During a conversation, someone said:
It means I can’t take it anymore, I can’t deal with it anymore, I can’t stand it anymore, I’m sick of it, I’ve had it, etc.
Looking at j’p’us capab’, you can see there are a number of contractions in there (apostrophes), so let’s look here at what those contractions are. Then we’ll look at the pronunciation of j’p’us capab’; it’s not nearly as hard as it looks.
First, let’s back up: je ne suis plus capable is the full version of this example, with all words written in their uncontracted form. It literally means I am no longer capable. We’ll start from this full form.
• Je ne suis plus capable.
The final le of words like capable, table, diable, etc., can drop in colloquial speech, so capable can be pronounced informally as capab’. Now we have:
• Je ne suis plus capab’.
Ne plus is a negator meaning no more, not anymore, no longer. The ne of ne plus drops in colloquial language, leaving just plus. Now we have:
• Je suis plus capab’.
Plus sounds like plu. Informally, plus can contract to p’us, which sounds like pu. Now we have:
• Je suis p’us capab’.
Now comes the contraction of je suis. Je suis contracts all the way down to j’ here. Now we have:
• J’p’us capab’.
Right, so that takes us to what the speaker said. But how do you pronounce j’p’us anyway? When a contracted j’ comes before a p as it does here, it sounds like the French ch (like the ch in chez). So here’s how our example sounds:
It’s really quite fascinating — we went from seven syllables (je ne suis plus capable) all the way down to three (j’p’us capab’). If you’ve ever wondered why you struggle so much to understand spoken French, that’s probably one of the biggest reasons why — contractions.
I’m working on a new e-guide for sale — this one will be about all the main contractions you need to know to understand spoken French as it’s used in Québec. When it’s ready, it’ll go up for sale in the OffQc store with the other guides, which you should go buy now (as in là, là) if you haven’t done so already, of course. 😀
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