Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for September, 2015

In this post, I’ve taken some usages heard in Québécois French that were said by a woman in her 70s in Montréal.

  • faire peinturer

She was talking about getting a room in her house painted; faire peinturer means to have painted, to get painted (by someone else), for example faire peinturer les murs, to get the walls painted. If you look up the verb to paint in the dictionary, you’ll probably find peindre instead. Québécois usage prefers peinturer.

  • quand qu’y’a fermé la porte

Y’a is an informal pronunciation of il a, but there’s also a que slipped in here that maybe you weren’t expecting; it means when he shut the door. You’ll often hear que inserted after quand like this in colloquial language. Another example: quand qu’y’a fini, when he finished.

  • dans ma chambre de bain

She referred to her bathroom as une chambre de bain. In the Grand dictionnaire terminologique, we read something interesting about this term:

Chambre de bains (ou chambre de bain) est souvent présenté comme un calque de l’anglais à éviter, alors qu’il s’agit plutôt d’un terme d’origine française. Le mot chambre était déjà utilisé en ancien français pour désigner une pièce quelconque de la maison.

Par ailleurs, on trouve chambre de bains et chambre de bain chez des auteurs français du XIXe siècle. Ce terme est toujours utilisé dans certaines aires francophones. On en trouve des traces en France et en Belgique, et il est encore en usage au Québec et en Suisse. Il est toutefois en perte de vitesse dans ce dernier pays.

[chambre de bains | chambre de bain] Au Québec, il est surtout relevé dans des contextes de langue courante, tandis que salle de bains et salle de bain sont employés dans toutes les situations de communication.

Chambre de bains (ou chambre de bain) is often considered an anglicism to be avoided, whereas it is in fact originally a French term. The word chambre was already in use in Old French to designate any room of a house [as opposed to pièce].

Furthermore, chambre de bains and chambre de bain were used by certain French authors in the 19th century. This term is still in use in some French-speaking areas. There are still traces of it in France and Belgium, and it is still in use in Québec and Switzerland. It is, however, falling out of use in Switzerland.

In Québec, chambre de bains and chambre de bain are mostly used in colloquial language situations, whereas salle de bains and salle de bain are used in any language situation.

Read Full Post »

Here’s even more wording you can add to your knowledge when asking for something in a restaurant; a guy in his 20s said:

Je vais juste vous demander une cuillère, s’il vous plaît, pis une autre coupe.
Can I just have a spoon, please, and another cup.

sundae, coupe glacée

The guy had just ordered ice cream in a cup (une coupe). Just as it was given to him, this was how he asked for a spoon and another cup — maybe to share with someone.

The image is of a McDonalds style coupe glacée or sundae. The sun part of sundae sounds like sonne; the dae part sounds like dé. If you want a chocolate one, add au chocolat to the term; if you want a caramel one, add au caramel.

un sundae au caramel

You can use the wording in the post about ordering in French at Tim Hortons in Québec to order at McDonalds as well.

Bonjour, je vais prendre le trio Big Mac.Ça va être le filet de poisson. / Un McFlurry, s’il vous plaît. Hello, I’ll take the Big Mac combo. / I’ll have the filet-o-fish. / A McFlurry, please.

You might be asked what size for certain items: Quel format? Some items have special names for sizes (collation, classique, etc.) so look at the overhead screens for the words. Otherwise, you can probably get away with petit, moyen, grand in many situations.

Pis from the quote above sounds like the English word pee, or as if it were written pi in French. It’s a contraction of puis, and it just means and here. If you want to hear it, search for this in Google: site:offqc.com/listen pis and all the videos in the Listen to Québécois French section where it’s used will appear in the results.

In case you missed it, I added a post yesterday about donne-moé don’ also heard when ordering.

Read Full Post »

In #1015, you saw some different ways of asking for coffee and food items in French at Tim Hortons.

At a different restaurant, I was reminded of another way sometimes used to order food when I heard a woman say:

Donne-moé don’ […].

For example, donne-moé don’ un muffin. This is good to know if you’re working the cash and serving francophones. Donne-moé is a colloquial variation on donne-moi. Don’ is in fact donc, but the c isn’t pronounced.

You may remember I’ve mentioned before that nobody expects a learner or non-native speaker to say moé. I usually even discourage it — not because moé is wrong, of course, but because a learner’s use of it may strike some native-speakers as bizarre or even comical.

As a learner, you can go with some of the ways in #1015 instead; the easiest way is to just say the item followed by s’il vous plaît, for example: Bonjour, le trio Big Mac, s’il vous plaît. (Un trio is what a meal is called at McDonalds, i.e., a combo.)

It turns out donne-moé don’ is in fact already on OffQc — even I don’t remember what’s here sometimes! — in this video from the Listen to Québécois French section.

The speaker says:

Donne-moé don’ un gratteux à trois piasses.

