Archive for February, 2014

Ah shit, j'ai pogné le cancer (Maude Schiltz)

Ah shit, j’ai pogné le cancer

I spotted the book in the image while browsing in Archambault in Montréal. It’s called Ah shit, j’ai pogné le cancer, written by Maude Schiltz.

The title means “Ah shit, I got cancer.” Maybe you’ll remember that the informal verb pogner (rhymes with cogner) is frequently used in Québec in the sense of “to catch.”

This book is Schiltz’s account of developing cancer in both breasts. I haven’t read the book yet (I’ve only just bought it), but as you may have guessed from the title, it’s written in a lively, conversational style of French.

Just a few words from the back cover:

Cancer. Les deux seins. Treize tumeurs. WHAT?! Ben voyons donc, tu me niaises-tu, j’ai 39 ans! Eille, come on – ça se peut même pas; mes enfants ont juste 5 pis 9 ans! Ben non madame, c’est pour vrai… Han?! Ah, shit…

Cancer. Both breasts. Thirteen tumours. WHAT?! Oh come on, you kidding me? I’m 39 years old! Hey, come on – this just isn’t possible; my kids are just 5 and 9 years old. “No, madame, it’s true…” Huh?! Ah, shit…

I’m looking forward to reading the book, and I’m sure I’ll be commenting on it in future entries.

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I went to the post office yesterday to deliver a package. When the cashier asked how I wanted to send it, I said: en régulier, which means that I wanted to send it by regular post.

It cost 9,65 $ to send the package, which is said in French as: neuf et soixante-cinq. On the receipt, the cashier showed me the tracking number, le numéro de suivi, so that I could track online the package’s delivery.

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Yesterday morning, I heard someone ask a friend: Comment ça va? The friend answered back by saying: Pas pire!, which means “not bad” in Québec.

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Are you pronouncing the French word suggestion correctly?

The letter g appears twice in this word, and you must pronounce each one. The first g is hard, like the g in goutte. The second g is soft, like the j in joute. What’s more, suggestion is a tsitsu word. The t is pronounced ts.


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Chris asked about the expression péter la balloune de quelqu’un in the comments section of yesterday’s post about the verb péter.

The québécois expression péter la balloune de quelqu’un means “to burst someone’s bubble,” in the sense of disappointing or bringing the person back down to earth.

In the comments, JohanneDN provided a good example of the expression: Quand j’ai reçu les résultats de mon examen de philo, ça a pété ma balloune. (When I got the results of my philosophy exam, I was disappointed/let down.)

If you’re about to give someone a reality check, you could say: Je veux pas péter ta balloune, mais… or Désolé de péter ta balloune, mais… This expression can have a cutting tone to it.

Je veux pas péter ta balloune, mais la vraie diva du Québec, c’est Ginette Reno.
I don’t wanna burst your bubble, but the real diva of Québec is Ginette Reno.
I hate to burst your bubble, but…

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Most words that end in -tion aren’t tsitsu words. For example, in information and animation, the t is pronounced like an s. So, there’s no t sound to begin with to be pronounced ts. But in words like bastion and gestion, which end in -stion, the t is indeed pronounced like a t — or, more accurately, like ts in Québec. That’s why suggestion above is a tsitsu word.

Don’t go overboard pronouncing ts and dz in tsitsu and dzidzu words. It’s not tsssssssss and dzzzzzzzzz; it’s just ts and dz. It’s said quickly like any other sound.

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I saw the advertisement in the image above in a public space in Montréal. The Fonds is promoting their RRSPs. An RRSP is a Canadian investment for retirement. In French, an RRSP is called un REER, which is pronounced ré-èr.

And, finally, the moose in the image is called un orignal in French!

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1. en régulier, by regular post
2. 9,65 $, neuf et soixante-cinq
3. un numéro de suivi, tracking number
4. pas pire, not bad
5. suggestion, check your pronunciation!
6. péter la balloune de quelqu’un, to burst someone’s bubble
7. bastion, gestion, the t is pronounced ts in Québec
8. un REER, RRSP (pronounced ré-èr)
9. un orignal, moose

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Des bretelles tatouées sur le corps? Il doit VRAIMENT aimer ça se péter les bretelles…

In entry #731, we looked at one of the different meanings of the verb péter, which is… to fart.

As usual, Rabii Rammal provides us with an illustrative example:

J’ai pété sur une fille.
I farted on a girl.

I assume you’d like to know a bit more than just how to talk about farting on people in French, so let’s look at some other uses of the verb péter.

In Québec, péter is pronounced pèter. The first vowel sounds like è rather than é. This is true for all the tenses of the verb péter.

In Québec, if someone farts “higher than the hole,” it’s because he’s acting like a pretentious ass! It’s a rude expression in French: péter plus haut que le trou. The French (in France) have a similar expression: péter plus haut que son cul, which literally means to fart higher than one’s ass.

When things burst, snap or explode, or if you break something, you can use the verb péter.

