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Archive for August, 2014

When you think of verbs unique to Québécois French, which ones come to mind?

There are many of course, but here are OffQc’s choices for five typically Québécois French verbs.

1. POGNER

This verb is used in the sense of catching or “landing” something, like the flu (pogner la grippe) or a ticket (pogner un ticket).

Je viens de pogner un ticket parce que je textais à une lumière rouge.

I just got a ticket because I was texting at a red light.

Pronunciation tip:

Pogner is pronounced ponyé.

Keep reading… Everything you ever wanted to know about the Québécois French verb pogner.

2. NIAISER

This verb has different uses, but the most common is probably the one where it’s used in the sense of joking around.

Arrête don’ de niaiser, tes jokes plates me font pas rire.

Stop joking around, your bad jokes aren’t making me laugh.

Pronunciation tip:

Niaiser is pronounced nyèzé.

Keep reading… Everything you ever wanted to know about the Québécois French verb niaiser.

3. TRIPPER

When you “trip” in Québécois, you’re really into something or having a great time. It comes from English drug slang.

Ma job me fait tripper!

I totally love my job!

Usage tips:

Learn the expression tripper sur. Je trippe fort sur la soie dentaire. I totally love dental floss.

Use dessus when what you love is not stated because it’s understood. Je trippe fort dessus. I totally love it.

This verb is also spelled triper. Take your pick!

4. CAPOTER

The root of the verb capoter contains cap, which refers to the head. Quand tu capotes, that’s exactly what you lose — your head.

Hey man, capote pas, c’est pas grave.

Hey man, don’t lose it, it’s not a big deal.

5. ÉCOEURER

You can tell a friend (or non-friend!) to stop teasing or picking on you with the verb écoeurer. Depending on the context, écoeurer quelqu’un can mean “to pick on someone, to poke fun at someone, to tease someone, to take a dig at someone…”

Arrête de m’écoeurer avec ça.

Stop teasing me about that. Stop picking on me about that.

Pronunciation tip:

Écoeurer is pronounced ékeuré.

Keep reading… The related adjective écoeurant has both a negative and positive sense in Québécois French.

Got any verbs to add to this list?
Let me know in the comments.

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I was reminded of a frequently used expression in Québécois French yesterday when I overheard a mother scold her daughter here in Montréal.

The daughter had begun doing handstands and back arches at a bus stop in the street when her mother yelled:

Arrête de faire des affaires de même quand tu viens de manger!

Stop doing stuff like that when you’ve just finished eating!

Well that took all her fun away. I was impressed with her acrobatics.

Des affaires de même…

This wording almost sounds like serious business because of the word affaires, doesn’t it?

And yet, affaires simply means “stuff” or “things” here.

As for de même, it means the same thing as comme ça, which is also used in Québécois French.

des affaires de même
stuff like that
things like that

I like this next example written by Mathieu Pichette on a blog promoting travel in Sudbury and northern Ontario:

Bien sûr, pour faire des affaires de même, il faut connaître kekun de la place. Heureusement pour vous, je suis kekun de la place!

Of course, to do stuff like that, you gotta know someone from the place. Luckily for you, I am someone from the place!

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I’ve recently returned from a stay in Istanbul. There’s one aspect of the Turkish language that I find particularly interesting and can’t help but wonder what the result would be if the Québécois applied this same aspect to the French of Québec.

Turkish uses a large number of words borrowed from French — regular words, not technical ones.

For example (Turkish words in italics):

sinema = cinéma (cinema)
jeton = jeton (token)
klavye = clavier (keyboard)
pil = pile (battery)
randevu = rendez-vous (appointment)
tren = train (train)
park = parc (park)
pantolon = pantalon (trouser)
avukat = avocat (lawyer)
asansör = ascenseur (lift, elevator)
kuaför = coiffeur (hairdresser)
okul = école (school)
spor = sport (sport)
sabun = savon (soap)
büro = bureau (office)
bisküvi = biscuit (biscuit)
kalite = qualité (quality)
lamba = lampe (lamp)
garaj = garage (garage)
makine = machine (machine)

Turkish has also borrowed a large number of words from Arabic and Persian.

Look at the words on the sign in the image — lots of loanwords in there. How many do you understand without even knowing Turkish?

Borrowed words in Turkish haven’t been without their controversy. There have been attempts to render Turkish more “pure” by replacing foreign words with Turkish ones. There are now cases where two words exist to describe the same thing, for example, one Turkish in origin and the other Arabic.

Of the French words that are in use in modern Turkish, there are a few points we can take away from them:

1. Québécois French is not unique in its borrowings from another language (in this case, English).

2. The French loanwords used in Turkish are “everyday” in nature (not technical jargon) and are standard usages. This is different to English loanwords used in the French of Québec: most sit at the informal level and don’t become standard.

3. Turkish has integrated French loanwords by applying Turkish spelling to them.

It’s especially this third point that I find interesting.

There are those in Québec who wish to see English loanwords eliminated and replaced by French ones. Others have less of a problem with English loanwords.

I can’t help but wonder what would happen if those in the second camp began applying French spelling to English loanwords…

fonne (fun)
raque (rack)
tôsteur (toaster)
bumpeur (bumper)
djôque (joke)
stoule (stool)
tchipe (cheap)
bouqué (booked)
toffe (tough)
mofleur (muffler)
dache (dashboard)
tchomme (chum, boyfriend)

Does applying French spelling help to integrate loanwords? Does it help to “claim” them by taking away their foreignness?

Are loanwords using French spelling more likely to be perceived as belonging to the French of Québec rather than intruders from English?

Or do loanwords using French spelling just look ridiculous, even to those who use these words in conversation and have no problem with their presence in French?

If loanwords using French spelling do appear ridiculous, why then don’t the loanwords integrated into the Turkish spelling system appear ridiculous to the Turkish?

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Un sport vraiment trippant

I came across this poster in a Tim Hortons restaurant. Click on it to see a larger size.

On this poster, Tim Hortons is letting us know they support young people in soccer.

They describe the sport as trippant

Un sport vraiment trippant

If something’s trippant, it’s a lot of fun, exciting, amazing, awesome.

Sometimes you’ll see this adjective spelled as trippant, other times tripant.

ballon de soccer

un ballon de soccer

In Québec, association football (fútbol, futebol) is called le soccer.

jouer au soccer
to play soccer, football

Do you remember the verb triper (tripper) from previous entries?

Je tripe fort sur le soccer!
I totally love soccer!
I’m totally into soccer!

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