Un gratteux is a scratch-n-win lottery ticket. Un gratteux à trois piasses is a ticket that costs three dollars to buy, where piasses is a colloquial equivalent of dollars.

Read Full Post »

A reader of OffQc asks for help understanding the difference between the French words for broom and vacuum cleaner as used in Québec, as well as the difference between the French verbs for to sweep and to vacuum.

Nice question! The word for broom in French is un balai. There are two ways vacuum cleaner is said in French: un aspirateur, une balayeuse.

When it refers to a vacuum cleaner, the term balayeuse — it sounds a lot like balai, doesn’t it? — is specific to the French used in Québec. Aspirateur is used everywhere, including Québec.

If you were to go shopping for a vacuum cleaner, you’d see the term aspirateur on the box. Balayeuse, on the other hand, feels more like a colloquial usage.

So those are the words for broom and vacuum cleaner.

  • un balai, broom
  • une balayeuse, vacuum cleaner
  • un aspirateur, vacuum cleaner

If you’re going shopping for a vacuum cleaner, you can talk about it with the verb magasiner. For example, magasiner un aspirateur means to shop around for a vacuum cleaner.

What about the verb forms? You can use passer with all three words:

  • passer le balai, to sweep (with a broom)
  • passer la balayeuse, to vacuum
  • passer l’aspirateur, to vacuum

If you want to say where the sweeping or vacuuming is done, you can use dans, for example: j’ai passé la balayeuse dans ma chambre.

But there’s also the verb balayer, which means to sweep:

  • balayer, to sweep (with a broom)

If you want to say to sweep the floor using this verb, you can say balayer le plancher. Balayer la cuisine is to sweep the kitchen.

Pronunciation tip

Balai sounds like balè. Are you pronouncing è correctly?

Say these two words in French: mes and messe.

Mes sounds like mé, but messe sounds like mèss. Do you hear the difference between the two vowel sounds? The è sound of messe is the same sound used in balai. Balai ends in the same sound as that informal English word of indifference: meh.

Read Full Post »

Jardin botanique

Jardin botanique

In the last post, you looked at vocab and mock conversations related to ordering in French at Tim Hortons. After I went live with it, I began adding notes down at the bottom of the post (like what deux-deux, double-double is exactly). If you haven’t seen those additions, you can check them out.

I also want to give you a search tip on OffQc. If there’s a French word you’d like to hear pronounced by a Québécois speaker, you can check for it in the Listen to Québécois French section of OffQc.

To find and hear pis, for example, search for this in Google:

site:offqc.com/listen pis

All the videos in the Listen section where pis is used will appear in the Google search results. Follow one of the links, then listen for the word in the video once you’re back on OffQc. You can locate the word with the help of the transcription below the video.

To look for and hear a different word, just change pis to that word, for example:

site:offqc.com/listen toé

Ça va bien?

A reader of OffQc asks how to answer the question ça va bien? It’s a good question because it might not be immediately obvious to you. Ça va bien? is a yes-no question, so if you’re wondering if can answer with oui or non, the answer is oui!

A very common way to answer the question is with oui, toi? It’s a reflex to answer like that, in the same way that it’s a reflex to say good and you? in English. In fact, oui, toi? is very often pronounced as though it were a single word — ouitoi — without the usual rising intonation at the end typical of yes-no questions.

Ça va bien?
Ouitoi.

Of course, you don’t need to limit yourself to that response.

You can be more enthusiastic:

Oui, très bien!
Oh que oui!
Ben oui, ça va super bien!
Merveilleusement bien, merci!

Or you can be a grouch:

Non, ça va pas pantoute.
Bof, fatigué, là…

Or you can just be polite:

Oui, ça va bien, et toi?
Oui, très bien, merci.
Oui, merci, et toi?

Read Full Post »

Timbits

These are called Timbits; they’re sold at Tim Hortons

After looking at the Québécois names for trays and coffee cup sleeves in #1013, maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to look again at ways of ordering coffee itself, as well as a few other food items.

A lot of people land on OffQc looking for help with ordering at Tim Hortons in particular because of road trips, so that’s what we’ll go with here. The coffee at Tim Hortons is filter coffee, and people usually add milk, cream or sugar to it, which is why the cups are so big. The coffee is usually served in a paper cup.

I’ve written some sample exchanges below. The prices are just made up. I’ve tried to include a variety of ways of ordering here, trying to imagine the situations you might find yourself in and the different usages you might hear.

— Passez ici! (…) Bonsoir.
— Bonsoir, un moyen deux-deux, s’il vous plaît.
— C’est pour ici ou pour emporter?
— Pour emporter.
— C’est tout?
— Oui, c’est tout.
— Ça fait une et cinquante.

— Next! (…) Good evening.
— Good evening, a medium double-double, please.
— Is it for here or to go?
— To go.
— Will that be all?
— Yes, that’s all.
— That’ll be one fifty.