La bombe a pété. / La corde a pété.
The bomb exploded. / The rope snapped.

J’ai pété mes lunettes.
I smashed my glasses.

J’ai pété la vitre de l’auto.
I smashed the car window.

If it’s your temper that snapped, you could say…

J’ai pété une coche!
I went ballistic! I lost it!

Are you in really good health? Then…

Tu pètes de santé!
You’re bursting with health!

If you fart fire, it’s not because of something spicy you ate — it’s because you’re full of energy:

Je pète le feu!
I’m full of energy!
I’m in top shape!

In Québec, someone who brags will “snap his suspenders.”

se péter les bretelles
to brag, to boast
(literally: to snap one’s suspenders/braces)

Y’a pas de quoi se péter les bretelles!
There’s no reason to brag!
That’s nothing to brag about!

A graphic designer quoted on canoe.ca thinks Montrealers are full of themselves: À Montréal, on se pète toujours les bretelles en croyant qu’on est les meilleurs. (In Montréal, people always brag thinking they’re the best.)

There’s even a noun form: le pétage de bretelles.

A reader of the Journal de Montréal described the Olympics as an étalage superficiel et dégoûtant de pétage de bretelles (a superficial and disgusting display of boasting).

Or, if you prefer, you can speak of le pétage de broue, which means the same thing. In Québec, la broue is the foamy head that forms on beer. If you’re farting that stuff (tu pètes de la broue), then you’re bragging in Québec!

Arrête donc de péter de la broue!
(sounds like: arrête don de pèter d’la broue)
Will you stop bragging!

That’s a lot of vocab, so here it all is again in list form. The québécois expressions are followed by Québec.

1. péter sur une fille (to fart on a girl)
2. péter plus haut que le trou (to be a pretentious ass) Québec
3. une bombe qui pète (a bomb that explodes)
4. une corde qui pète (a rope that snaps)
5. péter ses lunettes (to smash one’s glasses)
6. péter une vitre (to smash a window)
7. péter une coche (to go ballistic) Québec
8. péter de santé (to be in perfect health)
9. péter le feu (to be full of energy)
10. se péter les bretelles (to brag) Québec
11. péter de la broue (to brag) Québec
12. le pétage de bretelles (bragging) Québec
13. le pétage de broue (bragging) Québec

Image credit: Evilox

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On Urbania, Jonathan Roberge writes about an accident he had while mountain biking.

The accident probably had something to do with the fact that he chose to go mountain biking on a volcano in Peru at an altitude of 4600 metres.

He says:

Faire du vélo de montagne sur un volcan, au Pérou! À 4600 mètres d’altitude, quelle idée de marde parfaite pour moi!

Mountain biking on a volcano in Peru! At 4600 metres in altitude, what a perfectly shitty idea for me!

Altitude is a tsitsu word. It’s pronounced al-tsi-tsude in Québec.

In his accident, he suffered massive injuries, like: deux vertèbres de chiées dans la nuque (two messed up vertebrae in the neck), quatre côtes fracturées (four fractured ribs), la mâchoire débarquée (a dislocated jaw) and all sorts of other fun stuff.

I’ve pulled three verbs from his text for us to look at:

1. embarquer
2. chialer
3. pogner

1. embarquer

To get to the volcano, Roberge paid a guy $100 to take him there by jeep.

Je donne 100 $ au gars pis j’embarque dans son 4×4 […].

I give the guy $100 and then get in his 4×4.

Embarquer can be used to get in a car, and débarquer to get out: embarquer dans l’auto (to get in the car), débarquer de l’auto (to get out of the car). If you’re travelling on the bus or métro with friends, you can tell them on débarque ici (this is where we get off) when you arrive at your stop.

4×4 is said as quatre par quatre.

In addition to dollar, you’ll also hear the word piasse used a lot: 100 piasses = 100 dollars.

Remember: gars is pronounced gâ, and pis (a reduction of puis) is pronounced pi.

2. chialer

Roberge wasn’t the only foreign traveller in the jeep. There were also some fussy British girls.

Dans le jeep, il y avait des princesses britanniques habillées comme M.I.A. qui chialaient parce qu’elles n’avaient pas de réseau pour leur téléphone intelligent […].

In the jeep, there were some British princesses dressed like M.I.A. who kept complaining that their smartphones had no signal.

In Québec, chialer is pronounced chiâler. The letter combination comes close to what “yaw” sounds like in English. This verb is frequently used in the same sense as se plaindre sans arrêt.

3. pogner

Roberge was going too fast on his bike. When he hit a hole in the path, he came crashing down hard on a rock.

J’allais vite, beaucoup trop vite, j’ai pogné un trou et j’ai été propulsé sur une énorme roche.

I was going fast, way too fast. I hit a hole and was sent flying into an enormous rock.

The verb pogner (rhymes with cogner) is often heard in Québec in the sense of “to catch” or “to grab.” What Roberge “caught” here was a big hole in the path that sent him flying off his bike. You can learn all about the verb pogner here.

