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Archive for the ‘Entries #701-750’ Category

“Aye, the roos are always mardy after winter. Unless thou restest in Montréal, bang sure. Then they’re mardy all year long. Ha ha ha!”

Imagine a parallel universe where the English language spoken in Canada had been influenced by Québécois French, and where it also conserved certain linguistic features that had fallen out of use in other English-speaking parts of the world.

What might that variety of English sound like?

Rupert and Samantha

  • Rupert, I’m home!
  • I’m in the cuisine, Samantha!
  • Ah, there thou art. Crucifix! I pawnied a hesty of a hen’s nest out there on the roo. I almost scrapped the chariot!
  • Aye, the roos are always mardy after winter. Unless thou restest in Montréal, bang sure. Then they’re mardy all year long. Ha ha ha!
  • May’s on! Verily thou art funny, Rupert. But ’tis donbe true — those Montréal roos are full purrent! At least here in Toronto the roos are less posh.
  • A-a-a-a-chhhoom!
  • Oh tabernacle, Rupert! Tell me not thou hast another cold!
  • Aye, some hesty of a gross cave externated on me when I was out magazining in the foremiddy.
  • Art thou nezzing me? Now I’m tanned, I am. Every time thou pawniest a cold, thou hast such misery getting over it. Oh hesty, Rupert!

_ _ _

the cuisine: la cuisine (the kitchen)
thou art: tu es (you are)
crucifix!: crucifix! (goddammit!)
to pawnie a hen’s nest: pogner un nid-de-poule (to hit a pothole)
a hesty of a hen’s nest: un esti de nid-de-poule (a goddamn pothole)
the roo: la rue (the street)
to scrap the chariot: scraper le char (to wreck the car)
aye: oui (yes)
mardy: de la marde (shitty)
to rest in Montréal: rester à Montréal (to live in Montréal)
bang sure: bien sûr (of course)
May’s on!: mets-en! (you can say that again!)
verily: vraiment (truly)
’tis donbe true: c’est donc ben vrai (it’s just so true)
purrent: épeurant (scary)
posh: poche (crappy)
tabernacle!: tabarnak! (fuck!)
tell me not: dis-moi pas (don’t tell me)
thou hast: tu as (you have)
a gross cave: un gros cave (a big idiot)
a hesty of a gross cave: un esti de gros cave (a goddamn big idiot)
to externate: éternuer (to sneeze)
to magazine: magasiner (to shop)
in the foremiddy: dans l’avant-midi (in the [late] morning)
to nezz: niaiser (to kid)
tanned: tanné (fed up)
to pawnie a cold: pogner un rhume (to catch a cold)
thou hast misery: tu as de la misère (you have trouble)
hesty!: esti! (goddammit!)

Does this maybe remind you of what Québécois French might sound like to European francophones?

Obviously I’m nezzin’, and the dialogue above is highly exaggerated. But what’s interesting is that it still feels like English — a very different variety of English, but still English.

It’s no secret that Québécois French has borrowed words from English and often transformed them into something unique. It also conserves French usages that francophones abroad have stopped using.

A regular, spontaneous dialogue of the same length in Québécois French wouldn’t sound as exaggerated as the one above.

That said, Québécois French really is different to other varieties abroad — but it’s still French nonetheless, hesty!

_ _ _

Read part 2 of Rupert and Samantha

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The winner of the contest is Danny from Boston! Congratulations, and a big thank you to everybody who participated. Be sure to take a look at the sentences you submitted.

I’ve got one copy of La grande séduction on DVD to give away to an OffQc fan. Would you like to win it?

When I find money on the ground, like vingt piasses (20 $), I like to spend it on someone else. I didn’t find money this time, but I did find a shrink-wrapped previously-viewed copy of La grande séduction on sale for only a few dollars. I’d like to give it away to one of you.

La grande séduction is a comedy set in a village in Québec. It’s in the “right” kind of French (i.e., from Québec). There are both French and English subtitles on the DVD. Perfect!

It’s a zone 1 DVD.

