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Archive for February, 2016

Here’s more French heard on the radio.

A speaker, in reference to Lenny Kravitz, said an equivalent of this in French on air: He hasn’t changed one bit.

Can you guess how? She used the word poil.

Here’s what she said:

Y’a pas changé d’un poil.

This is a colloquial equivalent of il n’a pas changé d’un poil. Ne pas changer d’un poil means to not change one bit.

Poil, though, wasn’t pronounced the way you’re probably thinking it was. It was pronounced as pouèl, or as “pwell” using an anglicised spelling.

This is an alternate pronunciation heard in Québec. If you came to Québécois French by way of traditional music, for example, you’ve maybe noticed in songs that oi might be pronounced in other words too, like toile and étoile.

It’s not necessary for you to adopt this pronunciation, but it’s good to be aware of it. You may hear some older speakers use it, or hear it in rural settings.

The speaker who used it on the radio did so not because it was her usual way of pronouncing the word, but as a form of emphasis. Here’s how she really said it:

Y’a pas changé d’un pouèèèlllll.

She used this pronunciation and drew it out for effect.

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During a conversation, someone said an equivalent in French of go early.

As an example, maybe you’d say go early to someone who needed to go to a walk-in clinic to see a doctor, and you wanted to advise that person to go first thing in the morning before many other people arrived.

How might you say go early then?

Here’s what the person said:

Vas-y de bonne heure.
Go early.

The expression de bonne heure means early.

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Five years ago to the day, we looked at a quote from the TV show 19-2:

The scene:

Two policemen have been called to investigate a building. When they arrive, they step out of their patrol car. That’s when one of the policemen sees someone moving about inside the building. To alert his partner, he says: Y’a què’qu’un en d’dans! There’s someone inside!

Y’a què’qu’un en d’dans is a contraction of il y a quelqu’un en dedans.

In colloquial language, quelqu’un can lose its l. The contracted què’qu’un sounds like quèc’un.

You’ll remember that là-dessus contracts to là-d’ssus (sounds like ladsu) in spoken language. Similarly, en dedans loses a syllable and contracts to en d’dans (sounds like anddan).

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Remember the verb pogner?

Broadly speaking, the informal pogner means to grab, catch, nab, etc. It’s pronounced ponn-yé or, using IPA, pɔɲePogner rhymes with the verb cogner.

You can use pogner to render into French I just got caught, in a colloquial style.

If pogner quelqu’un means to catch, nab someone, then se faire pogner means to get caught, nabbed.

Can you now guess how you might say it French?

Montréal [février 2016]

Montréal [février 2016]

Je viens de me faire pogner.
I just got caught.
I’ve just been caught.

Je viens de me faire pogner par la police.
I just got caught by the police.
I’ve just been caught by the police.

What about I’d just got/gotten caught — how would you say that?

Je venais de me faire pogner.
I’d just got/gotten caught.
I’d just been caught.

Je venais de me faire pogner quand j’ai réalisé…
I’d just got/gotten caught when I realised…
I’d just been caught when I realised…

Another example using je venais de:

J’avais 24 ans et je venais de terminer mes études.
I was 24 years old and I’d just finished my studies.

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There’s an ad running on the radio (from a restaurant, I think — I only caught part of it) where the speaker invites listeners to bring all their friends along. She says an equivalent of:

Bring the gang along!

Can you guess how she said this in French?

Métro Place-des-Arts, à Montréal [février 2016]

Métro Place-des-Arts, à Montréal [février 2016]

She said:

Amène ta gang!
Bring the gang along!

Gang is a feminine noun; it follows English pronunciation. Here, it’s used in the sense of a group of people (usually friends, co-workers, etc.).

Amener is often used in the sense of to bring. We saw other examples of amener here in #872, where I posted some overheard language said by a group of women in their 60s in a food court.

Amène une chaise.
Bring a chair.

Amène-moi un biscuit.
Bring me a cookie.

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You can of course say calme-toi! to someone you want to settle down; you can also say on s’calme! (from on se calme).

But do you know of a way that doesn’t use the verb calmer?

Stade olympique de Montréal [février 2016]

Stade olympique de Montréal [février 2016]

Here it is:

Les nerfs!!!

Nerf, meaning nerve, is pronounced without its final f. Nerf rhymes with mer. The plural nerfs is pronounced just like the singular nerf.

Heille, les nerfs!
Hey, calm down!

Ok, ok, les nerfs!
Ok, ok, calm down!

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Spotted this postcard in a Montréal bookshop (we saw others here and here from Tiguidou), where parked cars are depicted as being buried under snow:

image

Tu trouves-tu ton char?
Can you find your car?

tu trouves, you find
tu trouves-tu?, you find?
ton char, your car

In tu trouves-tu?, only the first tu means you. The second tu turns tu trouves into a yes-no question.

The second tu has the same function as est-ce que but is placed after the verb instead here.

tu trouves-tu?
= est-ce que tu trouves?

Both this yes-no tu and the word char in the sense of car are colloquial usages.

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Complexe Desjardins, à Montréal [février 2016]

Complexe Desjardins, à Montréal [février 2016]

As a continuation from the last post about comment qu’on écrit ça? and oignon/ognon, let’s look at more language used by the same animator from the 98,5 fm talkshow.

Referring to the spelling modifications that’ve been proposed, the animator said an equivalent of this in French:

You have to admit it’s confusing.

Do you know what word she might have used to say confusing?

She used mêlant. Here’s what she said:

Avoue qu’c’est mêlant.

(This literally means admit that it’s confusing.)

The contracted qu’ (from que) makes a k sound (avouk c’est mêlant).

If something’s mêlant, it causes confusion. On the other hand, someone in a state of confusion is said to be mêlé.

mêlant, confusing
mêlé, confused

J’su’ don’ ben mêlé, moi.
I’m really confused.

j’su’ (sounds like chu): contraction of je suis
don’ ben (sounds like don bain): used for emphasis

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