Archive for the ‘Entries #251-300’ Category

For my lectrices, now you can learn French and how to apply make-up like Lady Gaga at the same time, thanks to Cynthia Dulude’s YouTube channel. Cynthia shares beauty tips in her videos. Her videos are excellent for learning French because she explains what she’s doing as she shows you.

Below is a clip from her channel. Cynthia thanks her fans when she reaches 1000 subscribers on her channel. You’ll find a transcription of what she says below the video.

Oh, by the way, the Lady Gaga video is here.

If you can’t see the video above, watch it here on YouTube.

Yéééé! Merci tout le monde! Je viens de voir que j’ai mille abonnées. J’suis vraiment contente. Je les ai surveillées toute la journée… je voyais 998… 999… et là… 1000… donc je voulais juste vous filmer ma réaction! J’suis vraiment contente. Merci de vous abonner, hein, puis de me regarder. Si vous avez ma chaîne, merci de la partager avec vos amies, et cetera.

Puis moi, je vous le dis, là, vous êtes les meilleures abonnées au monde! J’suis vraiment contente quand vous me laisser des commentaires, là. Je les lis tous. C’est tellement gentil qu’est-ce que vous m’écrivez, là. Soyez pas gênées de me le dire. Moi, je pense qu’on devrait jamais être tanné d’entendre des compliments dans la vie.

Donc, merci, je vous aime vraiment beaucoup, puis dès que j’ai du temps libre, je vous promets que je fais des vidéos. Je passe tous mes temps libres sur vous en premier, là. Vous êtes ma priorité, je vous l’avoue!

Donc merci beaucoup encore, puis c’est ça… je peux juste vous dire merci puis vous embrasser! Fait que merci… bye!

j’suis, sounds like chui
pronounced informally throughout the video as pis
fait que,
alors in French, “so” in English

Merci Cynthia de m’avoir donné la permission de publier sur mon blogue cette transcription. Thank you John for pointing me to this YouTube channel.

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Improving your accent is hard work, but it’s not impossible if you’re a motivated learner. (If you’re a reader of this blog, that’s you!)

Here’s one way to improve your accent in French:

1. Find a short clip of audio in French. Something from about one to three minutes long is good. Ideally, the clip should feature just one speaker who talks in a reasonably steady flow of language. You can use most of the videos in the Listen section of this blog for this. Pick something that you understand fully (or that you can bring yourself to understand fully). Make sure you understand the content of the clip before going on.

2. Listen to the clip several times. The number of times you do this is up to you, but don’t do it just once. I suggest you do this so that the content of the clip becomes very familiar to you; you’ll begin to anticipate what the speaker says next. The less you have to worry about content, the more you can focus on sounds in the following steps. If you’ve got a transcript, you can refer to it at this stage to make sure you understand everything you hear.

3. Play the clip again, this time repeating what the speaker says as he says it. (If you’ve got a transcript, stop referring to it now.) The first time you do this, you’ll find it difficult to keep up. That’s OK. You’ll improve with each attempt. Keep doing this as many times as necessary until you reach a point where you’re able to keep up with the speaker relatively well. You’ll probably need to do this quite a few times.

4. When you’ve reached this point, you can start using the clip to improve your accent. Play the clip again and repeat what the speaker says as he says it. As you speak, listen to the way your French sounds against the speaker’s. Are you using the same intonation? Are your vowel sounds the same? Are you mispronouncing any words?

5. Make whatever corrections are necessary to your French accent in your subsequent “listen and repeat” attempts. Move on to a new clip when you feel that you’ve mastered the current one.

This exercise can be very difficult! It’s not easy to keep up with another speaker’s words, especially if the speaker talks quickly. If you’re having lots of trouble, pick a slower speaker.

When it comes to improving your accent, don’t get discouraged if the results aren’t coming fast enough. Work at it every day, but be realistic in your goals. It takes time.

If you use a different strategy for improving your accent, feel free to share it in the comments section.

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This entry will show you how to thank someone or offer an apology in French for something that’s taken place within the past few hours.

Imagine you’re having an argument with someone. During the argument, a good friend takes your side and defends you. You appreciate what your friend has done.

A few hours later, you bump into your friend — you want to thank him for what he did earlier on. In a situation like this, you could say in French:

Merci pour tantôt.
Thanks for earlier on.

The pour tantôt part means “for earlier on.” Merci pour tantôt is a way of thanking someone for something that’s occurred within the past few hours. An apology can be given using pour tantôt as well:

Désolé pour tantôt.
Sorry about earlier on.

While on the topic of tantôt, you’ll also want to learn this expression used frequently in Quebec:

À tantôt!
See you shortly!

[This entry was inspired by the character Annie-Jade in 30 vies, season 2, episode 8, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 22 September 2011. She used the expression merci pour tantôt.]

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The young Zak, from the series Les Parent, has invited a friend over to the house. (His friend is a girl.) In one scene, she enters the kitchen with Zak. She tells Zak’s father that girls are smarter than boys — and that her mother has told her so.

Zak’s father tries to reason with her, and his other son Thomas helps him out by providing scientific evidence that what she’s saying isn’t correct or nuanced enough.