How to participate in the contest

  • In the comments section below, invent 5 sentences using a word unique (or mostly unique) to Québécois French. Have fun and be creative! Mistakes are ok.
  • Enter your first name (or nickname) and your email address in the “name” and “email” fields. Don’t put your email address in the body of the comment. You don’t need to include your last name or website address, but you can if you like. If you don’t include your email address, your submission won’t count because I can’t contact you. I’m the only person who’ll see your email address, and I won’t share it with anybody else. If you’re leaving your comment through your WordPress account, make sure your email address will be visible to me.
  • Post your 5 sentences before 17 March 2014 at 12:00 (in Montréal). I will then close the comments, collect the names and email addresses, put them in a bag, and pull one out at random. If I pull out your name and email address, you win!
  • I will contact the winner by email. Please respond to my email within 48 hours with your full name and mailing address. If I don’t receive a response within 48 hours, I’ll choose a new winner.
  • Please participate only once. I have little monkeys hiding inside OffQc that know how many times someone has participated. 😉

Good luck!

Remember:
— Enter your first name.
— Enter your email address.
— Post your 5 sentences.
— Participate only once.
— Contest ends 17 March 2014 at 12:00.

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Focus on what you have control over, like speaking and listening skills. Don’t worry about your accent because it’s not a big deal. [Image courtesy of Snob Affair]

Are you disappointed by bilingual francophones who switch to English on you when you speak French? There is a solution.

It will require work of you and it won’t come overnight, but it’s within your control and it’s achievable.

Last week in Montréal, I overheard two women, one francophone and one anglophone, speaking to each other in French. The two women didn’t know one another. The francophone asked the anglophone for directions, and they spoke together for almost two minutes.

I listened in on their conversation. I’ve developed a very bad habit of listening in on other people’s conversations since I started this blog.

What struck me about the conversation was that the anglophone had an English accent so thick that you could have sliced it with a knife — and yet, the francophone did not switch to English on her. They spoke in French only.

The anglophone, although she had a very heavy accent, seemed reasonably comfortable speaking spontaneously in French. Admittedly, I don’t know if the francophone was bilingual.

I know another woman, also anglophone, who has a very strong accent when speaking French. I don’t know her very well, but I can recall four times recently where she spoke in French with a bilingual francophone who did not switch to English on her.

She may speak with a strong English accent, but she’s able to speak French spontaneously, and I’ve never noted any listening comprehension problems.

I have observed other instances of this with different anglophones in Montréal. Although they had an obvious English accent — sometimes heavy, sometimes not — there was no language switch from French to English.

Yes, I know this is all anecdotal evidence. That’s because: OffQc.

One of the most frequent complaints I hear from anglophone learners of French is that bilingual francophones always switch to English as soon as the English accent is detected.

I too used to believe that the language switch was caused by a heavy English accent. I don’t believe this anymore.

I believe now that what causes the language switch is the impression that you’re struggling to find your words (speaking problem), or that you don’t understand what’s being said (listening problem).

This is great news for you.

It means that you can chill out about your accent, which is pretty much impossible to eliminate entirely for us adult language learners, and focus on the stuff that you have much more control over — speaking and listening.

How do you improve your speaking and listening?

I’ll let you in on a secret.

The best way to improve your speaking and listening is by… speaking and listening. 🙂

You’ll become great at whatever you spend large amounts of time doing. Spend your time memorising verb conjugations, and you’ll become great at memorising verb conjugations. Spend your time speaking and listening instead, and you’ll become great at speaking and listening.

As adults, sometimes we think that we’re not ready to speak with others in our new language because we still have trouble recalling words. We fear that we speak too slowly — and it may even be true. However, no amount of independent preparation will ever cure this entirely.

The only way to become a faster speaker with the ability to recall words immediately is through speaking with others.

Until you begin putting yourself in situations where you’re obligated to speak spontaneously in French, you’ll always be a slow speaker searching for your words. And those bilingual francophones will switch to English on you.

The same goes for listening. I don’t remember who said this, but it’s not the native speakers who speak too fast; it’s you the learner who listens too slowly.

Until you begin putting yourself in situations where you’re listening to large amounts of spoken French, you’ll always be a slow listener with a look of bewilderment on your face. And those bilingual francophones will switch to English on you.

So, the best way to get those bilinguals to stop switching to English is to improve your speaking and listening by doing lots of speaking and listening.

You can worry about perfecting your accent later. Or never.

And this is great news because speaking and listening are things you can start improving right now. Yes, you’ve got work ahead of you, but it’s your call.

