Archive for June, 2014

OK, fine, so Italy got eliminated at the World Cup.

I’m feeling better today (thank you), but they need to get back to work now and so do I.

Here’s today entry: talking about plans for the summer holidays.

This Les Parent Facebook update from 23 June asks:

Finissez-vous l’école cette semaine?
Que ferez-vous de vos vacances?

Do you finish school this week?
What will you do on your holidays?

The second question more literally means “what will you make of your holidays?” The comments section was full of answers from young people, so let’s see what some of them had to say.

Lots of travelling plans:

aller en Gaspésie
go to Gaspésie

aller à New York
go to New York

Je m’en vais au Portugal.
I’m going to Portugal.

M’en vas à Trois-Pistoles… yes!
Going to Trois-Pistoles… yes!
(M’en vas sounds more informal than je m’en vais.)

Rien à part brûler au soleil aux quatre coins du Québec.
Nothing other than burn in the sun all over Québec.

visiter les régions du Québec
visit the regions of Québec
(i.e., travel around Québec)

Others plan to spend time outdoors:

la Ronde, la Ronde
la Ronde, la Ronde
(It’s an amusement park in Montréal.)

Je vais sûrement aller à la Ronde ou à la plage.
I’ll most likely go to the Ronde or the beach.

pêche et vélo
fishing and biking

me baigner
go swimming

me baigner et me chicaner avec ma soeur
go swimming and fight with my sister

No holidays for some kids:

travailler, travailler, travailler et encore travailler
work, work, work and more work

Travailler au camp d’été!
Work at summer camp!

Some plan to relax or just be lazy:

D.O.R.M.I.R. tout court
S.L.E.E.P., end of story

chill out


aucune idée
no idea

Pour l’instant, je préfère être au lit.
For the moment, I prefer to be in bed.

Je vais rester à la maison et relaxer tout l’été.
I’m going to stay home and relax all summer.

fuck all
fuck all

Et vous, que ferez-vous de vos vacances ?
Ne dites pas « fuck all » !

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I’m sure we could do an endless number of posts on World Cup vocabulary alone, but here are 20 example sentences to get you started in this area.

Other than listening to the commentary during matches, you can read newspaper articles to grow your French vocabulary.

The examples below use vocabulary that’s good to know for understanding commentators.

1. Le Portugal se trouve au bord de l’élimination.
Portugal is on the brink of being eliminated.

2. Le match s’est terminé par un nul.
The game ended in a draw.

3. Un nul dans le match contre l’Uruguay leur suffira.
All they need is a tie in the game against Uruguay.

4. L’Algérie a battu la Corée du Sud 4 à 2.
Algeria beat South Korea 4 to 2.

5. C’est le but!
It’s a goal!

6. Le ballon a bel et bien franchi la ligne de but.
The ball most definitely crossed the goal line.

7. Balotelli a inscrit un but en seconde période.
Balotelli scored a goal in the second period.

8. L’Italie est dans le groupe D avec l’Uruguay.
Italy is in Group D with Uruguay.

9. Koo a marqué un but pour la Corée du Sud.
Koo scored a goal for South Korea.

10. Slimani a marqué pour l’Algérie en première période.
Slimani scored for Algeria in the first period.

11. La Belgique a six points au classement.
Belgium has six points in the standings.

12. Son tir a heurté la barre transversale.
His shot hit the bar.

13. Son tir a heurté le poteau.
His shot hit the post.

14. L’Algérie a marqué son quatrième but à la 62e minute.
Algeria scored its fourth goal in the 62nd minute.

15. Origi a refilé le ballon à Hazard.
Origi passed the ball to Hazard.

16. L’Allemagne et le Ghana ont fait match nul 2 à 2.
Germany and Ghana tied 2 all.

17. Le Costa Rica s’est qualifié pour les huitièmes de finale.
Costa Rica has qualified for the last 16.
More explanation about these expressions here on the OffQc Facebook page.

18. Un match nul leur suffira pour passer aux huitièmes de finale.
All they need is a tie to make it to the last 16.
More explanation about these expressions here on the OffQc Facebook page.

19. La France vient de marquer deux buts à une minute d’intervalle.
France just scored two goals one minute apart.

20. La France a une avance de 3 à 0 à la mi-temps.
France has a 3-nothing lead at halftime.

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Maude Schiltz is on Facebook [click].

On page 33 of her book Ah shit, j’ai pogné le cancer (tome 1), Maude Schiltz uses these three interesting and useful features of French that we’ll look at in this entry:

  • dealer avec quelque chose
  • c’est en masse
  • gagner à la 6/49

Remember, Maude’s book is an account of her experience with breast cancer written in the form of emails sent to a group of her friends.

In email #5, she tells her friends that there may be a problem with her bone marrow, in addition to already having cancer.

She says the bone marrow problem can be worried about later though; dealing with just the cancer is more than enough for the moment:

On dealera avec ça plus tard ; une bataille à la fois, c’est en masse !
We’ll deal with [the bone marrow] later; one battle at a time is more than enough!

