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Macha from Tout sur moi has been going out on dates with the male doctors from her doctor’s office. Unlikely in the real world but, hey, Tout sur moi is just a comedy!

One of the dates she goes on is with her… gynecologist. She tells her friends that she had her première date avec son gynécologue.

Informally, you’ll hear a (romantic) date called une date in French. It follows the English pronunciation: it rhymes with the English word “hate.” It you make it rhyme with the English word “hat,” it will sound like date in the sense of “calendar date” instead, which isn’t what you mean to say.

To say “to go on a first date with someone,” Macha used an informal expression: avoir une première date avec quelqu’un.

Example:

J’ai eu ma première date avec lui.
I went on my first date with him.

[This entry was inspired by the character Macha in Tout sur moi, “Santé!,” season 4, episode 10, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 17 November 2010.]

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Ben is an informal pronunciation of bien. It sounds like the French word bain. Informally, ben is often used in the sense of “really.” Examples: C’est ben loin, ben chaud, ben difficile; j’aime ben ça, and so on.

Sometimes, you’ll even hear ben used not once but twice in a row, like this:

J’aime ben ben ça, moi!
I sooo like that!

C’est ben ben loin!
It’s sooo far!

T’es ben ben chanceux!
You’re sooo lucky!

Of course, there’s really nothing stopping someone from throwing even a few more ben in there! The more ben, the more enthusiastic the speaker is.

[This entry was inspired by the character Éric in Tout sur moi, “Santé!,” season 4, episode 10, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 17 November 2010.]

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Valérie from Tout sur moi plays a butch character. She uses a lot of informal language and often loses her temper around other characters.

In one scene, Valérie uses the informal expression fermer sa gueule to tell someone to shut up.

Sometimes you’ll hear gueule pronounced as yeule in this expression, but not always.

Examples:

Ferme ta gueule!
Ferme ta yeule!
Shut your mouth! Shut up!

You may also simply hear:

Ta gueule!
Ta yeule!

The French expression for “shut up!” uses the word gueule because, normally, gueule refers to the mouth of an animal. Using it to refer to a person’s mouth is rude, which is just what an expression like this calls for!

Be careful about using this expression. It’s fun to learn it, but remember that it can sound very rude. It doesn’t simply mean “be quiet” — no, no, it’s much stronger, like “shut your mouth.”

That said, friends may sometimes use this expression amongst themselves in a more playful manner. In this case, a playful tone of voice and facial expression would signal that it’s a joke.

[This entry was inspired by the character Valérie in Tout sur moi, “Santé!,” season 4, episode 10, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 17 November 2010.]

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Calling someone CHOSE in French (#47)

As a way of provoking in French, you might hear someone call another person chose. In a scene from Tout sur moi, that’s what Valérie said to another character in a moment of anger:

Je commence à en avoir mon voyage de toi, chose!
I’m starting to get fed up with you, guy [thing]!

[Said by the character Valérie in Tout sur moi, “Santé!,” season 4, episode 10, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 17 November 2010.]

Sometimes you’ll hear someone call another person chose when they don’t want to use that person’s real name (or because they don’t know it), as a way of taunting them.

Other times, chose can be used in a more playful way, such as between friends, to take a little dig at them.

In the quote above, chose wasn’t used in a playful way because the speaker was angry and using a nasty tone of voice.

The expression avoir son voyage in the quote above means “to be fed up” in Quebec French. Example: J’ai mon voyage. “I’m fed up.”

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Sometimes the French word merde (“shit”) is pronounced marde in Quebec. In a scene from Tout sur moi, an elderly man lying in a hospital bed describes his life as being une vie de marde.

Even though this was said by an elderly character, you can hear younger people say marde too. A common expression that uses this is à marde, which can be added after a noun to show someone’s dislike for something.

Example:

Mon ordi à marde arrête pas de planter!
My shitty computer won’t stop crashing!

That said, marde does not entirely replace merde in Quebec. You’ll also hear the pronunciation merde here.

While on the topic of merde/marde, I’ve seen some phrasebooks say that merci is pronounced marci in Quebec (worded in a way that suggests merci isn’t used). Although the pronunciation marci exists, you’ll want to say merci as a learner of French.

[This entry was inspired by a male character in Tout sur moi, “Santé!,” season 4, episode 10, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 17 November 2010.]

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In a scene from Les Parent, we hear Louis ask in French, “Is that clear?!” Louis is the father in this series.

As you can imagine, asking this question is often a way of striking fear into kids’ hearts to make sure they’ve understood whatever the parents have just lectured them on.

To ask this question, Louis could have said: Est-ce que c’est clair?! But that’s not how he said it. Instead, he used an informal yes-no question word to ask it. He said: C’est-tu clair?!

Here, -tu does not mean “you.” It’s an informal word sometimes used in relaxed speech, which attaches itself to a verb. It’s an informal way of asking a question without using est-ce que.

Just remember that using -tu instead of est-ce que sounds very informal. You can always use est-ce que when you speak, even informally. Don’t worry too much if you still aren’t feeling this whole -tu thing yet. Now that you know about it, just start listening for it and let it sink in.

[This entry was inspired by the character Louis in Les Parent, “Blues d’automne,” season 3, episode 7, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 25 October 2010.]

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Comme ça in French means “like that.” You’ll hear another way of saying this quite frequently during informal French conversations:

Pourquoi tu pleures de même?
Why you crying like that?

Pourquoi elle est fâchée de même?
Why’s she so angry like that?

Of course, these examples could just as easily have used comme ça. You’ll generally hear this informal use of de même at the end of a sentence.

[This entry was inspired by the character Natalie in Les Parent, “Blues d’automne,” season 3, episode 7, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 25 October 2010.]

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