_ _ _

In the meantime, here are a couple essential phrases to learn for the times when you’re confronted with the language switch:

Nooon! Continue de me parler en français! L’accent québécois, je trouve ça tellement hot! Noooo! Keep speaking to me in French! I think the québécois accent is so hot!

Tu vas devoir me parler en français, tsé. Sinon, tu risques de pogner un ticket. You’re gonna have to speak to me in French, you know. Otherwise, you might get a ticket.

Who knows, maybe you’ll even hope for the language switch just to try those out on someone. 😉

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Below are 50 example sentences every self-respecting fan of Québécois French must know! 😉

These sentences were inspired by vocabulary in recent posts on OffQc, so here’s your chance to review and recycle.

You can click on the example sentences to go to the posts where the vocabulary first appeared. In the original posts, there are often usage and pronunciation notes.

The sentences below are examples of colloquial French that you can hear used in regular, everyday language situations in Québec. Most of them are unique to the French of Québec (and other French-speaking parts of Canada), but there are also a few in there that you might hear in other francophone regions abroad.

Print the sentences out, post them on your walls, enter them into a flash card app on your smartphone, whatever you like. Then go find a francophone to speak with and unleash all your québécoiseries on them!

1. Ça fait un boutte que j’apprends le français québécois.
I’ve been learning Québécois French for a while.

2. Mes amies m’ont appelée pour aller dans un 5 à 7.
My girlfriends called me to go to a 5 à 7 [after-work social gathering].

3. Parle moins fort, chu lendemain de veille!
Don’t talk so loud, I’ve got a hangover!

4. Tu me niaises-tu?
You kidding me?

5. J’ai mangé en masse cette semaine!
I ate so much food this week!

6. Je veux pas péter ta balloune, mais tu vas sûrement pas gagner.
Hate to burst your bubble, but you’re definitely not gonna win.

7. Tu vas devoir toffer un peu.
You’re going to have to tough it out for a bit.

8. Chu pressé!
I’m in a rush!

9. Ça te tente-tu?
Do you want to?

10. Tu m’énerves! T’arrêtes pas de chiâler!
You’re so annoying! You never stop complaining!

11. J’ai pogné un nid-de-poule sur la route.
I hit a pothole in the road.

12. J’ai échappé mon portefeuille.
I dropped my wallet.

13. C’est ben plate ici!
It’s so boring here!

14. T’as pogné un ticket? Ah, c’est plate ça!
You got a ticket? Ah, that sucks!

15. Je m’ennuie de Montréal.
I miss Montréal.

16. T’as quel âge, toi?
How old are you?

17. Allô? Allô? Tu m’entends-tu?
Hello? Hello? Can you hear me?

18. Y’a aucun problème.
There’s no problem.

19. C’est tout un tough, lui!
He’s a real tough guy!

20. As-tu une blonde?
Have you got a girlfriend?

21. Y arrête pas de péter de la broue!
He won’t stop bragging!

22. J’ai pété une coche!
I went ballistic! I lost it!

23. T’es ben niaiseux!
You’re so stupid!

24. J’ai écouté un film hier soir.
I watched a movie last night.

25. Je trouve ça cheap de ta part.
I think that’s pretty low of you.

26. Y’a pas de quoi se péter les bretelles!
That’s nothing to brag about!

27. J’ai eu du fun.
I had fun.

28. J’ai lâché ma job.
I quit my job.

29. J’ai embarqué dans l’auto.
I got in the car.

30. J’ai débarqué de l’auto.
I got out of the car.

31. C’est pas grave, c’est juste une joke!
It’s no big deal, it’s just a joke!

32. Je pourrais me garrocher devant un autobus pour lui.
I could throw myself in front of a bus for him.

33. J’aime pas ça pantoute!
I don’t like that one bit!

34. Ça va faire la job!
That’ll do the trick!

35. Je veux une toast et un café.
I want a piece of toast and a coffee.

36. Je dois magasiner un nouveau lit.
I have to shop around for a new bed.

37. Veux-tu un lift?
Do you want a lift?

38. C’est pas juste une jobine, c’est une carrière.
It’s not just any old job, it’s a career.

39. C’est pas vrai que t’es poche en français.
It’s not true that you suck at French.

40. Chu tanné de ça.
I’m fed up with it.

41. J’ai pogné une débarque sur la glace.
I fell on the ice.

42. T’as-tu vingt-cinq cennes?
Have you got twenty-five cents?

43. Ça manque de punch.
It’s got no punch to it.