If you know the English expression “to deal with something,” then I don’t think dealer avec quelque chose needs too much explanation. 😀

The deal part of dealer sounds like its English equivalent.

But what about the expression c’est en masse? If you’ve got something en masse, you’ve got a lot of it. For example, j’ai en masse de temps libre means “I’ve got tons of free time.”

Maude is telling us that dealing with the battle of cancer is a lot to deal with already, without having to add other problems. Une bataille à la fois, c’est en masse. “One battle at a time is already a lot.” “One battle at a time is more than enough.”

C’est en masse sounds like cé t’en masse.

Still, Maude is very happy because she’s learned that her cancer hasn’t spread throughout her body; the cancer has limited itself to her breasts. She feels very lucky and relieved to learn this:

Vous pouvez pas savoir le soulagement… J’ai l’impression d’avoir gagné à la 6/49, je me sens riche-riche-riche!
You can’t imagine the relief… I feel like I’ve won the 6/49, I feel rich-rich-rich!

The 6/49 is a lottery where you can win millions of dollars. It’s pronounced six-quarante-neuf. A lottery ticket is un billet de loterie or un billet de loto.

There’s a funny video with transcription in entry #576 related to the 6/49 that you can check out or review here.

You’ll notice in the video that 6/49 is masculine, but in Maude’s quote above it’s feminine. In the video, they’ve used the official name, which is le Lotto 6/49 or just le 6/49. Maude on the other hand has used a generic way with loto, which is feminine: la loto 6/49 or just la 6/49.

_ _ _

French quotes written by Maude Schiltz in Ah shit, j’ai pogné le cancer (tome 1), Éditions de Mortagne, Boucherville (Québec), 2013, p.33.

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Two blog posts in one day? Why not! I had a few extra minutes, so let’s take a quick look at a random comment made by a father to his young boy in Montréal.

The father and his boy were waiting at an intersection. The boy was on his bike and his father was behind him. When the light turned green, the boy wasn’t paying attention and didn’t advance. The light wasn’t going to stay green long, so the father encouraged him to get moving by saying:

Allez, allez! On traverse, là.
C’mon, c’mon. Let’s cross.

I’m guessing you’ve probably learned to use the nous form of the imperative when you want to say “let’s…” in French, like traversons, calmons-nous, etc. And yet it’s the present tense with on that you’ll often hear. Depending on the context, you can also understand this on to mean “you.”

On traverse, là!
Let’s cross!
(The helps to convey the speaker’s frustration.)

On se calme!
Calm down!
Let’s calm down!

As for allez, allez in the vous form in the father’s quote above, it doesn’t matter that he was speaking to his young boy (whom he’d never vouvoie). Just consider allez, allez to be a set expression.

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In the last post I said we’d take a look at the word une bibitte in an entry of its own — but I think we’ll do it as a mini-series instead. Here’s part 1.

Before all else, know that this word has spelling and pronunciation variants, like bibitte, bibite, bébitte, bébite. In quotes, I’ll use whatever variant the author used, and bibitte everywhere else.

J’haïs ça les bibittes… Je parle des insectes longs de même qui sont laites en tabarnak.

1. Bugs!

The first thing to know about the feminine word bibitte is that it can be used to talk about bugs.

Here’s what a blog author had to say:

C’est le retour du beau temps, tout le monde s’en est aperçu. Mais qu’est-ce qui va de pair (malheureusement) avec l’été? Les *?&%$ de bibittes sales. Pis moi, j’haïs ça les bibittes, bon. Pas les moustiques ou les mouches noires. Nenon. Je parle des insectes longs de même qui sont laites en tabarnak.

The nice weather is back, as everybody’s noticed. But (unfortunately) what comes with summer? Those *?&%$ nasty bugs. And me, I so hate bugs. Not mosquitos and black flies. No, no. I’m talking about those really long ugly-as-all-fuck insects.

In fact, there might be even more than just bibitte in that quote that’s new to you, like:

pis moi, and as for me
j’haïs ça, I hate that (j’haïs sounds like ja-i)
j’haïs ça les bibittes, I hate bugs
nenon, no no
longs de même = longs comme ça (imagine the author indicating the size of the bugs with her fingers and saying “this long,” longs de même)
laite, ugly (informal pronunciation of laid)
laite en tabarnak, fucking ugly

We can understand the *?&%$ in les *?&%$ de bibittes sales to stand for a swear word, like esti. So les esti de bibittes sales means fucking nasty bugs.

OK, so that’s the first usage of bibitte. If you want to remember just one thing from the quote, then remember this: j’haïs ça les bibittes, I hate bugs. Why is that ça in there? Just ‘cos, ok! J’haïs ça les abeilles. J’haïs ça les dentistes. J’haïs ça les arbres. Whatever! Don’t forget: j’haïs is pronounced ja-i.

Continue on to part 2.

Image credit: Espace pour la vie

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