Archive for the ‘Entries #351-400’ Category

In the short film in entry #391, a man turns himself in to the police (il se rend) at a dépanneur in Montreal. Take a few moments to concentrate on some of the vocabulary that came up in the film:

Ici on carte!

Click for larger version

It’s hard to see, but there’s a little sign from Loto-Québec near the cash that says: Ici on carte! This is an informal way of saying that if you appear underaged, you’ll be “carded” (asked for ID). The verb is carter. You can see an example of Ici on carte! in the screen shot on the right, which comes from this article on La Presse.

Even though it’s on the Loto-Québec sign, carter is still an informal usage. Mostly young people say it. Je me suis fait carter (not said in the film) means “I got carded.”

At the beginning of the film, when the underaged boy tries to buy a pack of cigarettes at the cash (un paquet de cigarettes), the clerk asks for his ID: Est-ce que je peux voir tes cartes?

A lottery ticket that you scratch to reveal a possible prize is called un gratteux in Quebec. The man who’s turning himself in to the police asked for un gratteux à trois piasses, which means that he wants one that’s worth three dollars.

When the clerk announces the price 7,05 $, he says: Ça fait sept et cinq. In the price, the number before et is the amount in dollars, and the number after et is the amount in cents. If the price had been 11,35 $, he would have said: Ça fait onze et trente-cinq. But cashiers often don’t bother to say the ça fait part: Sept et cinq, s’il vous plaît.

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French around town (#392)

Yesterday while I was drinking a coffee in the marché Jean-Talon area of Montreal, a Vietnamese man in his 50s was looking at me from the table beside me where he was sitting.

From the way that he was looking at me, it seemed that he wanted to say something. So I smiled at him. That’s when he said to me: Excusez-moi, vous parlez français? I told him yes, and I was intrigued by what would happen next.

From his bag, he pulled out a sheet of paper and showed it to me…

It was his French homework from his evening class! He asked me if I could help him with it. It turned out to be a fun conversation.

Hey, if he can ask a stranger for help with French, so can you. Don’t be shy. Say bonjour to the person at the table beside you. 🙂


Two short bits of overheard conversation while out yesterday:

A man walking past me said to his friend: Tu vas devoir toffer un peu. The informal verb toffer means “to tough it out.” I wonder what his friend needs to tough out?

Later on, as a woman walked past me with her friend, she said: … et moi, comme une conne, j’ai répondu. With the word conne, she had just called herself an idiot in a very unflattering way. (For a man, it would be con.)

I’m not sure what she responded to… a phone call from the collections agency? an email from an ex? an embarrassing question?

Et moi, comme une conne, j’ai répondu could be a good story starter if you needed some writing ideas…

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Here’s a clip spoken at a level of French called populaire.

— Bonjour!
— J’prendrais ça pis un paquet de Peter Jacksons.
— Est-ce que j’peux voir tes cartes, mon ami?
— J’es ai pas sur moi, y sont dans l’char.
— J’sus désolé.
— Bonjour!
— Faudrait que j’fasse un appel.
— J’sus désolé, monsieur. J’ai pas l’droit de faire faire d’appels.
— C’est parce que j’veux appeler le 9-1-1.
— OK.
— C’est Bernard Turmel. J’sus dans un dépanneur, coin 5e pis Dandurand. J’sus prêt à me rendre.
(Bernard Turmel : toujours en cavale)
— Excusez, monsieur. Vous allez payer? Parce qu’y va falloir payer, hein?

— Tu penses j’te payerais pas?
— Donne-moé don’ un gratteux à trois piasses.
— Combien pour ta gomme?
— C’est dix sous. Je vous demanderai de pas fumer à l’intérieur, s’il vous plaît.
— Ça, c’est pour la gomme.
— Avec les chips, ça fait sept et cinq (7,05 $), monsieur.
— Qu’est-ce tu vas faire si je t’paye pas? Tu vas appeler la police?
— J’vas prendre un paquet de Peter… Jacksons.
— C’est pas toé, ça. Enweille! Va-t-en! Va-t-en!
— Fuck you, gros crisse!
— J’ai gagné! J’ai toutes les osties d’mots! Cinquante mille piasses, mon homme! Passe ça dans ‘a machine. Enweille, estie.
— J’peux pas l’valider tant que ç’a pas été payé. Faque, en tout, ça fait sept et cinq (7,05 $).
— Niaise-moé pas pis passe ça dans l’ostie d’machine! Fuck pas ma luck.
— OK.
— Yesss! … C’est-tu beau, là?
— Vous l’avez pas payé!
— Maudit tabarnak!… Fuck!… Câlisse!… Au voleur!…
— Yesss!

