Archive for the ‘Entries #251-300’ Category

Listen to this video in French featuring the TV chef Ricardo. The way he speaks is good for learning French because he pronounces his words clearly. I’ve included a transcription of the video below.

This video is good for learning certain sounds in Quebec French:

  • In the words simple, minces and bien, listen to how Ricardo pronounces the nasal vowel sound [in].
  • Listen for the â sound in the words carrés and bâtonnets.
  • Do you hear the [ts] sound in petits [petsi] are partie [partsi]? You can review what this is all about in entry #209.

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

Quand, dans une recette, on nous demande de couper un légume — ou un fruit parfois — en julienne, c’est simple. Là, je vais le faire avec une carotte. Ce qu’on veut, c’est de longs bâtonnets, mais surtout de très petits bâtonnets d’environ deux millimètres carrés. Alors, avec une carotte, on veut enlever une partie de chaque côté pour obtenir une espèce de rectangle. Une fois qu’on a un rectangle de carotte, on va en faire des tranches minces. Et on va recouper ces tranches de carotte-là pour obtenir justement de petits bâtonnets de deux millimètres carrés. C’est peut-être un peu long si vous (n’)êtes pas habitués de faire des juliennes. Si vous aimez beaucoup ça parce que vous aimez les salades asiatiques ou peu importe, ça se fait aussi très bien avec une mandoline.

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In this entry, you’ll learn how to ask someone for more details in French with the question qu’est-ce que tu as comme (…).

In a scene from 30 vies, a teenaged girl is in the kitchen just before going to school. Her father is beside her and asks:

Qu’est-ce que t’as comme cours aujourd’hui?

[Said by the character played by Annie-Jade’s father in 30 vies, season 2, episode 6, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 20 September 2011.]

Or in English, “What classes have you got today?” T’as in the quote above is an informal way of saying tu as. You can replace the part after comme with some other noun of your choice.


Qu’est-ce que tu as comme vélo?
Qu’est-ce que t’as comme vélo?

What kind of bike have you got?

Qu’est-ce que tu as comme livres?
Qu’est-ce que t’as comme livres?
What kind of books have you got?

A similar structure is tu as quoi comme (…).

Tu as quoi comme ordi?
T’as quoi comme ordi?
What kind of computer have you got?

Un ordi is an informal word for un ordinateur.

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T’as fessé fort? (#285)

This entry will introduce you to a Quebec French usage of the verb fesser that you may be unfamiliar with.

Fred is a teenaged girl in La Galère. She often chats online with a cyberfriend called Lorie, whom she’s never met in person. During an online conversation, however, Fred comes to the conclusion that Lorie isn’t a girl at all — but a man posing as a girl.

Fred asks a teenaged boy called Hugo for help. Together, they come up with a plan to get “Lorie” arrested. Long story short — Hugo ends up punching the man in the face just before his arrest.

Back home, Hugo’s mother is cleaning up his swollen hand for him. She’s proud of her son because he helped lead to the arrest of a predator. (Sometimes the storyline in La Galère goes over the top…)

As she’s cleaning her son’s hand, she asks him encouragingly:

T’as fessé fort?

[Said by Stéphanie in La Galère, season 4, episode 5, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 10 October 2011.]

Given the context, can you make out the meaning of this question?

In this example, fesser is simply another way of saying frapper. The use of fesser in this example has absolutely nothing to do with une fessée, “a spanking (on the rear end).” Hugo’s mother isn’t asking her son whether or not he gave the man a good spanking; she just wants to know if he gave him a good punch!

For what it’s worth, if you did in fact want to talk about spanking, you could use donner la fessée à quelqu’un or donner une tape sur les fesses. The verb fesser means “to spank” too — just be aware that, in Quebec, you’re very likely to hear fesser used at an informal level in the broad sense of frapper.

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Here’s a short clip in French with a transcription, featuring the Québécoise Isabelle Boulay.

(C’est fin octobre, début novembre…) Une chose dont j’étais absolument certaine c’est que j’avais vraiment envie de faire cet album avec Benjamin Biolay. J’avais envie d’un album qui soit à consonance folk-country. Moi, je savais que lui, il allait avoir la finesse, la culture… C’est quelqu’un d’extrêment doué musicalement… d’une… d’une sensibilité exquise, pis* euh… qui a l’âme assez courageuse en fait pour entrer… entrer avec moi dans cette… dans cette aventure-là. (Mon amour, tu me manques…)

*pis — informal pronunciation of puis

If you like Isabelle Boulay, you can listen to her new song Fin octobre, début novembre here. (Stop the main video from playing on that page, then scroll down. The player is on the right under the miniature album cover image.)

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Zak is a young boy in Les Parent. He walks into the kitchen where his mother is. Zak has become a Scout, and he’s wearing his new uniform. His mother thinks he looks really good; she tells him so:

Ah, wow! T’es donc ben beau, toi!

[Said by Natalie in Les Parent, “Une famille moderne,” season 4, episode 5, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 10 October 2011.]

Do you remember the expression donc ben + (adjectif) from earlier entries? It means “really + (adjective),” but it’s only used at an informal level of language.

The c in donc isn’t pronounced in this expression. It sounds like don. The quote above is pronounced t’es don ben beau, toi.

T’es donc ben beau, then, is an informal way of telling a male in French tu es vraiment beau, or “you look really good.” Tu es vraiment beau could also be said informally as t’es vraiment beau.

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In this entry, you’ll learn how an up-to-no-good-looking person might be described in Quebec French.

In a scene from La Galère, Claude tells another woman that she looks croche. In the context of this scene, Claude was essentially telling this other woman that she looks like someone who does bad or dishonest things.

Can you guess how Claude said this? The answer will come below.

The adjective croche can be used to describe objects that are crooked or bent out of shape. For example, a needle that’s bent and can’t be used might be described as being croche.

When croche is used in reference to a person, it can also mean “crooked,” but in the sense of dishonest, suspicious, or louche in French.

Back to Claude — did you guess what her words were in French? Here they are: T’as l’air croche.

Do you remember that il a can sound like ya at an informal level of French? Using the same expression as Claude (avoir l’air croche), describe a male as looking croche, but pronounce it in an informal way.

[This entry was inspired by Claude in La Galère, season 4, episode 4, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 3 October 2011.]

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Imagine that something important is happening this evening with your friends. You remind one of your friends about it by saying, “Don’t forget about this evening.” Can you say this in French?

The answer is immediately below, in white text. Try to guess, then highlight the white space below to reveal the answer…

N’oublie pas pour ce soir.

Did you guess correctly? Remember that when people speak informally, ne often drops in the negative. This means that you may hear the example above said without the n’ at the beginning.

You can now replace ce soir in this example with any other moment of the day — demain, cet après-midi, demain matin, and so on.

The inspiration for this entry came from season 1, episode 1 of Les Invincibles. In this episode, a father tells his son: Oublie pas pour ce soir là, hein?

His son, who doesn’t remember what’s happening, asks: Qu’est-ce qu’y a ce soir? (Qu’est-ce qu’y a is an informal pronunciation of qu’est-ce qu’il y a.)

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