44. Tu cherches toujours la chicane.
You’re always looking to pick a fight.

45. Arrête de niaiser!
Stop joking around!

46. As-tu sorti les vidanges?
Have you taken the garbage out?

47. J’ai oublié de barrer la porte.
I forgot to lock the door.

48. Je viens d’avoir un flash!
I’ve just had a great idea!

49. Un peu de change, monsieur?
Spare any change, sir?

50. Es-tu correct?
Are you okay?

_ _ _

Image credit: Wordans

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If what you’re doing isn’t working, change what you’re doing.

You’re putting in the time.

You study French vocabulary. You review verb conjugations. You work on improving your pronunciation.

You watch TV in French, doing your best to figure out what those moving mouths on the screen are saying.

You listen to the radio in French, trying to unscramble the incomprehensible gibberish the speakers are vomiting all over your ears.

You’re doing everything you thought you were supposed to be doing.

And yet, you feel stuck. You don’t feel like you’re making progress. You don’t understand what people are saying.

You always feel like you’re on the outside looking in.

And you’re frustrated.

Hell, maybe you’re even really pissed off. Pissed off to discover that all the work you’re doing to learn French isn’t paying off.

And now you’re convinced that you must absolutely suck at French. You practically believe that if you looked up the French word for suck in the dictionary, you’d find a dumb-ass picture of you as the definition.

But you don’t even remember how to say suck in French, which only serves to further convince you of just how much you suck.

Except it’s not true.

You don’t suck at French. C’est pas vrai que t’es poche en français.

But you are indeed stuck. Big time. And to get unstuck, you’ll need to tweak the way you’re doing things.

Um, hold on. That’s not quite right. No, you don’t need to tweak anything to get unstuck.

What you need is a major fucking overhaul.

Stop studying French so much and start living it instead. Find people to speak in French with on a regular basis. Even one person will do. More is better, but start with one.

This is without doubt the one thing that you must absolutely not neglect. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing everything else under the sun to learn French.

If you’ve got nobody to speak French with, you’re doing it wrong.

Ouch.

That’s tough to hear, isn’t it?

But deep down, you already knew it, even if you don’t like to admit it.

Let’s be honest. Expecting to feel at home in French without communicating with others is like watching an atheist pray to God for a miracle. It just doesn’t make sense.

If you’re just dabbling in French out of interest, then maybe none of this matters. But if what you want or need is to feel at home in French, then finding someone to speak with on a regular basis is the first issue you must resolve. This is a priority. For as long as it goes unresolved, you will always feel like an outsider in French.

What about studying? Isn’t that important too?

Yes, of course, you can study too. But it shouldn’t make up the majority of what you do.

If you get a thrill out of studying verb charts, then do it. But it won’t make you feel more at home in French. People make you feel at home in French. Studying verb charts mostly just makes you good at studying verb charts.

Sure, studying has some benefits. It can help you to make sense of what you hear. It can provide you with the vocabulary you want to know. Listening to the radio and watching TV in French can improve your listening comprehension. But this is mostly on the condition that you’re already spending lots of time speaking with people in French.

Studying isn’t necessarily bad. After all, this is entry #739 on OffQc. But many of us suffer from a tendency to go way overboard on the studying side, and way underboard on the speaking-with-humans side.

Maybe you’ve read OffQc today. Maybe you’ve learned a new word, like poche. Maybe you’ve even reviewed how to conjugate a tricky verb. You’ve probably studied enough today.

But you’re not finished with French.

Put your books away, or your laptop, or your smartphone, and figure out what you’re going to do to begin forming a bond with someone who speaks French.

Don’t put it off any longer.

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Maude Schiltz was diagnosed with cancer in both breasts at age 39. After her diagnosis, she began sending emails to her friends to keep them updated on her health. Her book Ah shit, j’ai pogné le cancer is a collection of the emails she sent.

Maude’s book is peppered with a lot of colloquial French. In this post, let’s take a look at how she uses the words tough (toffe) and toffer, which you need to understand. We’ll also look at some examples taken from other sources.

In an email, Maude describes the different surgical possibilties that exist to treat her breast cancer. She mentions which surgical procedure she prefers, but she also describes the negative aspects of the procedure, such as excessive scarring, as being tough on a woman’s femininity. She writes: C’est tough sur la féminité! (That’s tough on a woman’s femininity!)

