Archive for the ‘Entries #101-150’ Category

Thomas, Olivier and Zak are brothers. They’re in the living room with their mother, who’s showing them photos of herself from the 70s.

Olivier notices something under his mother’s arm in one of the photos, and he asks what it is. A little hesitatingly, she explains that it’s hair. (C’est du poil.) She goes on to explain that, back in the 70s, this was normal for females, and that it was even normal to let the hair grow on their legs.

That’s when all three boys recoil in disgust, saying ouache!!! and c’est dégueu!!!

Ouache means “yuck.” It’s easier to pronounce than it looks. It rhymes with the English words “cash” and “mash,” except it starts with a w sound at the beginning.

Dégueu is an informal way of saying dégueulasse, which means “disgusting.” C’est dégueu means “that’s gross.” To say the –gueu part of dégueu, say the French word feu, but change the f to a hard g sound.

[This entry was inspired by the characters Thomas, Olivier and Zak in Les Parent, “La ligue du vieux poil,” season 3, episode 14, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 31 January 2011.]

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Gabrielle, a secondary school teacher in the series 30 vies, is talking to one of her students. Gabrielle always uses tu to speak to this student.

At one point, Gabrielle tells the student that she had stopped by her place earlier on. Instead of saying chez toi, Gabrielle said chez vous.

Just a reminder that chez vous is sometimes used informally instead of chez toi, even when people are on informal terms with one another.

Of course, chez toi is also used. At this stage, I might suggest you stick with chez toi yourself when you’re speaking with someone you’d normally use tu with.

[This entry was inspired by the character Gabrielle in 30 vies, season 1, episode 18, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 8 February 2011.]

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Hugo is a teenager from the series La Galère. He’s telling his girlfriend some good news and he’s totally pumped about it.

His girlfriend is a little sceptical about what he’s saying, though. To try to change her mood, Hugo tells her to smile because his news is super hot! This is his way of saying that his news is awesome.

Hot may have a somewhat wider use in informal French than in English.

Informally in English, I think hot most often refers to a physically stunning person. (Can somebody comment on this?)

In the quote above, it’s Hugo’s good news that’s hot (or, perhaps more accurately, what the good news is about).

Hot can mean “cool,” “amazing” or “awesome” when talking about ideas, events, objects, news, etc.

For example, if you told me about a good piece of gossip, I could describe that as being hot in French if I thought it were really juicy:

C’est hot!
C’est trop hot!

Of course, super hot from the example above is even more hot than hot!

[This entry was inspired by the character Hugo in La Galère, season 3, episode 10, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 22 November 2010.]

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If you’re already living in Quebec, have you ever noticed the slogan used by the supermarket IGA? Their slogan in French is Vive la bouffe, or “Long live food.”

La bouffe is an informal way of saying “food.”

In a scene from Les Parent, Natalie describes the food that was offered at a holiday resort in Cuba.

When she talks about the food, she calls it la bouffe. She didn’t particularly like the food, though. She said the bouffe was assez ordinaire.

A related word in French is la malbouffe: junk food!


La bouffe était bonne.
The food was good.

La malbouffe nuit à la santé.
Junk food ruins your health.

[This entry was inspired by Natalie in Les parent, “Une semaine tout compris,” season 3, episode 11, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 10 January 2011.]

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Louis and his wife from the show Les Parent are going on holiday in Cuba. At one point, Louis tells his kids to remember to take out the garbage while they’re away.

Louis used a word that you might not be familiar with: vidanges.

Informally, les vidanges is often used in the sense of “garbage” in Quebec French. It’s a feminine plural word. The informal expression sortir les vidanges means “to take out the garbage.”


As-tu sorti les vidanges?
Did you take out the garbage?

J’ai oublié de sortir les vidanges!
I forgot to take out the garbage!

[This entry was inspired by the character Louis in Les Parent, “Une semaine tout compris,” season 3, episode 11, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 10 January 2011.]

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Stéphanie from La Galère has been going out with a new guy. He wants her to commit to the relationship, but she’s not ready for that! Here’s how Stéphanie tells her friends that commitment isn’t what she wants:

J’peux pas m’engager de même, là!
I can’t just commit like that!

[Said by the character Stéphanie in La Galère, season 3, episode 10, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 22 November 2010.]

De même here means “just like that.”

Informally, j’peux sounds as though it were written chpeu. This is an informal pronunciation of je peux.

In the quote above, ne dropped (je ne peux pas became j’peux pas). This happens frequently in spoken informal French, where ne often disappears altogether. Pas alone tells the listener that the sentence is in the negative.

In a relationship, “to commit” is s’engager.

Did you notice the use of here? Yet another example of how at the end of a sentence gives a little more punch to what someone’s saying.

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“That makes no sense at all!” Do you know how French speakers might say this informally?

Oh, you’ve already read the title! Yes, you do know then. But how do you pronounce it?

Ç’a is an informal way of saying ça a. The contraction ç’a just sounds like ça.

Normally, the final s of sens is pronounced, but not here. In this informal expression, sens sounds as though it were written san.

Pas d’ sounds like the English spelling “pudd.”

Ç’a pas d’bon sens sounds a little something like this: ça “pudd” bon san.

[This entry was inspired by the character Valérie in Tout sur moi, “Le mariage (la suite),” season 4, episode 13, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 8 December 2010.]

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