Archive for the ‘Entries #151-200’ Category

Boussole électorale (#193)

Update: The Boussole électorale 2011 is no longer available online.

In a little less than one week, Canadians will go to the polls: ils iront aux urnes le 2 mai.

If you’ll be voting, are you still undecided?

An interesting tool online: la Boussole électorale (or Vote Compass in English).

Through a series of questions, la Boussole électorale will determine which party most closely aligns with your values, or as the Boussole itself says: Découvrez votre position dans le paysage politique.

Even if you are decided, you may be surprised by the results!

If you haven’t already done so, why not take a few minutes before next Monday to check out where the Boussole positions you?

You’ll also give your French a little workout by taking the test.

Boussole électorale

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Each period of a hockey game is called une période in French.

la première période
la deuxième période
la troisième période

When you want to talk about something that happened during one of the periods, we use the word en.

en première période
en deuxième période
en troisième période


X a ouvert la marque en première période.
X opened the score in the first period.

X a nivelé la marque en deuxième période.
X tied the score in the second period.

X a porté la marque à 3 à 2 en troisième période.
X brought the score to 3 to 2 in the third period.

Sometimes you’ll hear the word période left out. In this case, période is understood without actually saying it.


Aucun but n’a été marqué en deuxième.
No goal was scored in the second (period).

Overtime is called la prolongation. With prolongation, the word en is also used to talk about something that happens during this part of the game.


X a marqué le but vainqueur en prolongation.
X scored the winning goal in overtime.

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I’ve been under the weather for the past two weeks.

This morning, I made my second trip to the clinique médicale not far from where I live. Fun!

Une clinique médicale is what’s known as the doctor’s office in English. The clinique médicale where I went this morning is a walk-in clinic, meaning that no appointment is necessary. We call this une clinique médicale sans rendez-vous.

When I arrived at the front desk, the receptionist greeted me. I then presented my carte d’assurance maladie. With this card, I have access to the insured healthcare services in Quebec.

The carte d’assurance maladie has an image of the sun on it. (See here.) Behind the receptionist at the clinique médicale, there’s a sign that reads: La carte soleil ne couvre pas tous les services. The term carte soleil is a nickname for the card because of the design on it.

The first question the receptionist asked me when I arrived was: Vous avez un dossier ici? In other words, she wanted to know if I had been there before and already had a file with them. (Yep.)

After that, I passed into the waiting area, where I… waited.

And waited.

And then I waited some more.

As I sat there staring at the walls, I thought I’d better use the opportunity to prepare something for today’s entry! I listened to the receptionist answer the phone. Three questions came up frequently:

C’est quoi votre nom de famille?
Votre prénom, c’est comment?
Et votre prénom c’est…?

Then I started to fall asleep… but was saved by a little kid who kindly woke me up by placing himself in front of me and and making sounds to wake to me up.

And then… my name was called: Monsieur Polesello, salle 4!


Hey, hold on, only a 100-minute wait today!

Ç’a pas été long!

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Bérangère from the series 19-2 is a police officer. Not only is she one of the few females on an almost all-male team, she’s also openly gay.

In a few different scenes, Bérangère refers to herself as une gouine in front of her male colleagues. This is how Bérangère refers to herself as being a lesbian, but a better equivalent in English would be “dyke.”

Is it offensive to use the term gouine? If you’re not a lesbian, it most certainly could be. (Similar to “dyke” in English?) In this case, use the word lesbienne instead and just learn to understand what gouine means.

Gouine is pronounced as though it were written gwine.

Bérangère never falls in love with the right person. In fact, in one scene, we see her gaze longingly into the eyes of a female colleague, even though her colleague isn’t lesbian.

In frustration, Bérangère later asks a male colleague: […] pourquoi j’suis pas capable de tripper sur des gouines comme moi? Tripper sur is an informal expression meaning something like “to go for,” “to fall for,” “to be into,” etc.

Now that you know what the title of this entry means, know that I wasn’t trying to be provocative! 😉

[This entry was inspired by the character Bérangère from 19-2, season 1, episode 3, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 16 February 2011.]

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Amande from the series 30 vies is standing in front of her secondary school with her boyfriend Dominique.

Dominique senses that Amande is being secretive about something, that she’s hiding stuff, qu’elle cache des affaires. He begins to question Amande, but she gets frustrated by it.

To get Dominique to back off, Amande tells him that she’ll break up with him if he doesn’t stop asking questions. To say “break up,” Amande used the verb casser. This is an informal usage of this verb.


Je casse.
I’m breaking up.

Elle va casser.
She’s going to break up.

Elle va casser avec lui.
She’s going to break up with him.

Can you guess how casser is pronounced in Quebec? Clue: entry #188.

The letter a in casser is pronounced â, or like “aww.” If you’ve learnt to pronounce casser as “kassé” instead of “kawsé”, don’t worry; you’ll still be understood. Just learn to understand the Quebec pronunciation for when you come across it.

By the way, don’t try to translate the word “up” in the English expression “to break up.” It’s simply casser in French.

[This entry was inspired by the character Amande from 30 vies, season 1, episode 31, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 2 March 2011.]

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Remember how â sounds in Quebec French?

It comes close to the way “aww” sounds.


tache (“tash”)
tâche (“tawsh”)

Although this is how we pronounce â in Quebec, you don’t have to adopt this pronunciation yourself to be understood by French speakers. If you like, you can just learn to recognise it.

Not all words with this “aww” sound are actually written with the accented letter â, however. In fact, I did a little experiment. Rather than pull 10 words with the â sound out of my head at random, I took the first 10 words I heard on the radio that use this sound. (Eh oui! 98,5 FM again!)

Here they are:

  • passer
  • base
  • ramasser
  • barrer
  • diable
  • bâtir
  • gagner
  • gagnant
  • âge
  • dépassé

In all of these words, the highlighted and underlined letter is pronounced as “aww.” Of these 10 words, only two are actually written with the accented letter â.

Again, you don’t need to pronounce “aww” yourself to be understood, but it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with this sound in case you’re not accustomed to hearing it.

If you only expect to hear a word like base to be pronounced as “bazz,” you may not catch what a speaker is saying when he says “bawz” instead!

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Dans le jus! (#187)

Oh boy. Sorry, folks.

I’ve got nothing prepared for today because I’m up to my neck in work this week. You could say that I’m dans le jus, or swamped!

So, just a short entry today, but (I hope) a good excuse to learn or review a French expression: être dans le jus!

Je suis dans le jus depuis une semaine!
I’ve been swamped (with work) for the past week!

Now, if I can just get my taxes done before the deadline…

Anybody else dans le jus? 😉

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