Maude put the word tough in italics. This is because she recognises the word as being an informal borrowing from English. Nevertheless, tough has been absorbed into the French vocabulary of Québec. Unlike its English equivalent, however, tough is felt to be an informal usage only in French.

When francophones say tough, the gh is pronounced like an f, just like its English equivalent. To use a more phonetic spelling, we can write the word as toffe. In texts written informally, you may come across the spellings tough, toffe, tof.

This isn’t the first time tough has shown up on OffQc. In entry #322, we saw tough used as a noun: C’est un tough, lui. Un vrai tough! (He’s a tough guy. A real tough guy!)

In that same entry, we saw how a teacher from the television show 30 vies corrected her student when he used the word tough to describe a tough-acting character he had invented for a story. She told him he should say dur instead of tough to avoid using an anglicism. He disagreed with his teacher. According to him: Dur, c’est moins tough que tough!

Tough (or toffe) can also be transformed into a verb in Québec: toffer. When you hear the Québecois use the verb toffer, they’re talking about toughing something out.

Maude used the verb toffer in her book. She describes a medical procedure that she’d like to try during chemotherapy, which involves freezing the head with a cold cap, and freezing the hands and feet with cold gloves and slippers. She explains that doing this may help to prevent the loss of hair, fingernails and toenails.

She says that the procedure is very difficult to withstand, however. It causes severe headaches and shivering. She questions whether or not she’d be able to tough it out. She writes: Est-ce que j’arriverai à « toffer » un casque, des chaussettes et des gants glacés? (Will I be able to tough it out wearing a cold cap, slippers and gloves?)

This time, Maude use guillemets («») around toffer, again because she recognises that this verb derives from an English word, even if it’s been absorbed into French and given a French spelling.

This isn’t the first time toffer has shown up on OffQc either. In entry #392, we’ve got the following example of toffer that I overheard in Montréal on the métro: Tu vas devoir toffer un peu. (You’re gonna have to tough it out a bit.)

_ _ _

Here are this entry’s examples again in list form and with references:

1. C’est tough sur la féminité!
That’s tough on a woman’s femininity!

[Maude Schiltz, Ah shit, j’ai pogné le cancer, Éditions de Mortagne, Boucherville, 2013, p.20.]

2. C’est un tough, lui. Un vrai tough!
He’s a tough guy. A real tough guy!

[First used in entry #322.]

3. Dur, c’est moins tough que tough!
Dur is less tough than tough!

[30 vies, season 2, episode 37, Radio-Canada, Montréal, 14 November 2011. First used in entry #322.]

4. Est-ce que j’arriverai à « toffer » un casque, des chaussettes et des gants glacés?
Will I be able to tough it out wearing a cold cap, slippers and gloves?

[Maude Schiltz, Ah shit, j’ai pogné le cancer, Éditions de Mortagne, Boucherville, 2013, p.21.]

5. Tu vas devoir toffer un peu.
You’re gonna have to tough it out a bit.

[Overheard in Montréal in January 2012. First used in entry #392.]

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In an Urbania blog post called Maudite boisson, Marie Darsigny writes about the challenge of breaking an alcohol addiction and staying sober.

In particular, she writes about the challenge of doing this at social events where alcohol is served. In her blog post, she talks about the time she was at a bar for a friend’s birthday party.

I’ve pulled 11 examples of French from her blog post for you to learn.

1. un 5 à 7 poche
2. ça fait un boutte
3. la FOMO ne me fait pu rien
4. mes lendemains de veille
5. on a en masse parlé de ça
6. ça lui tentait pas
7. un shooter sur le comptoir
8. échapper son verre
9. les conversations sont plates
10. écouter House of Cards
11. je me sens cheap

_ _ _

1. un 5 à 7 poche

= a lame 5 à 7 [after-work social gathering]

Marie begins her blog post with an open question to other readers who may also be taking a 28-day no-alcohol challenge called le défi 28 jours:

Hey, pis, votre défi 28 jours sans alcool, ça se passe bien? Avez-vous succombé et bu une p’tite goutte de bière dans un 5 à 7 poche pour chasser l’ennui avec Kevin Parent?

Hey, so, your 28-day challenge without alcohol, how’s it going? Have you given in yet and had a beer to drink while listening to Kevin Parent just to chase away the boredom at some lame 5 à 7?