pis, puis
j’es, je les
y sont, ils sont
j’sus (chu), je suis
qu’y, qu’il
moé, moi
j’vas, je vais
toé, toi
toutes, tous
dans ‘a, dans la
faque, (ça) fait que

Read more about the language in this film in entry #393.

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Here’s some random stuff from an episode of the TV series Tout sur moi.

Sébastien tells Macha:

… t’as gâché mon party.
… ya ruined my party.

The â in gâcher is pronounced “aww” in Quebec French.

In another scene, Macha says:

Il me rend folle ce gars-là.
That guy drives me crazy.

Except it sounded like this when she said it: imren fol cte gâ lâ.

Sébastien tells Macha to “have a good one” (i.e., a good day):

Je t’en souhaite une bonne!
Have a good one!

What’s understood here is une bonne journée.

Sébastien has just said something that risks pissing Macha off. She wants to be sure she heard him right, so she asks him to repeat what he said:

Répète-moi ça.
What did you just say to me?

Valérie wants reassurance from Macha that Sébastien isn’t bad in bed:

Dis-moi pas qu’yé plate au lit!
Don’t tell me he’s bad in bed!

Qu’yé is an informal pronunciation of qu’il est.

[All quotes from Tout sur moi, “Éric au poteau,” season 5, episode 5, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 12 October 2011.]

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In this blog post on Urbania, where the author discusses her dislike for bungee jumping, you can learn some good new expressions in French.

sauter en bungee
to bungee jump

lâcher sa job sans plan B
to quit one’s job without a plan B

voler de la gomme au dépanneur
to steal gum at the dépanneur

faire un remake
to do a remake

copuler en cachette dans un endroit public
to copulate secretly in a public place

une expérience qui pourrait mal virer
an experience that could go wrong

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As-tu scoré? (#388)

Macha, Valérie and Éric are the main characters in the TV series Tout sur moi. All three are good friends, and they live in the same apartment building.

A fourth character named Sébastien also lives in their building. He lives right above Macha.

Macha’s sitting in her apartment when Valérie walks through the front door. Macha reveals to Valérie that she spent the night at Sébastien’s place:

J’ai dormi chez Sébastien.
I slept at Sébastien’s place.

Valérie is shocked — she wants to know if Macha slept with Sébastien:

Hein?! As-tu couché avec?
What?! Did you sleep with (him)?

Then Éric appears. Éric is gay, but he’s practising trying to be straight today because he needs to convince someone that he’s not gay.

Valérie announces to Éric that Macha slept over at Sébastien’s place:

Elle a couché chez Sébastien.
She slept at Sébastien’s place.

Éric is shocked too. He rushes over to Macha and says:

Nonnnn! … Pis?? As-tu scoré?
Noooo! … So?? Did you score?

Asking if Macha “scored” with Sébastien is out of character for Éric: He explains that he’s practising talking “straight.” To him, it sounds like the way a straight guy would ask the question!

[All quotes from Tout sur moi, “Éric au poteau,” season 5, episode 5, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 12 October 2011.]

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In issue 31 of the magazine Urbania (this issue was devoted entirely to the theme of babies), Frédéric Guindon writes about his experience at trying to get his wife pregnant.

He gives a piece of advice:

La première étape quand on veut un enfant, c’est de fourrer.
Souvent et bien.

The F word in this quote is the equivalent of the F word in English.

The author goes on to explain why it’s so important that the sex be good:

If it’s not good sex, les petits spermatomachins will know it, and they’ll crash into the wall instead of going into la boîte magique…

[Quote above by Frédéric Guindon, in “Guindon et fils,” Urbania (Montréal), no. 31, p. 45. To crash into the wall = foncer dans le mur. To go into the magic box = rentrer dans la boîte magique.]

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