Archive for the ‘Entries #101-150’ Category

The main characters of La Galère are four women. Each one has a defining personality trait:

Mimi is the innocent romantic; Stéphanie is the dysfunctional mother; Isabelle is the stressed-out career woman trying to make it big; and Claude is the self-absorbed bitch! (But she’s proud of it.)

True to character, Claude got married for money. But when she becomes convinced that her new husband hasn’t got a cent, she freaks out. She thinks he’s tricked her into a moneyless marriage. During a conversation with two friends, Claude tells them je me suis fait niaiser solide.

Se faire niaiser?

Niaiser quelqu’un means “to kid someone,” or even “to bullshit someone.”


Tu me niaises, là?!
Are you kidding me?!

Se faire niaiser turns the action back to the speaker. It can mean something like “to be made a fool of” or “to get taken in.”

Solide is an informal way of saying “totally” or “in a big way.”

Claude pronounced the past participle fait in je me suis fait niaiser solide as though it were written faite. Informally, this isn’t uncommon.

[This entry was inspired by the character Claude in La Galère, season 3, episode 2, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 27 September 2010.]

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Back in the days of New France, average families had very little furniture in their houses; the furniture they did have was simple. A chair was often nothing more than part of a tree trunk cut down to size — une bûche.

Can you see how the following expression entered the French language?

Tire-toi une bûche!
Pull up a seat!

Even today, the expression tire-toi une bûche is sometimes used in a lighthearted way to tell people to sit down.

[This entry was inspired by the character Louise in Penthouse 5-0, “Revenir de loin,” season 1, episode 3. Radio-Canada, Montreal, 24 January 2011. Here, Louise used this expression to tell a character who had just asked a question to pull up a seat. Why? Because the answer was going to be a very long one…]

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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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