Archive for May, 2015

We’ve seen before that un gratteux is a scratch-and-win lottery ticket (the ones where you scratch with your finger or a coin to reveal a prize… or not).

But gratteux can also be used as an adjective, like in this La Presse headline:

10 astuces pour voyageurs gratteux

Can you maybe guess what gratteux means here by reading the photo caption below that accompanies the article?

Une des bonnes façons d’économiser de l’argent consiste à voyager en groupe. On diminue alors les frais d’hôtel, de location de voiture, d’essence, etc.

A good way to save money is by travelling in groups. You’ll save money on hotel fees, car rentals, gas, etc.

Pierre-Olivier Fortin, “10 astuces pour voyageurs gratteux,” La Presse, 29 December 2012.

Someone who’s gratteux is cheap, stingy.

J’ai eu un chum qui était ben gratteux.
I had a boyfriend who was really cheap.

Y’a dû me trouver ben gratteux de faire ça.
He must’ve thought I was really cheap for doing that.

Les plus riches sont les plus gratteux.
The richest people are the stingiest.

Someone who’s cheap can also be called… cheap.

The word astuces from the headline above means tips (10 astuces, 10 tips). In the photo caption, location means rental — it doesn’t mean location. The English word location is emplacement, endroit, etc.

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I came across an example of the word égoportrait in use in the Montréal edition of the Métro newspaper. Égoportrait, you’ll remember, is an OQLF-approved word meant to replace the English-derived selfie.

In the Métro article, Catherine Deneuve is quoted as saying that she hates selfies:

Elle avoue également «détester les selfies» dans une interview publiée dans le Journal du Dimanche […].

In an interview published in the Journal du Dimanche, she also admits to hating selfies.

Métro (Montréal edition), “Vie de stars,” 11 May 2015, p.17.

A bit farther along in the article, we read that the Cannes Film Festival has launched a campaign this year to restrict the taking of selfies on the red carpet:

Notons que le Festival de Cannes mène cette année une campagne pour limiter les égoportraits sur le tapis rouge, une pratique jugée «ridicule et grotesque» par son délégué général, Thierry Frémaux.

It should be noted that the Cannes Film Festival has launched a campaign this year to restrict selfies from being taken on the red carpet, a practice deemed “ridiculous and grotesque” by managing director Thierry Frémaux.

Métro (Montréal edition), “Vie de stars,” 11 May 2015, p.17.

I don’t feel that égoportrait and selfie are entirely synonymous. Because of the égo prefix, égoportrait might work if you want to shed a negative light on the practice, like in this article. Selfie, on the other hand, doesn’t immediately sound negative to me. Could you imagine casually saying that you’re going to take an égoportrait of yourself for your Facebook profile? I think the OQLF would’ve done well to consider this before backing the word.

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A word that hasn’t come up yet on OffQc…

la bouette

Your dictionary will tell you that mud is la boue, but you’ll also hear la bouette in Québec.

If someone had muddy boots on, you could describe them as bottes pleines de bouette.

You can say to play in the mud as jouer dans la bouette.

Remember, the words dans la can contract to dans’ in informal language, so jouer dans la bouette can sound like jouer dans’ bouette.

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A fun expression I think you’ll like to add to your knowledge is ben gros.

J’t’aime ben gros!
I love you a whole lot!

J’aime ben gros ça!
I like that a whole lot!

Ben gros is an informal intensifier.

Ça m’étonnerait ben gros.
That would really surprise me.

Je m’ennuie ben gros de vous autres!
I really miss you guys!

Remember, je m’ennuie de toi means I miss you, and vous autres can sound like vou-zôte in regular speech.

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Écoeurer (pronounced ékeuré, ekœʀe) doesn’t always mean to disgust. There are times when it can be used in the sense of to pick on.

On this page from the Sûreté du Québec, we read about bullying at school, known as l’intimidation.

Tu le sais, les jeunes qui veulent écoeurer quelqu’un trouvent plein de moyens pour le faire.
You know, young people who want to pick on someone find all kinds of ways to do it.

Sûreté du Québec, “L’intimidation
Page consulted 6 May 2015

They also give examples on that page of how a young person might go and écoeurer a classmate through intimidationla menace (threats), la violence physique (physical violence), les rumeurs malveillantes (malicious rumours), le chantage (blackmail), la violence verbale (verbal violence).

If écoeurer quelqu’un means to pick on someone, then se faire écoeurer means to get picked on.

Ma fille commence à se faire écoeurer à l’école.
My daughter is starting to get picked on at school.

These are Québécois usages, and they’re not the only ones. We’ll look at some others in a new post.

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The name of the sixth month — juin — came up in a conversation, and I remembered that the usual pronunciation of this word doesn’t match its spelling.

It’s possible to pronounce juin exactly as written: ʒɥɛ̃

… but you’ll often hear it pronounced instead as: ʒɥœ̃

This means that instead of the in ending being pronounced as the nasal sound in, you’ll often hear it pronounced as the nasal sound un.

What about août? Have you sometimes heard it pronounced with the final t and other times without?

We’ve seen in other posts that, in Québécois French, bout and tout can be pronounced informally as boute and toute, with the final t pronounced. Not so with août — the Québécois pronounce août like ou, with the final t silent.

You might hear someone from France pronounce août as oute, though.

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Here’s your chance to test how well you remember the language from recent entries.

Find the right French equivalent to the English sentence in bold. There’s only one correct answer. Be careful — the other two sentences either say something else altogether or are pure nonsense!

The answers come after the image below.

1. He just got dumped.
a) Y vient de se faire domper.
b) Y vient de pogner une dompe.
c) Y vient de se faire pogner.

2. What an awful day!
a) Quelle journée niaiseuse!
b) Quelle journée tripante!
c) Quelle journée poche!

3. I’m having difficulty understanding.
a) J’ai le malheur de pas comprendre.
b) J’ai d’la misère à comprendre.
c) J’comprends pas, quelle misère.

4. I’ve still got a long way to go.
a) J’ai encore des pinottes à manger.
b) J’ai encore des croûtes à manger.
c) J’ai encore des toasts à manger.

5. I’ve got crooked teeth.
a) J’ai l’croche dans’ dents.
b) J’ai les dents dans l’croche.
c) J’ai les dents croches.

6. It stinks/sucks, but that’s just how it is.
a) C’est plate, mais c’est comme ça.
b) C’est niaiseux, mais c’est comme ça.
c) C’est suçant, mais c’est comme ça.

7. It’s a hilarious video!
a) C’est crampeux comme vidéo!
b) C’est crampeur comme vidéo!
c) C’est crampant comme vidéo!

8. I played hide-and-seek.
a) J’ai joué à cache-qui-peut.
b) J’ai joué en cachette.
c) J’ai joué à la cachette.

9. I’m all thumbs!
a) J’ai des pouces qui me poussent partout!
b) J’ai dix pouces gauches sur la main droite!
c) J’ai les mains pleines de pouces!

10. You’re gonna get it!
a) Tu vas passer au cash!
b) Tu vas payer en cash!
c) Tu vas encaisser ton chèque!


1a, 2c, 3b, 4b, 5c,
6a, 7c, 8c, 9c, 10a

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