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French quotes by: Jonathan Roberge, « Le Pérou, c’est médium le fun », Urbania, 21 février 2014.

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When the letter d occurs before the French i or u sound, it’s pronounced dz.

Di and du are pronounced dzi and dzu.

When the letter t occurs before the French i or u sound, it’s pronounced ts.

Ti and tu are pronounced tsi and tsu.

To describe this phenomenon (and to help you remember), a word that contains the sounds dzi or dzu is called a dzidzu word. A word that contains the sounds tsi or tsu is called a tsitsu word.

For example, différent is a dzidzu word. It’s pronounced dzifférent in Québec. Tube is a tsitsu word. It’s pronounced tsube. On the other hand, doux is not dzidzuated and matin is not tsitsuated. That’s because the letters d and t in those words are not followed by the French i or u sounds.

The words dzidzu, tsitsu, dzidzuate, tsitsuate, dzidzuation, tsitsuation, etc., are all offcois words. Offcois is also an offcois word!

Is your head spinning yet?

Here’s a list of 100 dzidzu and tsitsu words. I took them from a car magazine. You’ll notice that a few words in the list are even bisexual in that they are both dzidzuated and tsitsuated, like distinctif (dzistinctsif).

At the end of this entry, I’ve also included 30 non-dzidzuated-non-tsitsuated words from the same car magazine.

  1. disposé, dzisposé
  2. grandissant, grandzissant
  3. titre, tsitre
  4. attendu, attendzu
  5. nomenclature, nomenclatsure
  6. perdu, perdzu
  7. identité, identsité
  8. direction, dzirection
  9. introduction, introdzuction
  10. objectif, objectsif
  11. continuer, contsinuer
  12. voiture, voitsure
  13. convertir, convertsir
  14. maintiendra, maintsiendra
  15. turbo, tsurbo
  16. répondu, répondzu
  17. entièrement, entsièrement
  18. satisfaire, satsisfaire
  19. ouverture, ouvertsure
  20. distance, dzistance
  21. effectuer, effectsuer
  22. ordinaire, ordzinaire
  23. utile, utsile
  24. répandu, répandzu
  25. modique, modzique
  26. utilisation, utsilisation
  27. traditionnel, tradzitionnel
  28. audio, audzio
  29. cardiaque, cardziaque
  30. attirer, attsirer
  31. sophistiqué, sophistsiqué
  32. produit, prodzuit
  33. mondial, mondzial
  34. sportif, sportsif
  35. asiatique, asiatsique
  36. typique, tsypique
  37. dispendieux, dzispendzieux
  38. petit, petsit
  39. conducteur, condzucteur
  40. splendide, splendzide
  41. alternative, alternatsive
  42. industrie, indzustrie
  43. distinguer, dzistinguer
  44. fluidité, fluidzité
  45. introduire, introdzuire
  46. pratique, pratsique
  47. estimer, estsimer
  48. disponible, dzisponible
  49. routier, routsier
  50. intermédiaire, intermédziaire
  51. dédié, dz
  52. fantastique, fantastsique
  53. quotidien, quotsidzien
  54. imperceptible, imperceptsible
  55. compétitif, compétsitsif
  56. partie, partsie
  57. bâtir, tsir
  58. moitié, moits
  59. prestige, prestsige
  60. style, stsyle
  61. gestion, gestsion
  62. dynamique, dzynamique
  63. conduire, condzuire
  64. Audi, Audzi
  65. condition, condzition
  66. positif, positsif
  67. adulte, adzulte
  68. distinctif, dzistinctsif
  69. multimédia, multsimédzia
  70. additionnel, addzitionnel
  71. divisé, dzivisé
  72. automatique, automatsique
  73. réduction, dzuction
  74. stimulant, stsimulant
  75. rapidité, rapidzité
  76. intimidant, intsimidant
  77. commodité, commodzité
  78. distribution, dzistribution
  79. séduire, dzuire
  80. sculpture, sculptsure
  81. actualiser, actsualiser
  82. ressortir, ressortsir
  83. activé, actsivé
  84. difficile, dzifficile
  85. conceptuel, conceptsuel
  86. applaudi, applaudzi
  87. négatif, négatsif
  88. futur, futsur
  89. dimension, dzimension
  90. rendu, rendzu
  91. diamètre, dziamètre
  92. type, tsype
  93. assortiment, assortsiment
  94. sentir, sentsir
  95. naturel, natsurel
  96. situé, sits
  97. diminution, dziminution
  98. éditeur, édziteur
  99. indications, indzications
  100. onctueux, onctsueux

30 words from the magazine that contain the letters d or t but are never dzidzuated or tsitsuated:

tout, sensation, orienté, options, automobile, temps, décevant, terme, désirer, hybride, technologie, route, intéressant, tendance, donc, génération, dans, stabilité, dépassement, mastodonte, départ, rétroaction, certain, prestance, comportement, modèle, étonnement, cadran, motorisation, traction

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