Le défi 28 jours is an initiative that occurs in February to help encourage alcoholics to break their drinking addiction — 28 days, no drinking.

Un 5 à 7 is an after-work social gathering where people go for a drink. The numbers in the term refer to the time: from 5 to 7 o’clock. Tourisme Montréal writes about the 5 à 7 tradition here.

If the 5 à 7 is poche like the way Marie said it in her blog post, it’s a lame one. The adjective poche is often used to describe something as being no good, lame, etc. It’s an informal usage.

_ _ _

2. ça fait un boutte

= it’s been a while

Marie writes that she craves alcohol less than before, now that some time has passed since she stopped drinking:

Moi, ça fait un boutte que j’ai moins envie de boire qu’avant, que je suis plus relax.

It’s been a while that I’ve had less of a desire to drink than before, and that I’ve been more relaxed.

Boutte is an informal pronunciation of bout that you’ll hear people use in Québec. Here, you can understand un boutte to mean “a bit (of time).”

Ça fait un boutte que j’y pense.
I’ve been thinking about it for a while.

Ça fait un boutte que j’apprends le français québécois.
I’ve been learning Québécois French for a while.

_ _ _

3. la FOMO ne me fait pu rien

= FOMO doesn’t bother me anymore

When you want to avoid drinking, you may find yourself obligated to turn down offers of going out with friends. Marie writes that she’s able to turn down these offers with greater ease now:

Je dis non à des sorties et je peux même affirmer que la FOMO, fear of missing out, ne me fait pu rien pentoute.

I don’t go out and I can even say that I’m not at all bothered any more by FOMO, the fear of missing out.

Last year, a reader of OffQc called Josh asked if there was a French term for FOMO (the fear of missing out). I don’t think there is one. FOMO can be described literally as la peur de manquer quelque chose in French. If you want to read more examples of FOMO in French, check the comments section of entry #539.

Pu is an informal pronunciation of plus. Pentoute (more often spelled as pantoute) means “(not) at all.”

La FOMO ne me fait pu rien pantoute.
[La FOMO ne me fait plus rien du tout.]
FOMO doesn’t bother me at all anymore.

_ _ _

4. mes lendemains de veille

= my hangovers

Marie writes that she began caring less about FOMO once her hangovers started becoming too much to handle:

Ça date peut-être de quand mes lendemains de veille ont commencé à durer plus que 24h.

[Not being bothered by FOMO anymore] maybe dates back to the time that my hangovers began lasting more than 24 hours.

If we translate literally lendemain de veille, we get “the day after the night before.” Le lendemain is the day after, and la veille is the night before. And the day after getting drunk the night before, you feel pretty crappy. So, this expression is used to refer to a hangover, or suffering the lingering effects of drunkenness the next day.

The expression être lendemain de veille means ”to have a hangover.”

Parle moins fort, chu lendemain de veille!
Don’t talk so loud, I’ve got a hangover!

_ _ _

5. on a en masse parlé de ça

= it’s been talked about endlessly

Marie writes:

Je sais comment ça peut être difficile de ne pas boire. On a en masse parlé de la banalisation de la consommation de l’alcool.

I know how difficult it can be to not drink. The trivialisation of alcohol consumption has been talked about endlessly.

If you’ve got something en masse, you’ve got that thing in a huge quantity.

Y’a des problèmes en masse!
He’s got so many problems!

J’ai bu en masse de vodkas.
I drank so many vodkas.

J’ai bu en masse de bières.
I drank so many beers.

J’en ai bu en masse.
I drank so many of them.

Je t’en ai déjà parlé en masse!
I’ve already talked to you about that so much!

_ _ _

6. ça lui tentait pas

= he didn’t want to
= he didn’t feel like it

Marie writes:

Hier, après avoir fini ma petite bouteille de cidre, j’ai eu comme une boule dans l’estomac. Mon corps me disait que ce soir, ça lui tentait pas.

After finishing up my bottle of cider yesterday, I had like this kind of knot in my stomach. My body was telling me it didn’t want to [drink] tonight.

You already know that you can use the verb vouloir when you need to say “to want,” but the verb tenter is used very often in the same sense.

The form that this verb takes is tenter à quelqu’un.

Ça me tente pas.
I don’t want to.
I don’t feel like it.

