Archive for January, 2016

A little while ago, Joyce requested we look at lyrics by Bernard Adamus. So far, we’ve looked at the wording donne-moi-z-en here, and an informal pronunciation of the subject pronoun elle here, both of which were taken from his lyrics.

Let’s look at something new from him:

un vingt dins poches

This is taken from his song Donne-moi-z’en. What does dins mean?

First, dins is pronounced as if it were written dain in French. It rhymes with the French words bain and main. In other words, the ins of dins is the nasalised in sound.

Dins is in fact a contraction. It’s a contraction of dans + les.

un vingt dins poches
= un vingt dans les poches

a twenty(-dollar bill) in her pocket (literally, a twenty in the pockets)

In another song by Bernard Adamus (Arrange-toi avec ça), he uses:

dins chars
dins parcs
dins rues

These mean in the cars, in the parks, in the streets. Dans les chars, dans les parcs, dans les rues.

What if the word after dins begins with a vowel?

dins années 50

In this case, the liaison is heard. The s transfers to the beginning of the next word. So that last example sounds like:

dins z’années 50

The s on the end of dins comes from the s of les. In its uncontracted form, the s of les would also be transferred:

dans les z’années 50

Dins is a spoken, informal usage.

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Mohammad asks about a word he heard while watching 19-2. This word is adon. He sent me the dialogue where it occurred. It went like this:

Nick : C’est un adon.
Ben : T’es sûr?
Nick : Fie-toi sur moi. Je sais que c’est poche, mais c’est juste un ostie d’adon.

Adon here means coincidence.

Nick: It’s a coincidence.
Ben: You sure?
Nick: Trust me. I know it sucks, but it’s just a fucking coincidence.

In the dialogue, we’ve got the vulgar word ostie. Note that ostie is followed by de when you’re using it like the English a fucking [noun].

un ostie d’adon (a fucking coincidence)
un ostie de menteur (a fucking liar)
un ostie de bon show (a fucking good show)
une ostie d’arnaque (a fucking scam)
une ostie de folle (a fucking madwoman)
une ostie de grosse mouche (a big fucking fly)

It’s un or une before ostie depending on the gender of the noun. Un menteurun ostie de menteur. Une arnaqueune ostie d’arnaque.

Using adon, the answer to the question in the title is c’est juste un adon. You can hear this sentence pronounced by Cynthia Dulude in this video from the Listen section. In the transcription, you’ll find it in the third paragraph.

Another way adon is used is in the expression être d’adon. Someone who’s friendly, accessible, helpful, easy to get along with, etc., can be said to be d’adon.

Y’est ben d’adon.
He’s really friendly, easy to get along with, etc. (Ben is a reduction of bien. It sounds like bain and means very, really here.)

The newest OffQc guide Entendu au Québec is now available. Read more about it here or buy and download it here in the OffQc store.

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I’m happy to put up for sale today a new OffQc guide for you – Entendu au Québec: 99 questions and answers. This guide uses genuine examples of overheard language to challenge and guide you to say things more in line with how native speakers of French from Québec say them spontaneously during conversations.

Buy and download Entendu au Québec here in the OffQc store

To create this guide, I collected 99 short, conversational French sentences highly typical of spoken language. I heard all 99 of these examples of French pronounced during real conversations in Québec.

Your job with this guide is to guess just how the speakers said these sentences in French using context and vocab clues. You’ll then check your answer by comparing it to how the Québécois speakers said it, and read the related language notes to help you understand why they said it that way.

The best way to illustrate how it works is to check out these pages taken from the guide itself. (Click on the pages for larger size.)

Table of contents and introduction


Sample question and answer


Another sample question


I’ll let you check the answer to that one in the book!

In total, there are 99 questions and answers like this.

Given that many of you are learning French in places quite far from Québec with little to no access to French speakers, getting feedback on your French isn’t easy. By attempting a guess in French and then comparing it with how a speaker from French really said it spontaneously in a genuine conversation, you’ll have the opportunity to gauge how close (or how far off!) your French comes to that of the natives.

As I mentioned in the book itself, don’t be concerned if you find that your attempts rarely match how the speakers themselves said it. That’s kind of the point! This guide is meant to help you identify where you might be saying things in ways that don’t sound colloquial or natural in French. The more mistakes you make and catch, the more you’ll learn. So don’t worry about making mistakes when you work through the guide.

If you choose to work through the guide a second time, you’ll find your guesses are much more accurate.

You can buy and download this guide immediately in the OffQc store, along with all the others. (Follow the link below.) It’s in PDF format. Payment is by credit card or PayPal.

Buy and download Entendu au Québec here in the OffQc store

Bonne lecture!

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On the radio, a woman who lives off the island of Montréal, in the suburbs, talked about how it takes her a really long time to get into the city on snowy mornings.

From the radio studio in Montréal, she said:

Ça me prend un temps fou pour m’en venir à Montréal.
It takes me forever to come to Montréal.

Un temps foua crazy time — is a really long time, forever.

S’en venir means to come. Maybe you’ve heard people use viens-t’en! before. It means come!, come here/along!


A while back, I mentioned that I was working on a new guide about contractions heard in spoken language. I’m still working on it. But even before that one comes out, I’ll have a different guide ready for you. This one uses a question-and-answer format and overheard language to strengthen your knowledge of spoken French. It should be ready for you to buy in the OffQc store in the next few days. Stay tuned; details to come.

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Take a look at these examples of French:

– à part le matin
– à m’tanne avec ça
– à shake d’l’épaule

All three phrases come from the song Donne-moi-z’en by Bernard Adamus. (Do you remember we looked at the meaning of donne-moi-z-en here?)

In the phrases above, you might think à is the preposition à, but in fact it’s not. This à is an informal pronunciation of the subject pronoun elle that you’ll often hear in spoken language. (It sounds just like the preposition à, though.)

The phrases above are spoken equivalents of:

– elle part le matin
– elle me tanne avec ça
– elle shake de l’épaule

Knowing then that à is an informal pronunciation of elle, do you now understand the meaning of the three phrases?

à part le matin
she leaves in the morning

à m’tanne avec ça
she gets on my case about it, she goes on and on about it to me, etc.

à shake d’l’épaule
she shakes her shoulder (she shakes from the shoulder)

The informal verb shaker is pronounced like the English shake + é. The conjugated form shake sounds like the English shake.

In à m’tanne avec ça, the vowel of me has dropped. Shift the m’ to the end of à, then say tanne.

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