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Archive for April, 2016

In an ad for a supermarket, we hear a woman say to a man:

Tiens, regarde la circulaire.
Here, look at the flyer.

Une circulaire is a flyer or circular, which is a printed summary of items on sale in a store.

image

In the image, there are circulaires available at the entrance to this store. On the sign behind, to the right, we read:

Aubaines de la semaine
Deals of the week

Une aubaine is a special or a good deal. To the left of the image at the top, the text is cut off, but it reads:

Spéciales de la circulaire hebdomadaire
Flyer specials this week
(literally, specials from the weekly flyer)

Une spéciale and une aubaine are the same thing: a special or a good deal. Une circulaire hebdomadaire is a flyer that comes out every week.

Many people wish not to receive flyers at their home. You’ll sometimes see a red sticker on mailboxes reading pas de circulaires, meaning they don’t want junk mail.

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OffQc guides for sale

All are available here in the OffQc store

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In #1114, we looked at the basic meaning of une poque (dent) and poqué (dented).

A reader of OffQc called Larry asks about poqué used in a different sense, a sense not covered in #1114. This time, poqué isn’t used to describe a dented car or apple, but people. His example, taken from La Presse:

Fugueurs en série
Ils sont jeunes, ils sont poqués, mais ils ont soif de liberté

People described as poqués are considered vulnerable, disadvantaged, troubled, “dented” (in a figurative sense) by the events of their life.

For example, children described as poqués might be neglected by their parents, or abused by them. Adults described as poqués might be homeless, or maybe dealing with addictions or mental health problems.

From the Usito dictionary, this example from La Presse:

« Plusieurs accumulent les échecs. D’autres ont sombré dans la délinquance. Ils sont trop dangereux ou trop poqués pour vivre en société. »

The quote talks about how many of the people in question have had a series of failures, and others have fallen into crime. They’re described as being too dangerous or too vulnerable (trop poqués) to live in society.

I found more examples online. This next one is from L’Itinéraire. The quote talks about a film director who only produces films dealing with social issues, highlighting her interest in vulnerable people (les poqués) and people living on the fringes of society (les marginaux).

Elle est aussi une cinéaste conscientisée, qui ne tourne que des films à caractère social, témoignant d’un intérêt marqué pour les poqués et les marginaux. (source)

Again in La Presse, Patrick Lagacé writes about how a particular reform to welfare (le BS, from bien-être social) would affect the most vulnerable of the vulnerable: [la] réforme du BS visait […] les plus poqués des poqués. (source)

Getting back to Larry’s example above, without knowing anything more about the article, we can understand that it deals with run-aways (fugueurs) who are troubled (poqués) in some way.

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Five books to choose from in the OffQc bookshop to improve your knowledge of vocabulary, expressions and contractions used in Québécois French.

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Imagine an apple covered in bruises… or a table full of dents… or dents on the frame of your bike.

What might you call these bruises and dents in French?

You can call them des poques.

une table pleine de poques
a table full of dents

une pomme pleine de poques
an apple full of bruises

You might describe someone with a roughed-up face after a fight as having des poques on his face (red, scratched-up bits).

Or maybe there’s a dent on the side of your car — that’s also une poque.

If you know poque, then you also know poqué. It means dented.

For example, you probably avoid choosing des fruits poqués when you’re at the supermarket because they’re bruised.

We’ll look at some more uses of poqué in another post.

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Five books to choose from in the OffQc bookshop to improve your knowledge of vocabulary, expressions and contractions used in Québécois French.

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Five common French words… are you pronouncing them right?

instinct

The ct on the end of instinct is silent. The inct ending sounds just like the in at the beginning of the word. Say in-stin.

poing

Your fist is your poing in French. Poing sounds just like the French word point.

shampooing

Shampoo in French is called shampooing. The pooing part (yes, I just said the pooing part), sounds like the French word poing, which we just saw above. The sham part sounds the French word chant. Say chant-point.

cou

Your neck is your cou in French. It’s easy enough to pronounce; it’s just that you don’t want to confuse it with the word for another body part, a little farther down. Cou rhymes with fou. The ou part sounds just like the French word où. The word you don’t want to confuse cou with is cul

cul

Your arse is your cul in French. How do you pronounce cul? Cul rhymes with tu, bu, su, dû, which use the French u sound (not ou). Don’t pronounce the l on the end of cul.

  • instinct
  • poing
  • shampooing
  • cou
  • cul

Now five guides to choose from in the OffQc store related to colloquial Québécois French — get them here.

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On the radio, a man spoke about how to avoid suffering from allergies this season. One of his recommendations was to close the windows. He said:

Fermez vos fenêtres. C’est plate à dire…

Nobody wants to keep their windows shut during summer weather. That’s why he says it’s plate to make the recommendation of closing them.

In this sense, plate (also spelled platte) means too bad, no good, etc. We can translate c’est plate as that stinks, that sucks, that’s too bad.

Fermez vos fenêtres. C’est plate à dire…
Close your windows. It stinks to [have to] say [it]…

Remember that plate is an informal usage, in the same way that stinks is in English.

C’est plate à dire, mais c’est comme ça.
Sucks to say, but that’s how it is.

C’est platte à dire, mais t’aurais dû rester ici.
Sorry to say, but you shoulda stayed here.

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Overheard in French: someone who said an equivalent of “I tripped” (i.e., he lost footing).

To say this, he didn’t use the verb trébucher. He didn’t use tomber, either. And he didn’t use tripper from the last post, which of course has a different meaning altogether.

So what verb did he use? He used s’enfarger.

s’enfarger, to trip
il s’est enfargé, he tripped
s’enfarger dans l’escalier, to trip in the staircase
s’enfarger dans ses lacets, to trip on one’s (shoe)laces

S’enfarger can also be used in a figurative sense.

Il s’est enfargé dans mon nom.
He got (said) my name wrong.
Literally: He “tripped” on my name.

Il s’est s’enfargé sounds like i sé t’enfargé in spoken language.

Enfarger quelqu’un means to trip someone, for example, by sticking your leg out so he falls over it.

In short:

s’enfarger, to trip
enfarger quelqu’un, to trip someone

Using enfarger or s’enfarger, can you now say he tripped me; I tripped; I tripped on my laces?

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OffQc store

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Have a look at this billboard in French advertising used cars (autos usagées or voitures d’occasion) in Montréal:

On « trippe » sur les vieilles

We’ve seen how tripper sur (quelque chose) means to really go for (something), to be totally into (something), to dig (something).

J’trippe sur sa nouvelle toune.
I really love his latest song.

Tripper can also mean to have a blast.

C’est certain que tu vas tripper.
You’re gonna have such a blast.

Tripper is an informal verb deriving from English (trip); it isn’t unusual to see words of this sort set off by guillemets, like here.

This billboard has two meanings — a literal one, and one the result of wordplay meant to catch the attention of passers-by.

The literal one is they’re saying they love old cars (vieilles voitures). On trippe sur les vieilles; we love old ones.

As for the one resulting from wordplay, can you guess this one on your own?

(If you’re studying contractions, then you know how the words sur les on this billboard can be pronounced spontaneously. See chapter 5 of Contracted French. You also know how j’trippe sounds, if that’s what this sign had said instead. See chapter 1.)

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