Here are 5 new items for you to learn in French:
- 3 colloquial French expressions overheard in Montréal
- 2 images related to dogs seen in Montréal
1. Hier y’a fait chaud en tabarouette!
It was darn hot yesterday!
A man said this the day after the temperature had warmed up a little. He exaggerated though by saying that it was really hot the day before, even if the temperature wasn’t in fact hot (it was just warmer than usual).
Y’a is an informal pronunciation of il, so y’a fait chaud is a colloquial pronunciation of il a fait chaud.
Tabarouette sounds like ta-bar-wett. The expression en tabarouette makes the adjective that comes before it stronger. Tabarouette derives from the québécois swear word tabarnak, but tabarouette is a non-offensive version of it (like “darn” instead of “damn”).
C’est cher en tabarouette!
It’s darn expensive!
Darn! Holy cow!
2. Qu’est-ce tu fais à soir?
Whaddya doin’ tonight?
The girl that said this didn’t ask qu’est-ce que tu fais à soir?, she asked qu’est-ce tu fais à soir? She dropped the word que. This often happens during informal French conversations before the word tu. Qu’est-ce on its own without the que sounds like kess.
Remember, tu in Québec sounds like tsu.
Qu’est-ce tu fais?
(kess tsu fè)
What’re you doin’?
Qu’est-ce tu veux?
(kess tsu veu)
Qu’est-ce t’en penses?
(kess tan pense)
Whaddya think (about that)?
À soir means the same thing as ce soir. In most forms of writing, it’s better to use ce soir. In regular conversations, you’ll hear both ce soir and à soir.
3. Ah ok, là j’comprends!
Ah ok, now I understand!
Ah ok, now I get it!
Maintenant isn’t the only way to say “now” in French. In Québec, là is very often used instead. Sometimes you’ll even hear it repeated for extra effect.
Là là, chu tanné!
Now I’m really fed up!
Now I’ve really had it!
Chu is an informal pronunciation of je suis.
If your animal can make an effort, so can you!
This funny sign in Montréal asks dog owners to make an effort (i.e., pick up after their dog) after their dog has “made an effort” (i.e., gone poo).
Merci de ramasser
Thank you for picking up (after your dog)
Remember, ramasser in Québec is pronounced ramâsser. The accented â sounds something like “aww.”
If the word contains â, that’s easy: say “aww.” But some words take the “aww” sound even if they aren’t written with the accent. Here’s a list of 50 French words pronounced with the “aww” sound but not written with the accented â.
Remember, it isn’t necessary for you to pronounce â as “aww” to make yourself understood. If you pronounce â like a regular a sound, everybody will understand you. At the very least, learn to hear the difference between the â and a sounds so that you recognise the word that people are saying.
New dog exercise area
A little farther down the street, I spotted another sign related to dogs.
This sign tells us that in May 2014 the fenced off area will become a zone for dogs to run around in.
The masculine word air means “air.” The feminine word aire means “zone” or “area.” Maybe you’ll remember this no-smoking sign in French containing a play on the words air and aire.