She finally leaves the kitchen with Zak, and Thomas and his father are left alone. The father is relieved that Thomas helped him out in that conversation by providing all the scientific proof, so he thanks him:

Merci Thomas.

Thomas answers back:

Quand tu veux.

When Thomas says quand tu veux, he means “anytime” (i.e., “no problem”). You can use the expression quand tu veux like this as well:

Appelle-moi quand tu veux.
You can call me anytime.

This usage described in this entry is not limited to Quebec; you can use it anywhere people speak French.

[This entry was inspired by the characters Louis and Thomas in Les Parent, “Ex-communique ado,” season 4, episode 6, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 17 October 2011.]

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In this entry, you’ll learn how comment ça can be used in French to express bewilderment.

You read in entry #249 that the word ça often gets slipped into questions using quand, qui, comment, où, pourquoi. For example:

-Regarde, un écureuil!
-Où ça?

-Look, a squirrel!

In this entry, take a closer look at comment ça.

In a scene from La Galère, a father asks his child a question. The child answers back: j’sais pas [ché pas], “I dunno.” The father then asks: Comment ça, « j’sais pas »? When used like this, the comment ça? part means “what do you mean?” In other words: “What do you mean, ‘I dunno’?”

More examples:

-Je te connais pas.
-Comment ça, tu me connais pas?
What do you mean you don’t know me?

-Je sais pas.
-Comment ça, tu sais pas?
What do you mean you don’t know?

-C’est pas bon.
-Comment ça, c’est pas bon?
What do you mean it’s not good?

-C’est pas drôle.
-Comment ça, c’est pas drôle?
What do you mean it’s not funny?

-J’suis fatiguée.
-Comment ça, t’es fatiguée?
What do you mean you’re tired?

Note that when a question begins with comment ça like this, the voice does not rise at the end like it does in a yes-no question. Say in English, “What do you mean you don’t know me?!” That same tone of voice is used in French.

[This entry was inspired by the character Jacques in La Galère, season 4, episode 6, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 17 October 2011.]

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Train your ear to the sound of Quebec French with this video. In it, Stage Lacroix uses humour to tell his fans how to be sure to get a copy of his holiday album. He speaks at an informal level of French, at normal speed. You may find this clip challenging, but I’ve included a transcription of what he says below.

Some informal features in the clip include: il and ils pronounced as y; il y a pronounced as ya; il y en a pronounced as y en a (yen na); bien pronounced as ben; and puis pronounced as pis. I’ve put in bold some other items that you may not be familiar with; their definitions follow the transcription.

If you can’t see the video above, watch it here on YouTube.

Bonjour, ici Stage Lacroix. Cette année, pour le temps des Fêtes, je sors un album du temps des Fêtes qui s’appelle… Fêtes. C’est un concept, là. Ce qui arrive c’est que… ya [il y a] beaucoup d’albums du temps des Fêtes cette année qui sortent — d’ailleurs c’est une des années records au Québec ; y en a [il y en a] plus d’une quarantaine qui sortent en même temps — donc, dans les magasins de disques, y [ils] tiendront pas beaucoup de copies de chacun des disques parce qu’y [ils] ont pas assez de place sur les tablettes. Faque [fait que] ce que je vous conseille, si ça vous tente de vous procurer mon album, c’est d’aller tout de suite au magasin de disques le plus près de chez vous pour en réserver un, en commander un, laisser vos coordonnées afin de vous assurer qu’ils vous appellent, pis [puis] « oui, on l’a, votre disque ». Un p’tit conseil que je vous donne de même, je fais ça avec ma famille pis [puis] euh… sont ben [bien] contents. Merci… et Joyeuses Fêtes! À l’avance… évidemment. ‘Scusez [excusez].

le temps des Fêtes, the holiday season
sur les tablettes,
on the shelves
fait que
 alors in French; “so” in English
si ça vous tente de…, if you want to…
de même, like that

* fait que, which you’ll also hear pronounced as faque, is an informal, spoken usage; it rarely appears in writing, except perhaps in texts written in a deliberately informal style

Thanks to Diane for suggesting this video.

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You’ll learn the meaning of the French expressions faire des farces and faire une farce in this entry.

Gabrielle, in a scene from 30 vies, is at home with her husband. Someone’s at the door: it’s Gabrielle’s mother. Her husband lets the mother in, and they greet each other at the door.

The husband tries to give the mother a little scare by telling a bad joke: he suggests that she’s arrived while he and Gabrielle were discussing their divorce. For a split second, the mother thinks it might be the truth. She tells her daughter:

Ton mari, je sais jamais s’il fait des farces ou pas.

[Said by the character played by Gabrielle’s mother in 30 vies, season 2, episode 7, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 21 September 2011.]

Or in English, something like: “I can never tell if your husband’s kidding or not.” Une farce is a joke. The expression faire des farces means “to make jokes.” The expression faire une farce also exists. If you wanted to say to whom the joking was done, then the expressions become faire des farces à quelqu’un and faire une farce à quelqu’un.

If you heard someone describe a joke as being une farce plate, then the joke isn’t a funny one…

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