Archive for the ‘Entries #551-600’ Category


Yes! Entry #600!

As #600 approached, I got curious as to the most googled québécois words and phrases that led people to OffQc since it began in December 2010… and there they are in the image above!

You can click on it to make it bigger.

Do you know them all?

Thanks everybody for continuing to read OffQc. It’s a privilege to have your attention.

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Yesterday’s entry Everything you ever wanted to know about the québécois use of ÉCOEURANT contained a lot of info, and words with double meanings can be intimidating.

Here’s a simplified version:

If the adjective écoeurant is said in a negative tone (like yuck), it means “disgusting.”

If the adjective écoeurant is said in a positive tone (like wow), it means “awesome.”

The noun un écoeurant is an insult meaning “bastard.”

That’s it!

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Before reading, you may like to read a simplified explanation of what écoeurant means, and then come back to this entry for all the details. Otherwise, dive in!

Something that’s écoeurant in French can be described as disgusting in English, such as une odeur écoeurante.

The use of écoeurant in the sense of disgusting is understood by francophones everywhere. But, in Québec, écoeurant can take on some additional meanings.

One of the additional meanings given to the adjective écoeurant is in fact a very positive one, and has nothing to do with being disgusting.

Ils ont donné un show écoeurant! (Y’ont donné un show écoeurant!)
They put on an awesome show!

J’ai une idée écoeurante!
I’ve got an amazing idea!

Comment ç’a été? (How was it?)
Super écoeurant! (Super amazing!)

Wow! C’est écoeurant ça!
Wow! That’s awesome!

You may also come across the expression en écoeurant, like in this example from a blog comment on La Presse:

L’appartement sent bon en écoeurant […].
The apartment smells amazingly good.

When écoeurant is used in a positive sense, you’ll know it because the speaker’s enthusiasm conveys it.

Be careful, though: referring to a person with the noun form of écoeurant sends us back into the negative end of this word’s meanings.

Lui, c’t’un écoeurant!
He’s such a bastard!

Va chier, mon écoeurant!
Fuck off, you bastard!

In an article from Le Devoir, we find a good example of the insult used in the political arena:

« Vous êtes une bande d’écœurants », crie le ministre Antoine Rivard.
“You’re a bunch of bastards,” yelled minister Antoine Rivard.

In an example on OffQc from 2010, Claude from the television show La Galère refers to her boyfriend as an écoeurant:

Oh l’écoeurant! […] le salaud d’écoeurant!
Oh that bastard! That dirty bastard!

An amusing example from Les chroniques de Karîse Dondelle, humour domestique, p.11, by Caroline Côté:

Deux minutes plus tard, [mon mari] renverse sa bière. De la faute à qui? Moi. Si j’avais oublié de l’apporter aussi, il ne l’aurait pas renversée. Mais là, n’allez pas croire que mon mari c’est un écœurant, là. Wow! Il ne dit pas que c’est toujours ma faute, non, non, des fois il admet que c’est lui. Par exemple, quand on peinture la galerie pis tout le monde trouve ça beau, il dit que c’est lui.

Two minutes later, [my husband] spills his beer. And whose fault is that? Mine. If I hadn’t remembered to bring that to him either, he wouldn’t have spilled it. But don’t go thinking my husband’s a bastard just because of that. Wow! He doesn’t say that it’s always my fault, no, no, sometimes he admits that it’s his. For example, when we paint the veranda and everybody thinks it looks nice, he takes the blame.

That quote also contains an example of used at the end of a statement:

Mais là, n’allez pas croire que mon mari c’est un écœurant, là.

To learn more about this usage of là, take a look at:
Everything you ever wanted to know about the québécois use of LÀ

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Tanné d'être gelé?

This ad seen in métro Atwater asks:

Tanné d’être gelé?
Had it with being stoned?

The ad is aimed at people with drug, alcohol and gambling addictions.

être tanné de
to be fed up with

stoned, drugged

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In entry #595, I posted a video where comedian Jean-François Mercier pokes fun at smokers by professing his love for his anti-nicotine attack dog Roxie.

Let’s look at two parts of that video, where Mercier uses language you might find difficult. I’ve reposted the video below for convenience, but you can return to the original entry for the transcription and translation into English.

1. Mercier says:
[…] tu comprends pas pourquoi qu’y’a des gens qui fument.

This means: tu ne comprends pas pourquoi il y a des gens qui fument.

Instead of il y a, Mercier pronounces this informally as y’a. This occurs very frequently in spoken French.

He also stuck in que after pourquoi. You don’t need to adopt this yourself, just recognise that sometimes you’ll hear it.

He also left out ne in his sentence, using only pas to negate. This happens very frequently in spoken French.

2. Mercier says:
[…] à cause que t’es-t-un chien.

This means: parce que tu es un chien.

À cause que means the same thing as parce que. The use of à cause que has fallen out of use elsewhere in the francophonie but you can still hear it in spoken French in Québec. It’s not used in formal language. On the other hand, parce que can be heard at all levels of language, and Mercier does in fact also say parce que in the video.

Rather than tu es, Mercier says t’es. This occurs very frequently in spoken French. You’ll also hear him say t’aurais instead of tu aurais, t’étais instead of tu étais, and t’as instead of tu as.

Mercier also slipped in a -t- liaison between es and un (t’es-t-un chien). You don’t need to adopt this feature, just recognise it.

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Roxie, je le sais que tu comprends pas pourquoi qu’y’a (qu’il y a) des gens qui fument. J’ai jamais fumé, pis t’as jamais fumé non plus. Pis ça tombe bien parce que t’aurais pas été capable de botcher, à cause que t’es[-t-]un chien.

Tu le sais, ma belle petite Roxie, la cigarette, c’est dangereux même pour toi. C’est pour ça que je t’ai dressée à attaquer les fumeurs. Je me rappelle le premier fumeur que t’as attaqué.

C’était tellement drôle. Je me souviens, toi t’étais partie à courir vite, vite, vite. Pis lui, ben, il pouvait pas courir à cause que c’est un fumeur. Pis pendant que t’étais en train de planter tes crocs dans sa main toute jaunie, moi, j’étais fier de toi.

Je veux que tu mordes dans la vie, même si pour ça, Roxie, il faut que tu mordes dans des gens qui sentent la vieille chambre d’hôtel. Je t’aime, Roxie.

Un gars le soir est fier de ne pas s’associer au message culpabilisant pour un avenir sans fumée.

Un gars le soir, tous les jours de la semaine, 22 h.

In English:

Roxie, I know you don’t understand why there are people who smoke. I’ve never smoked, and you’ve never smoked either. Which is a good thing because you’d have never been able to put your cigarette out, ‘cos you’re a dog.

You know, my sweet little Roxie, smoking is dangerous, even for you. That’s why I trained you to attack smokers. I remember the first smoker you attacked.

It was so funny. I remember you took off running fast, fast, fast. And he, well, he couldn’t run ‘cos he’s a smoker. And while you were busy digging your fangs into his yellow-stained hand, me, I was proud of you.

I want you to take a bite out of life, Roxie, even if it means that you have to bite people who smell like old hotel rooms. I love you, Roxie.

Un gars le soir is proud to not be associated with this guilt-inducing message for a smoke-free future.

Un gars le soir, every weekday, 22 h.

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You’ll find lots of examples on OffQc of how is used in Quebec French. In this entry, I’ll pull together the most important ones that you want to know.

is a little word, but the Québécois give it a good workout. You won’t go long without hearing it.

One way you’ll hear used is in the sense of “that” when placed after a noun.

à ce moment-là
at that moment

C’est quoi c’t’affaire-là?
What’s that thing?

You’ll also hear used in the sense of “there.”

Mets-toi là.
Go there, go stand there, etc.

là-bas / là-haut
down there / up there

With a look of surprise, maybe you’ll hear someone exclaim:

Mais qu’est-ce tu fais là?! (Mais quesse tu fais là?!)
What the heck are you up to (there)?!

In spoken French, will frequently be tacked onto the end of a sentence. It can sometimes be translated with “oh” in English.

Arrête, là!
Stop it, will you! Oh, stop it!

Ben, là!
Oh, come on!

Tu vas capoter, là!
You’re totally gonna love it!

J’allais oublier, là…
Oh, I almost forgot…

Je sais pas, là.
I dunno. Oh, I dunno.

Ça va faire, là!
OK, that’s enough! Cut it out!

Sometimes you’ll hear used to express an opinion with moi là.

Moi là, j’m’en câlice!
Personally, I don’t give a fuck!

You’ll also hear take on the meaning of “now” (with the present tense) or “then” (with the past tense).

Ça finit LÀ!
End it now! This is where it ends!

Et là, on ajoute le beurre.
And now we add the butter.

Là, tu parles!
Now you’re talkin’!

Pis là, j’ai perdu mes clés.
And then I lost my keys.

If you hear repeated with the first more heavily stressed, it can take on a more urgent meaning, like “right away.”

Viens-t’en là là! (Come right away!)
Là là? (What, right now?)
LÀ là! (Yeah, right NOW!)

Or consider this example, where we can imagine a speaker who has just lost his temper:

OK, là là, j’suis tanné! (OK, là là, chui/chu tanné!)
OK, so now I’m fed up!

But not all là là‘s are created equal. Just because you hear two ‘s together, it doesn’t automatically mean “right away” in all cases:

Mets-toi là, là.
(Just) go there; (just) go stand there, etc.

The first means “there,” and the second one is an example of added to the end of a sentence.

That’s it, là! I suggest that you listen to a lot of spoken French so that you can hear the rhythm of sentences using là, tone of voice, and the pronunciation of in Québec.

Related reading:
Everything you ever wanted to know about the québécois verb POGNER
Everything you ever wanted to know about the québécois verb NIAISER
Everything you ever wanted to know about the québécois adjective NIAISEUX

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