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Archive for March, 2015

A word that came up in a conversation yesterday was croche. It means “crooked.”

Someone with crooked teeth has les dents croches. If you’ve got les dents croches, you might wear des broches to straighten them.

avoir les dents croches
to have crooked teeth
J’ai les dents croches.

porter des broches
to wear braces
Je porte des broches.

Cynthia Dulude says in her video j’ai eu des broches (0:44) and j’avais pas les dents croches (0:53).

Crossed eyes? That’s avoir les yeux croches. Crooked legs, avoir les jambes croches.

Online, an example of sitting crooked on a seat:

Elle était un peu croche sur son siège.
She was sitting a bit crooked on her seat.

It’s not just bodies and body parts that might be described as croche:

Le siège de mon bateau était un peu croche.
The seat on my boat was a little crooked.

How about this news headline? (Saoul means “drunk,” and it’s pronounced sou.)

Saoul, il demande si la route est croche
[While] drunk, [a driver] asks if the road is crooked

Someone who feels “all crooked” isn’t feeling well, feels out of sorts:

J’me sens tout croche.
I don’t feel good, I don’t feel right, I feel awful, etc.

And if you hear a person described as being un croche, it means just what it sounds like — that person is crooked, a crook (dishonest, thieving, corrupt, etc.).

This headline asks if politicians are crooks:

Des «croches», les politiciens?
Are politicians crooks?

A journalist describes being “messed up in ‘crooked’ (dirty) business” as being mêlé à des affaires croches.

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Here’s an expression used in Québec that I think you’ll like to learn:

avoir encore des croûtes à manger
or just
avoir des croûtes à manger

In the examples below from different newspapers online, can you guess what it means to still have to eat the crusts?

This is the title of an article about unreliable internet connections in a certain region of Québec:

La situation s’améliore, mais «on a encore des croûtes à manger»

Le Courrier Sud, 26 fév. 2015

A journalist has this to say about tennis player Eugenie Bouchard:

(…) Eugenie a encore des croûtes à manger avant de s’élever au même rang que Sharapova (…).

Le Journal de Montréal, 26 janv. 2015

A journalist compares the liveability of Montréal’s public spaces to those of Vienna. The title of his article tells us his verdict:

Montréal a encore des croûtes à manger…

Journal Métro, 8 mai 2013

Finally, Guy Laliberté has this to say about Québec:

«Le Québec a des croûtes à manger s’il veut avancer.»

TVA Nouvelles, 6 mai 2014

If you still gotta eat the crusts, you’ve got your work cut out!

La situation s’améliore, mais «on a encore des croûtes à manger»
The situation’s improving, but there’s still a long way to go.

(…) Eugenie a encore des croûtes à manger avant de s’élever au même rang que Sharapova (…).
Eugenie still has a long way to go before rising to the same level as Sharapova.

Montréal a encore des croûtes à manger…
Montréal’s still got a long way to go…
Montréal’s still got its work cut out…

«Le Québec a des croûtes à manger s’il veut avancer.»
“Québec’s got its work cut out if it wants to advance.”

avoir (encore) des croûtes à manger
to (still) have a long way to go
to (still) have one’s work cut out

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Do you know what the red thing's called? (Answer below.)

What’s the red thing called? (Answer below.)

Flash quiz, 7 questions! The answers follow, with a few notes where necessary.

1. If someone’s got a face de boeuf, he or she has

a) a hungry look on the face
b) an angry look on the face
c) a confused look on the face

2. Someone who’s baveux is a

a) cheeky, arrogant person
b) sloppy, messy person
c) person who cries a lot

3. How is nombril (belly button) pronounced in Québec?

a) nom-bri (silent L)
b) nom-brile (L is pronounced)
c) Both are frequently heard in Québec.

4. The expression couler son examen means

a) to pass one’s exam with flying colours
b) to cheat on one’s exam
c) to flunk one’s exam

5. A person who’s raqué is

a) disappointed
b) stiff, aching
c) fast asleep

6. The expression pogner les nerfs means

a) to lose one’s temper
b) to get really excited
c) to get stoned or drunk

7. The following expression hasn’t appeared on OffQc yet, but take a guess. Which of these means to pout, to sulk? Careful, only one of them is a real expression!

a) faire la fafoune
b) faire la baboune
c) faire la zazoune

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No peeking!

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Answers

b) an angry look on the face
Note: Boeuf is pronounced beu in this expression.

a) cheeky, arrogant person

a) nom-bri (silent L)
Note: Nom-brile is heard in France.

c) to flunk one’s exam

b) stiff, aching

a) to lose one’s temper
Note: The final fs in nerfs is silent.

b) faire la baboune
Note: It’s got nothing to do with baboons. Baboune derives from babine, an informal word for lip. (You stick it out when you pout.)

Image The red thing’s called une borne-fontaine.

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Taking in the (pre-)springtime sun in Montréal

Taking in the (pre-)springtime sun in Montréal

While on the métro, I grabbed a copy of the Métro newspaper sitting on a seat next to me. This sentence caught my eye in one of the articles:

On a déjà de la misère à sortir de notre entrée, tellement les gens conduisent vite.

The article was about changes that will be made to the Pie-IX and Sherbrooke intersection in Montréal. Some residents in the area are unhappy about how the changes will affect the traffic levels in their neighbourhood.

In the quote above, one of the residents noted that it’s already difficult to get out of their driveway without things being made worse by the changes.

On a déjà de la misère à sortir de notre entrée.
We already have trouble getting out of our driveway.

The expression avoir de la misère (à faire quelque chose) means to have trouble (doing something). It’s a Québécois usage.

Une entrée, that’s a driveway.

On a déjà de la misère à sortir de notre entrée, tellement les gens conduisent vite.
People drive so fast that we already have trouble getting out of our driveway.

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Reference

Stéphanie Maunay (11 March 2015). Le carrefour Pie-IX/Sherbrooke suscite des craintes à Rosemont. Métro (Montréal edition), p.2.

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Good news — if you want more practice with the Québécois French vocabulary and expressions used on OffQc, I’ve got something new for you.

Say it in French
Translate 125 sentences to conversational Québécois French
Buy it here

This book uses translation exercises to help you review what you’ve discovered on OffQc, and to fill in gaps in your knowledge. You’ll translate 125 sentences from English to conversational Québécois French.

Here’s a sample exercise. Can you say these five English sentences in French? (Québécois French, of course.) Try it before you look at the next sample page. If you need clues, look at the words in the circle.

After you’ve had a go at saying the sentences above in French, look at the possible answers. There are also usage and pronunciation notes on the possible answers page.

In total, there are 25 exercises like this, with 5 sentences in each (125 sentences altogether).

The answers are written using informal vocabulary (niaiser, toffer, pogner, drette, etc.) and spoken contractions (chu, t’esy’a, etc.). This is to help you review the material on OffQc.

I’ve written this book for those of you who want a challenge. It’s not for beginners in French. (If you wanted to reduce the challenge, you could study all the sentences in French first and then do the translation on a second go.)

This book will help you to become more proficient not only with the vocabulary you’ve discovered on OffQc, but also with putting together more natural sounding sentences that are immediately useful in conversations.

It’s also super fun for translation geeks! (I know you’re out there. I can’t be the only one.)

This book is a PDF.

Buy Say it in French here in the OffQc store

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Payment is by credit card or Paypal.

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