Ça me tentait vraiment pas.
I really didn’t want to.
I really didn’t feel like it.

Ça lui tente pas.
He doesn’t want to.
He doesn’t feel like it.

Est-ce que ça te tente?
Ça te tente-tu?

Do you want to?
Do you feel like it?

_ _ _

7. un shooter sur le comptoir

= a shooter on the counter

While at a bar with friends to celebrate a birthday, Marie avoided drinking her shooter by putting it back on the bar counter while everybody else drank theirs:

Pendant que tout le monde grimace, je pose le shooter sur le comptoir.

As everybody else smirks [from drinking their shots], I put my shooter on the [bar] counter.

They were smirking because of the strength of their shooters.

Shooter is pronounced like its English equivalent.

_ _ _

8. échapper son verre

= to drop one’s glass

At the bar, Beyoncé’s song “Single Ladies” was playing when someone dropped their drink:

Bang, quelqu’un échappe son verre. Beyoncé aurait tellement jamais échappé son verre.

Bang, someone drops their glass. Beyoncé would so never have dropped her glass.

In Québec, the verb échapper is used in the sense of to drop something on the ground. For example, if you dropped your wallet, you could say j’ai échappé mon portefeuille.

Monsieur! Vous avez échappé vos gants!
Sir! You’ve dropped your gloves!

_ _ _

9. les conversations sont plates

= the conversations are boring

Because she’s not drunk, Marie notices how uninteresting the conversations at the bar with her friends are:

C’est drôle comment je remarque à quel point les conversations sont plates.

It’s funny to realise just how boring the conversations are.

She used the word plate, which is a typically québécois way to label something as dull or boring.

Ce livre est tellement plate!
This book is so boring!

C’est vraiment plate ici.
It’s really boring here.

The adjective plate can also be used to say that something “sucks” in the expression c’est plate.

— J’ai pogné un ticket de trois cents piasses!
— Shit, c’est plate.
— I got a three-hundred dollar ticket!
— Shit, that sucks.

The final t in ticket is pronounced in that example.

_ _ _

10. écouter House of Cards

= to watch House of Cards

Marie writes that when you admit to someone that you’re refusing to drink, you’ll get asked all kinds of questions as to why, like these ones:

Tu travailles tôt demain? Tu prends des antibiotiques? Tu es enceinte? Tu fais le défi 28 jours? Tu as trop écouté House of Cards et tu as peur de finir comme Peter Russo?

Are you working early tomorrow? Are you taking antibiotics? Are you pregnant? Are you taking the 28-day challenge? Have you watched too much House of Cards and you’re scared to end up like Peter Russo?

In Québec, television shows are more often “listened to” than “watched.” If you hear someone say écouter la télévision, it means the same thing as regarder la télévision. You can say it either way, but know that the Québécois will more spontaneously use écouter.

Veux-tu écouter La Voix avec moi?
Do you want to watch The Voice with me?

_ _ _

11. je me sens cheap

= I feel bad [for what I did, said, etc.]

Marie writes that it’s tiring having to avoid drinking. She’d rather go home:

Ne pas boire, c’est fatigant. Je veux aller chez moi. C’est pas parce que je suis à jeun que je vais prendre mon temps pour dire bye à tout le monde, oh non: je prends mon manteau et je me faufile dehors en me disant «Demain, ils vont avoir oublié ça!» Bon, par contre, le lendemain, moi je m’en rappelle et je me sens cheap d’avoir filé en douce.

Refusing to drink is tiring. I want to go home. Just because I’m abstaining doesn’t mean that I’m gonna take my time saying bye to everybody. No, no: I get my coat and I sneak off while telling myself, “Tomorrow, they won’t even remember!” But me, on the other hand, I do remember the next day, and I feel bad for having secretly taken off.

Sometimes you’ll hear cheap used in French to describe a stingy person or something made of poor quality. Other times, it will be used to label someone as a lowlife or their behaviour as a cheap shot.

T’es ben cheap, toi!
You’re so cheap! stingy!

C’est un peu cheap de faire ça.
That’s kind of a cheap shot.

Je trouve ça cheap de ta part.
That’s pretty low of you.

Je me sens cheap d’avoir fait ça.
I feel low for having done that.

_ _ _

All quoted French text written by: Marie Darsigny, «Maudite boisson», Urbania, Montréal, 26 février 2014.

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