Archive for the ‘Entries #151-200’ Category

À louerLooking for a one-bedroom apartment in Montréal?

Look for un trois et demie…

… or a three-and-a-half!

How does it work?

chambre à coucher (bedroom) = 1
salon (living room) = 1
cuisine (kitchen) = 1
salle de bains (bathroom) = ½

= 3½

Mon appartement, c’est un trois et demie.
I’ve got a one-bedroom apartment.
(i.e., it’s got a kitchen [1], living room [1], bedroom [1], and bathroom [½])

If you’re used to counting apartment sizes by the number of bedrooms, just add 2½ to convert.

1 bedroom + 2½ = un 3½ (un trois et demie)
2 bedrooms + 2½ = un 4½ (un quatre et demie)
3 bedrooms + 2½ = un 5½ (un cinq et demie)

Un 2½ is usually an apartment where the bedroom and living room are together in one room (1), plus a kitchen (1) and bathroom (½).

Un 1½ is a studio (1) which includes a kitchenette, plus a bathroom (½).

In short, the number before the half symbol tells you how many separate rooms are in the apartment (not just bedrooms but any kind of room), and the half symbol always represents the bathroom.

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It’s 10 o’clock at night. Natalie and Louis from the series Les Parent are sitting in front of the TV with their kids.

Natalie says it’s time to turn off the TV. She does this by saying to her son Olivier: Ferme la télé. Similarly, when people want the TV to be turned on, you may hear: Ouvre la télé.

Zak, their youngest son, protests. He says that wants to keep watching TV. To say “to watch TV,” Zak uses the expression écouter la télé, or literally “to listen to the TV.” The expression regarder la télé is also used, however.

Thomas, their teenaged son, doesn’t seem to mind, though. He says the TV is boring, and that there’s nothing good on: C’est tellement plate, la télé. Y a rien de bon. Thomas pronounces il n’y a informally as ya here.

Louis agrees. That’s when he says that, if he could, he’d create a new TV show himself, quelque chose de drôle, quelque chose de pas compliqué, quelque chose de simple…

His wife Natalie encourages him to keep describing the new TV show he’d create by asking him: “Like what?” To say this, she asks in French: Genre?

Louis then describes his ideas for his new show. We, the listeners, understand that the show he describes sounds exactly like the series Les Parent that he stars in…


écouter la télé = regarder la télé
ouvrir la télé = allumer la télé
fermer la télé = éteindre la télé
plate (platte) = ennuyant, ennuyeux
genre?* = comme quoi?

*There are more examples of genre in entries #197 and #205.

[This entry was inspired by the series Les Parent, “Traitement de canal,” season 3, episode 20, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 14 March 2011.]

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Berrof, a police officer from the series 19-2, has a guilty conscience. His partner Harvey was shot in the head when the two of them were investigating a scene. Although Harvey took a bullet in the head, he survived. Berrof feels responsible for what happened to Harvey; Berrof had refused to call for back-up at the scene even though Harvey had insisted.

Harvey is now lying in a hospital bed. He can’t stay there anymore, though. He needs to be moved into un centre de soins de longue durée. This is where he’ll receive care on a long-term basis because he is now infirme.

Berrof is sitting on the bed beside Harvey, who’s sleeping. Berrof is talking away to Harvey anyway. Berrof tells him qu’il a visité plein de places in an effort to find a good place for him to receive long-term care.

Berrof pulls out a pamphlet and tells Harvey that the place described in it is trippant, or really “cool,” because of the services offered there. He also tells Harvey que la bouffe est bonne, or that “the food is good,” at that long-term care centre.

But Berrof is so full of guilt that we get the impression he’s only saying this to convince himself. In fact, his guilty conscience takes over his mind so much so that we see Harvey suddenly appear standing beside Berrof, whispering into his ear:

Come on, Berrof. Tu veux pas vraiment laisser ton chum pourrir dans une de ces osties de places-là…
Come on, Berrof. You don’t really wanna let your buddy rot in one of those goddamn places…

[Said by the character Harvey in 19-2, season 1, episode 5, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 2 March 2011.]

Of course, Harvey didn’t really say this. It’s just Berrof’s conscience talking.

Lots of informal vocabulary in this scene.

Trippant, and the feminine trippante, are informal ways of saying “cool” or “awesome.” This adjective comes from the informal verb tripper, used in the expression tripper sur quelque chose, “to really be into something” or “to think something is really awesome.” You can read an example of this expression in entry #190.

You’ll sometimes hear une place instead of un endroit. Both words are used, but une place in the quote above feels more informal.

La bouffe is an informal way of saying “food.” You can read another example of bouffe in entry #140.

Harvey described himself as being Berrof’s chum (or at least in Berrof’s imagination he did), which is informal for “friend.”

Une de ces osties de places-là is “one of those goddamn places.” (The place referred to here is the centre de soins de longue durée.) This is vulgar in French.

On a final note, “Harvey” is pronounced as though it were written Arvé, in case you decide to watch the series but are thrown off by the pronunciation.

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In the series Les Parent, Louis works from home. In one scene, Louis’ youngest son Zak tells him that someone called for him by phone. Zak doesn’t remember who called for his father, though.

Louis starts asking Zak questions to see if he can figure out who the caller was. Two of the questions that Louis asks Zak about the caller are:

Est-ce qu’il a parlé d’un contrat ou d’une job à remettre genre lundi?


Est-ce qu’il avait une grosse voix là, genre… « Est-ce que je peux parler à monsieur Parent?* »

*Louis made his voice go much lower when he imitated the caller’s question.

Both questions contain a word that you’ll hear frequently enough when people speak informally: genre.

In the examples above, genre simply means “like” or “for example.” Sometimes you might hear a second of hesitation after the word genre as the speaker thinks of what he’ll say.


Est-ce que je peux venir te voir genre… lundi?
Can I come and see you on like… Monday?

There are a few other ways that genre can be used informally, but let’s leave those for another entry. If you have the chance to listen to French speakers, see if you can start picking out the word genre and how it’s used.

Edit: There are now more examples of genre in entries #199 and #205.

[Both quotes said by the character Louis in Les Parent, “On ne perd rien pour attendre,” season 3, episode 18, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 28 February 2011.]

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On the radio this morning, I heard an advertisement for a home renovation centre. In the ad, the speaker talked about damaged floors that need to be replaced.

To say “to damage the floor,” the speaker said maganer le plancher. The verb maganer simply means endommager or abîmer.


J’ai magané le plancher.
I damaged the floor.

Ça magane la santé.
It ruins your health.

In fact, this isn’t the first time you’re coming across the verb maganer. In entry #135, you came across se maganer, where it took on the sense of “to damage oneself (by taking on too much).”


Tu te maganes pour rien.
You’re “damaging” yourself for nothing (by taking on more than you have to).

According to Le Petit Robert, the verb maganer can also be heard in the west of France.

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