— Passez ici!
— Bonjour, je vais prendre un petit café, s’il vous plaît.
— Qu’est-ce qu’on met dedans?
— Un lait, un sucre.
— Ensuite?
— C’est tout.
— Une et vingt-cinq, s’il vous plaît. (…) C’est juste à côté pour votre café. Ça sera pas long.
— OK, merci.
— Passez une bonne journée.

— Next!
— Hi, I’ll take a small coffee, please.
— How do you take it?
— One milk, one sugar.
— Will that be all?
— That’s it.
— One twenty-five, please. (…) Your coffee will be just off to the side. It won’t be long (in coming).
— OK, thanks.
— Have a good day.

— Suivant! (…) Bonjour, monsieur.
— Bonjour, ça va être un moyen café une crème, un sucre; un petit café noir; un grand deux-deux; et un moyen deux crèmes, pas de sucre.
— Ensuite?
— C’est tout.
— Sept et soixante, s’il vous plaît. (…) C’est pour emporter?
— Oui.
— Voulez-vous un cabaret de transport?
— Oui, s’il vous plaît.

— Next! (…) Hello, sir.
— Hello, I’ll take a medium coffee one cream, one sugar; a small black coffee; a large double-double; and a medium with two creams, no sugar.
— Anything else?
— That’s it.
— Seven sixty, please. (…) Is it to go?
— Yes.
— Would you like a take-out/take-away tray?
— Yes, please.

— Suivant!
— Bonjour, un grand café deux crèmes, deux sucres.
— Autre chose?
— Oui, une boîte de vingt Timbits.
— Avez-vous une préférence (pour les Timbits)?
— Non… mélangés.
— Autre chose?
— C’est tout.
— Quatre et trente-cinq, s’il vous plaît. (…) Voulez-vous la facture?
— Non, merci.
— Merci à vous, bonne journée.

— Next!
— Hello, a large coffee with two creams, two sugars.
— Anything else?
— Yes, a box of twenty Timbits.
— Do you have a preference (i.e., for which Timbits you want)?
— No… mixed.
— Anything else?
— That’s all.
— Four thirty-five, please. (…) Do you want the receipt?
— No, thank you.
— Thank you, good day.

— Passez ici!
— Bonjour, je prendrais une demi-douzaine de beignes, s’il vous plaît.
— Mélangés?
— Oui.
— Ensuite?
— Un moyen café corsé.
— On met quoi dedans?
— Noir, s’il vous plaît.
— Ensuite?
— Un bagel plein goût avec du fromage à la crème.
— Grillé?
— Oui.
— 
Est-ce qu’on met du beurre?
— Non, pas de beurre.
— Autre chose?
— Une brioche à la cannelle deux fois.
— Ça va être tout?
— Oui, merci.
— Dix et cinquante.

— Next!
— Hi, I’ll take a half-dozen donuts, please.
— Mixed?
— Yes.
— Anything else?
— A medium dark roast.
— With what in it? (i.e., how do you take it?)
— Black, please.
— Anything else?
— An Everything bagel with cream cheese.
— Toasted?
— Yes.

— With butter?
— No, no butter.
— Anything else?
— Two cinnamon buns.
— Will that be all?
— Yes, thanks.
— Ten fifty.

Well, that should get you unstuck out of a few situations at any rate!

___

Updates:

  • An iced cappuccino is called un cappuccino glacé on the menu, but most people just call it an iced capp when they order, which sounds like ice cap (aïss capp). If you wanted a small iced capp, for example, you can ask for un petit iced capp.
  • The breakfast sandwich is called le Timatin (which comes from Tim + matin and is also a wordplay on ti-matin, p’tit matin).
  • A danish is une danoise; a muffin is un muffin.
  • For the donut names, check what they’re called on the little signs under each one when you’re ordering. If you want more than one of something, you can use deux fois, trois fois, etc. For example, if you’re choosing a dozen donuts, you could say glacé au chocolat, trois fois if you wanted three chocolate dip donuts.
  • Asking for a deux-deux means you want two creams and two sugars in your coffee. You can also say deux crèmes, deux sucres. When you ask for a deux-deux, you’ll always get cream and sugar, never milk and sugar.

Continue reading: How to order at McDonalds in French when in Québec

Read Full Post »

On the radio, I heard a speaker say this in an advertisement:

Pis? Ça va-tu mieux?
So? Is it better? Is that better?
Are things better?

We’ve seen in other posts how pis (sounds like pi and is a contraction of puis) is often used in the sense of and. Although we could in fact translate it as and here, it’s being used as a way to get someone to speak.

Pis?
And? So? Well?

In the question ça va-tu mieux?, can you identify the subject?

This question contains the informal yes-no question marker tu. You can mentally replace it with oui ou non in your head:

Ça va-tu mieux?
Ça va-[oui ou non] mieux?

This means, of course, that tu is not the subject in this question. Tu only signals here that this is a yes-no question, asked in an informal way.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »