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Archive for the ‘Entries #701-750’ Category

Here’s a video of Ricardo describing the correct way to melt chocolate. There are some interesting things to note about the language in this video:

  • You’ve a great example of the dzidzu in this clip. At 1:18, Ricardo says the word dur, which you’ll hear very distinctly pronounced as dzur.
  • The expression une espèce de means “a sort of.” For example, le bonobo est une espèce de singe (the bonobo is a sort of ape). But Ricardo doesn’t say une espèce de in this clip; he says un espèce de. The feminine form is considered to be the “correct” one, so it’s best to use that one in writing. But note that you’ll also hear the masculine when people speak spontaneously.
  • The third-person singular form of the verb bouillir is bout. For example, l’eau bout (the water is boiling). If we follow the rules of written French, bout becomes bouille in the subjunctive: on veut pas que ça bouille. But Ricardo says boue instead: on veut pas que ça boue. There’s a helpful article from the OQLF about the verb bouillir. They use the word erreur to describe anything that deviates from the usual rules, but these “errors” are so prevalent that it seems misguided to call them that. Still, you should probably follow the rules in writing. Here’s a complete conjugation of the verb bouillir.

Quand on veut faire fondre du chocolat, le problème qu’on rencontre souvent c’est que plutôt que de le faire fondre, on le fait cuire. Et là, notre chocolat va devenir granuleux, et si on le fait refiger, souvent vous allez voir apparaître en surface un espèce de film un peu blanc.

Donc, pour mettre toutes les chances de notre côté, ce que je vous conseille d’utiliser, c’est un bain-marie. Un bain-marie, c’est une casserole avec un peu d’eau au fond. Faut pas que l’eau touche à la partie supérieure du bain-marie. Ce qui va faire fondre notre chocolat, c’est la vapeur, température égale, et on veut pas non plus que ça boue, ça va être trop chaud. Juste frémir, c’est parfait.

L’autre chose très importante, c’est de hacher le chocolat assez finement. Plus il sera haché, plus il va fondre rapidement.

Faites fondre le chocolat tout doucement, jusqu’à ce qu’il soit fondu à peu près aux trois quarts. Après ça, on ferme le feu; la chaleur résiduelle va faire le reste. Faites attention de jamais échapper une goutte d’eau dans cette préparation-là parce que le chocolat risque de figer. Si jamais ça vous arrive, ben ajoutez encore un peu plus d’eau. Ça va refondre et vous allez avoir quelque chose de soyeux et de lisse.

Par contre, ça redeviendra jamais dur. Mais pour une fondue au chocolat, par exemple, y’a pas de problème. Fondu tout doucement comme ça, vous allez avoir un chocolat parfait pour réaliser n’importe quelle recette. Il faut qu’il soit soyeux, brillant, onctueux.

J’aurais pu aussi faire fondre mon chocolat au micro-ondes, mais c’est délicat. Alors si vous voulez vous essayer, faites-le à puissance «médium», jamais plus de vingt secondes à la fois, remuez parce que le chocolat va fondre sans perdre sa forme. Ça c’est vraiment la façon la plus sécure de le faire — au bain-marie.

faire fondre du chocolat, to melt chocolate
faire cuire du chocolat, to cook chocolate
granuleux, rough, lumpy
faire figer du chocolat, to solidify chocolat
un espèce de film, a sort of film
pour mettre toutes les chances de notre côté, to be on the safe side
un bain-marie, you can read what a bain-marie is on Wikipédia
on veut pas non plus que ça boue, it shouldn’t boil either
frémir, to tremble, shake (just before boiling point)
échapper une goutte d’eau, to drop a drop of water
soyeux, silky
lisse, smooth
onctueux, smooth, creamy
au micro-ondes, in the microwave
s’essayer, to have a go
remuer, to stir
sécure, safe (sécure is borrowed from English; OQLF gives examples)

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Six oranges, check. Five tomatoes, check. One locally grown child, check.

Last week, I went to a supermarket called Maxi.

At Maxi, you have to put une piasse (1 $) into a device on le panier (shopping cart) to release it from the other ones. The panier only accepts one-dollar coins.

When I had finished shopping and returned my panier, two women approached me. One of them asked if she could take my piasse in exchange for four quarters so that she could take a panier.

She asked:

Est-ce que je peux prendre ta piasse pour quatre vingt-cinq sous?
Can I take your loonie [one-dollar coin] for four quarters?

At Maxi, there’s a large sign posted at the spot where customers return their paniers in the parking lot, le stationnement.

I took a photo of the sign so that you could see it and learn French vocabulary from it.

Some of the vocabulary on the sign includes: dépôt, se procurer un panier, retourner le panier, magasiner, passer à la caisse, déverrouiller un panier, monnaie, jeton réutilisable.

The word panier doesn’t just refer to shopping carts with wheels, though.

I found another sign that uses the word panier on it at the entrance to a store called Dollarama.

On this sign, shoppers are told to use a panier (basket) when shopping in the store, and not one of their own sacs réutilisables, reusable bags.

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French-language purists will tell you not to use the words below, but you gotta know ’em if you want to understand the Québécois!

We won’t concern ourselves with the ideas of the purists here. We’ll let them squabble amongst themselves as we get down to the more important work of learning French.

Even though these words are often referred to as anglicismes or as examples of franglais, I don’t see a reason why we can’t just think of them as French words that entered the language by way of English.

That said, it’s important to know that these words are reserved to informal speaking situations. They’re not used in formal speech or writing.

The examples below are not the only way those ideas can be expressed in French. For example, although you’ll hear a tattoo called un tatou in Québec, you’ll also come across the standardised tatouage. In the list below, we’ll just look at ways you might hear things said using a word taken from English.

If you like this list of 31 gotta-knows, there’s also a list of 50 must-knows and a list of 30 full-québécois on OffQc.

If you learn everything in those 3 posts, that’s 111 MB of example sentences uploaded to your brain. And if you learn everything on OffQc, then your brain will definitely need a memory upgrade pretty soon. 🙂

1. Tu m’as fait feeler cheap.
You made me feel bad (about myself).

2. Je badtripe là-dessus.
I’m worried sick about it.

3. J’ai eu un gros down.
I got really down.

4. C’est tough sur le moral.
It’s tough on your morale.

5. C’est weird en masse.
That’s totally weird.

6. Ce médicament me rend stone.
This medication stones me out.

7. C’est tellement cute son accent.
His accent is so cute.

8. Ça m’a donné un gros rush.
It got me all pumped up.

9. Mon boss est venu me voir.
My boss came to see me.

10. À l’heure du lunch, je fais de l’exercice.
I exercise at lunchtime.

11. Ça clique pas entre nous.
We don’t click with each other.

12. C’est pas cher, mais c’est de la scrap.
It’s not expensive, but it’s junk.

13. C’est roffe à regarder.
It’s tough [rough] to watch.

14. Je sais pas dealer avec ça.
I don’t know how to deal with this.

15. J’ai mis une patch sur la partie usée.
I put a patch on the worn-out part.

16. Es-tu game pour un concours?
Are you up for a contest?

17. J’ai rushé sur mes devoirs.
I rushed my homework.

18. Y’a un gros spot blanc sur l’écran.
There’s a big white spot on the screen.

19. Je veux vivre ma vie à full pin.
I want to live my life to the max.

20. Le voisin m’a blasté.
The neighbour chewed me out.

21. J’ai un kick sur mon prof de français.
I’ve got a crush on my French prof.

22. T’as l’air full sérieux sur cette photo.
You look full serious in this photo.

23. Écoute ça, tu vas triper!
Listen to this, you’re gonna totally love it!

24. Viens me voir, j’ai fuck all à faire.
Come see me, I’ve got fuck all to do.

25. J’aime les idées flyées.
I like ideas that are really out there.

26. J’ai pas de cravate pour matcher avec ma chemise.
I don’t have a tie to go with my shirt.

27. Je t’ai forwardé sa réponse.
I forwarded her answer to you.

28. Elle a un gros tatou sur l’épaule.
She’s got a huge tattoo on her shoulder.

29. Ça me fait freaker.
It freaks me out.

30. Merci, on a eu un fun noir!
Thanks, we had an amazing time!

31. J’ai lâché ma job parce que j’étais en burn out.
I quit my job because I was burnt out.

_ _ _

Although I’ve written the examples in this post myself, they were inspired by Maude Schiltz‘s book Ah shit, j’ai pogné le cancer and by Rabii Rammal‘s blog posts on Urbania, both of which I encourage you to check out.

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Full québécois panties!

Congratulations to Danny from Boston who won a copy of the film La grande séduction on DVD!

Wow, you guys are great. The sentences you submitted to participate in the contest are all full québécois!

Here’s a selection of the sentences you submitted, with some minor changes. I’ve also shortened a few sentences for simplicity. Enjoy!

1. Toute la gang est allée chercher de quoi manger au dépanneur. [Jennifer]
The whole gang went to get something to eat at the dépanneur.

2. Mets ta tuque, y fait frette! [Jennifer]
Put your hat on, it’s cold out!

3. Je vais prendre le char et aller magasiner cet après-midi. [Jennifer]
I’m going to take the car and go shopping this afternoon.

4. J’vas te donner une claque si t’arrêtes pas de brailler. [Armand]
I’m gonna give you a slap if you don’t stop crying.

5. Mon crisse de chien jappe sans cesse. [Armand]
My goddamn dog keeps on barking.

6. Sors les vidanges, ça sent le diable! [Ilona]
Take out the garbage, it reeks!

7. T’as-tu eu du fun hier soir? [Ilona]
Did you have fun last night?

8. J’ai écouté un bon film la semaine dernière. [Ilona]
I watched a good movie last week.

9. J’ai fait un peu de magasinage en ligne. [Ilona]
I did some online shopping.

10. Je veux pas péter ta balloune, mais c’est pas mal illégal. [Danny de Boston]
I don’t wanna burst your bubble, but it’s pretty illegal.

11. Chu tellement poche en mathématiques. [Danny de Boston]
I really suck at mathematics.

12. Tabarnak, un autre avantage numérique pour les Bruins! [Janet]
Fuck, another powerplay for the Bruins!

13. T’as-tu passé une bonne fête hier? [Janet]
Did you have a good birthday [or other celebration] yesterday?

14. Mon chum et moi, on s’en va au dépanneur. [Janet]
Me and my boyfriend are going to the dépanneur.

15. Ch’peux-tu ouvrir la télé? [Edgardo]
Can I turn the TV on?

16. T’es ben niaiseux, boludo! [Edgardo]
You’re so stupid, boludo!

Edgardo is a diehard fan of Québécois French from Argentina, where boludo is typically associated with the variety of castellano that he speaks. I’ll let you discover the meaning of boludo on his blog!

17. Ce concours est le fun au boutte! [César]
This contest is fun to the max!

18. Enweille Félix, t’es capable! [César]
Come on Félix, you can do it!

19. Le film que j’ai vu hier, c’était full poche! [César]
The movie I saw yesterday sucked big time!

20. La salle était bondée, y avait full de monde! [David]
The room was full, it was jam-packed with people!

21. Dernièrement, je trippe ben raide sur cette toune-là. [David]
Lately, I’ve been totally crazy about that song.

22. Y’est-tu fin le chum à Marie? [David]
Is Marie’s boyfriend nice?

23. Sérieusement, la politique? J’m’en câlisse comme de l’an 40. [David]
Seriously, politics? I don’t give a flying fuck.

24. Coudon, t’es ben ben magané! [Dejah]
Jeez, you’re in really really rough shape!

25. Toi pis moi, on va ben ensemble. [Dejah]
You and me, we make a good pair.

26. Mes enfants font trop de bruit à matin, j’ai mon voyage! [Dejah]
My kids are making too much noise this morning, I’ve had it!

27. OK, c’est-tu assez? [Robert]
OK, is that enough?

28. Ça donne un méchant buzz! [Robert]
This’ll give you a huge buzz!

29. Peux-tu me donner un lift? Mon char est magané. [Sina]
Can you give me a lift? My car’s all beat up.

30. Wô minute, là! Tu me niaises? [Sina]
Hold on a minute there! Are you kidding me?

Thanks for participating everybody. You’re the reason I love working on OffQc so much. 🙂

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The Québécois will go to the polls on 7 April 2014 to elect new members to the National Assembly of Québec, l’Assemblée nationale du Québec.

Election signs, or pancartes électorales, are up all over town. Below you’ll find what some of them look like.

I’ve been all over Montréal this past week. If a party is missing from this page, it’s because I haven’t seen any signs for that party. It’s not a political statement.

You’ll find a list of political parties in Québec here.

Québec solidaire

Le slogan used by Québec solidaire on this pancarte is: Pour l’amour d’un Québec libre, je vote avec ma tête, or “out of love for a free Québec, I vote with my head.” The slogan evokes both the head and heart.

The female on la pancarte is wearing a hat with a blue fleur-de-lys on it (pronounced fleur-de-lisse), and the male is wearing a blue scarf.

A scarf is called un foulard in French, and a hat is called une tuque.

Supporters of Québec solidaire are known as les solidaires.

Coalition avenir Québec

The slogan used on this pancarte created quite a stir in Québec. The slogan is: On se donne Legault, or “let’s give ourselves Legault.”

Legault is the name of the party chef. His surname sounds like le go. The slogan sounds like on se donne le go when you say it aloud.

Donner le go means “to give the go-ahead.” On se donne le go means “let’s give ourselves the go-ahead.”

The slogan created controversy because some people felt it placed too much importance on the chef rather than on what the party offers.

Other people said the party was opening itself up to ridicule by using a slogan that lends itself to unfortunate wordplays. A design professor said the slogan had a sexual connotation:

[Le slogan est] vraiment très mauvais, on dirait qu’ils ont voulu dire «on se paye les services de Legault». J’ai peut-être l’esprit tordu, mais il y a là une connotation sexuelle!

The slogan is really very bad. It’s as if they wanted to say, “let’s get serviced by Legault.” Maybe I’ve got a sick mind, but it’s got a sexual connotation!

The word contribuables on the pancarte means “taxpayers.”

Supporters of the Coalition avenir Québec are known as les caquistes.

Parti libéral du Québec

On this pancarte for the Parti libéral, we see an image of the party chef against a blue background.

We also see blue in the clothing worn by the chef. He’s wearing a blue shirt and tie.

The choice of so much blue on the pancarte is of course deliberate. Blue is the colour most associated with Québec. Because the Parti libéral is not in favour of Québec separation, they’ve used blue to appeal to québécois sensibilities.

The party slogan this year is: Ensemble, on s’occupe des vraies affaires, which literally means “together, let’s address the real issues” or “together, let’s take care of the real issues.”

Supporters of the Parti libéral are known as les libéraux.

Parti Québécois

No slogan for the Parti Québécois on this pancarte, which allowed the designers to put the party name in large letters. On the other signs above, the party names are all very small.

Last year, the Parti Québécois proposed the introduction of a charter of values, which has been the subject of much debate in Québec.

Most notably, la Charte des valeurs québécoises would prohibit public sector employees from wearing religious symbols. It would also require a person’s face to be uncovered when providing or receiving governmental services. The populace is split on the issue.

If the party chef is female, it’s la chef. A male chef is le chef.

Supporters of the Parti Québécois are known as les péquistes.

Parti vert du Québec

The Parti vert have chosen to put a lot of text on their pancarte. Not very visually appealing, but it spells out some of the key points of la plateforme for those who manage to get close enough to the sign to read it. OffQc did; it says:

Pour la gratuité du transport en commun / For free public transport

Contre la Charte des valeurs québécoises / Against the Québec Charter of Values

Pour la défense et l’expansion du système de santé public / For the protection and expansion of the public healthcare system

They’ve also included a slogan down near the bottom: L’option éco-socialiste pour le Québec, or “Québec’s ecosocialist option.”

Supporters of the Parti vert are known as les Verts.

Option nationale

There aren’t many pancartes around town for the Option nationale, and it took me a while to find one.

The slogan on this pancarte is Réveiller le courage, or “waking up courage.”

Supporters of the Option nationale are called onistes.

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Good ol' fashioned active listening. But what about passive listening? Is there any place for it as a way to improve your listening skills in French?

Good ol’ fashioned active listening. But what about passive listening? Is there any place for it as a way to improve your listening skills in French?

We’ve all got busy schedules, and sometimes it may seem like you don’t have enough hours in the day to do everything you want to do, like squeeze in an hour or two of listening to French.

Other times, you may find the act of listening to French to be pure drudgery and highly frustrating because you understand so little of what’s being said.

It’s only natural to wonder if you can take care of this task all while preserving your sanity by listening passively to the radio or television as you tend to more important matters, like your job or homework.

But is passive listening any good?

Passive listening has a bad reputation because we assume that we must suffer by listening hard to get any benefit. Even I used to believe this. But listening should never be painful or frustrating. If it is for you, keep reading.

You’ll notice that when you do passive listening, it isn’t always 100% passive. You’re 95% tuned out for a few moments, then 95% tuned in for another few moments, then tuned out, tuned in, tuned out, tuned in, and so on.

In those moments when you’re tuned in, you’re doing active listening. In the moments when you’re tuned out, you’ll notice that you still catch a word here and there.

I see nothing wrong with this. In fact, I highly recommend doing passive listening when you’re first starting with a new language. It’s also excellent for those of you who feel terribly put off by listening to an hour’s worth of French and not understanding anything.

Try it. You’ll begin to feel more comfortable with the sound of French entering your ears the more passive listening you do. You can progress to larger amounts of active listening when you want to.

But what if you’re already attempting a lot of active listening and you find yourself getting frustrated because you only understand 1% of the dialogue?

Stop forcing yourself to understand.

It’s a waste of time and energy. When your brain is ready for it, you’ll understand without having to force it. If you don’t understand what you hear, your brain hasn’t figured it out yet. Give it time. Keep listening, and let whatever you don’t understand wash over you.

As you listen, get excited at the 1 word out of 30 that you understood. Just listen for the words you understand. In a few weeks’ time, you’ll be at 2 words out of 30, then 3, then 4, then… oops, back down to 3 again. Keep going long enough, and I promise that one day it will be 30 out of 30.

So, back to passive listening — do I think it’s any good? If you’re tired and can’t concentrate fully; if you’re new to French; if you want to keep the sound of French around you all day; if active listening is still too demanding for you, then yes, it’s just what the doctor ordered!

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I’ve got a backlog of interesting photos from around Montréal on my phone to share with you.

Here are a few that I’ve taken recently, all in the downtown area of Montréal. Now that spring is around the corner, it’ll be easier for someone like me with a crushed foot to get around and take photos.

From foufounes électriques, to ouate de phoque, and asking for a light from a hot guy in a bar, enjoy this little linguistic trip around Montréal.

Foufounes électriques!

Where else but in Montréal will you find a club called the “Electric bumbums”? That’s right — Montréal’s got the Foufounes électriques!

This venue is located at 87, Sainte-Catherine Est, near métro Saint-Laurent.

Click on the image to see a larger version of the front entrance to les Foufs. Right above the grey chariot in the roo, we see the word Foufounes; to the right, in smaller letters, we see électriques.

To be precise, the feminine noun foufounes used in Québécois French means “(bum) cheeks,” or les fesses. But to preserve the playful feel of the venue’s name, I think it translates better as “electric bumbums.”

One of the founders of the venue explained in The Guardian how the name was chosen: “Ass, girls and boys have one, so it’s not really sexual, and electric sounds dancy, so that’s how the name came about.”

Ouate de phoque! (… for young girls)

Maybe you’ll remember the image of a fun t-shirt in entry #687, sent in by Philip, with ouate de phoque printed on it. This is a playful French spelling of the expression “what the fuck.”

La ouate is an absorbent cotton puff or ball, like the ones that women use to apply or remove make-up. Un phoque is a seal. So in addition to the comical spelling ouate de phoque, we’ve also got wordplay: absorbent seal puffs.

There’s even a series of books for young girls in Québec called Ouate de phoque! I took a photo of the covers of two books in the series. Obviously, the vulgarity of the English expression is lost entirely in the playful French usage ouate de phoque.

I don’t think you’ll be seeing a series of books in English for young teenage girls called “What the fuck!” any time soon.

Québécois francophones do in fact use the swear word fuck, which is sometimes also spelled phonetically in French as foque. When fuck is used in French, it feels much less vulgar than in English.

One summer, I worked in Ontario alongside a québécois francophone. This was 20 years ago (ouch). At the time, my friend was still learning English. He would often say fuck around the office. I had to tell him this was very offensive to anglophone ears, and that people in the office wouldn’t appreciate it. He had no idea.

You got a light?

I spotted this tree with paper “leaves” on it at Place-des-Arts.

The leaves are in fact bits of paper with a sentence starter on it: Je me souviens…

People then fill in the rest with whatever it is they remember and want to share. On one of the leaves (see image below), someone wrote:

Je me souviens… du jour où je suis allée demander du feu au plus beau gars du bar! I remember… the day I went up to the most handsome guy at the bar and asked him for a light!

As-tu du feu? Of course, now that smoking has been banned pretty much everywhere, this classic conversation starter has fallen into disuse!

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