. C’est pourquoi nos conseillers sont plus faciles à joindre quand vous nous appelez. Avec Fido à l’écoute, vous aimerez votre Fido.

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Just when it seemed like spring wasn’t too far off, winter has returned to Montréal. The city has turned white again and the snow is still falling.

On the radio, an announcer tried to reassure listeners that spring is indeed on its way, despite this latest snowfall. It’s supposed to warm up next week.

He told us that spring is coming by saying:

Le printemps s’en vient.

Perhaps you’re not familiar with how the verb s’en venir (to come) works. It’s used frequently in Québec, so it’s a good idea to learn it.

L’été s’en vient.
Le train s’en vient.
Les vacances s’en viennent.
Les examens s’en viennent.
Dis-lui que je m’en viens.
Viens-t’en, je t’invite*.

*je t’invite = my treat, it’s on me

Or from a song by Avec pas d’casque:

« La journée qui s’en vient est flambant neuve »

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In Cynthia Dulude’s video posted in entry #549, we hear informal pronunciations of je suis and je sois.

Je sois is the subjunctive form of je suis.

She pronounced je suis as j’su’s (chu), and je sois as j’sois (choi):

… j’su’s maintenant la nouvelle blogueuse* beauté de msn.fr.

… profiter du fait que j’sois là.

Learn to recognise these informal pronunciations.

*Un blogueur is a blogger. The feminine form is une blogueuse. A blog is un blogue.

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Even though the word pairs below have similar roots, take a look at how only one word in each pair is a tsitsu word.

patinage / patin

Patinage is a tsitsu word.
Patin is not.
1. patinage (patsinage)
2. patin (patin)

matinée / matin

Matinée is a tsitsu word.
Matin is not.
1. matinée (matsinée)
2. matin (matin)

latine / latin

Latine is a tsitsu word.
Latin is not.
1. latine (latsine)
2. latin (latin)

In the number 1s, the t is followed by the vowel sound i. So the t is pronounced ts.

In the number 2s, the t is followed by the nasal vowel sound in. So the t is not pronounced ts.

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In Québec, d gets pronounced dz before the French vowel sounds i and u. (dzidzu)

And t gets pronounced ts before the French vowel sounds i and u. (tsitsu)

Here are some dzidzu words:

dîner (dzîner), mardi (mardzi), duc (dzuc), perdu (perdzu)

And here are some tsitsu words:

tirer (tsirer), type (tsipe), tube (tsube), battu (battsu)

Here are some words containing d or t that are not dzidzu or tsitsu words (can you explain to yourself why?):

matin, douleur, information, Canada, côte, tour, donner

Now for some trickier stuff.

Words can never be dzidzu or tsitsu before the nasal vowels un, on, in, an:

patin, dingue, don, ton, tant, dans, inopportun

But they are indeed dzidzu and tsitsu if the nasal vowel sound is preceeded by a y sound:

canadien (canadzien), tiens (tsiens), Dion (Dzion)

And they are also dzidzu and tsitsu before the ui vowel sound:

tuile (tsuile), conduire (condzuire)

Remember, no need to stress over all of this because it’s never necessary to dzidzuate and tsitsuate to make yourself understood by the Québécois!

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Magane pas tes organes

A government of Québec health campaign aimed at preventing young people from taking up cigarette smoking tells us:

Magane pas tes organes

Maybe you’ve seen these promotional images around town, like on Montréal buses.

to wreck

Magane pas tes organes
Don’t wreck your organs

It sounds catchier in French because magane rhymes with organes.

In an attempt to appeal to young people, the wording has an informal feel typical of the spoken language — the ne is absent (magane pas tes organes instead of ne magane pas tes organes).

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Another « googlage » that led someone to OffQc:

why are the canadiens referred to in the singular in french

The Canadiens in question here are the Montréal NHL hockey team.

You’ll very often find the team referred to as le Canadien, as a nickname for the team.

Two headlines:

Le Canadien bat les Flyers 4-1 (Radio-Canada)
The Canadiens beat the Flyers 4-1

Le Canadien revient de l’arrière pour vaincre le Lightning (Le Devoir)
The Canadiens make a comeback and beat the Lightning

The plural is used too:

Les Canadiens ont inscrit deux buts […]. (TVA Sports)
The Canadiens scored two goals […].

But if you want to sound “in the know,” you can incorporate the singular into your French as well!

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