Archive for the ‘Entries #951-1000’ Category

A story in the Journal de Montréal tells of a restaurant owner who posted a complaint on Facebook. Her complaint was about a customer who’d brought lactose-free milk into the restaurant for her child to drink.

The owner argued that the customer should’ve ordered the milk in her restaurant instead of bringing it in from outside.

Long story short, her complaint on Facebook went viral because the Internet sided with the customer, not the restaurant owner. A marketing specialist commented on how the restaurant’s reputation will be affected:

À court terme, ça va fesser fort. […] C’est une petite entreprise, c’est sûr que ça va faire mal.
In short term, it’s going to hurt (lit., “to hit hard”). It’s a small business, it’s going to hurt for sure.

[«Un contenant de lait crée un tollé contre une restauratrice», Journal de Montréal, 21 août 2015]

Literally, fesser means to hit. It can be used in both its literal sense, or in a figurative sense meaning to hurt (one’s reputation, one’s ego, etc.).

This isn’t the first time we’re seeing fesser on OffQc.

In #285, we saw how a character called Stéphanie from the TV show La Galère was proud that her son had punched a sexual predator and eventually managed to get him arrested. As she takes care of her son’s hand, she asks him:

T’as fessé fort?
Do you hit [him] hard?

  • t’as, informal contraction of tu as

In #415, we saw how a character called Olivier from the TV show Les Parent got into a fight with another boy. When Olivier explains to his parents why he got into the fight, he says he was protecting his little brother Zak and his friend:

Y’était en train d’écoeurer Zak pis son ami.
Y’allait fesser sur Zak!
He was picking on Zak and his friend.
He was gonna hit Zak!

  • y’était, informal pronunciation of il était
  • y’allait, informal pronunciation of il allait
  • pis (sounds like pi), informal pronunciation of puis; means and here

In those last two examples, fesser is used literally. But in #547, we saw a figurative use: a radio show host wishes a happy 40th birthday to a listener and admits that turning 40 is hard to take:

40 ans, ça fesse.
[Turning] 40 hurts.

The Usito dictionary also gives a couple examples:

Fesser sur un clou avec un marteau.
To strike a nail with a hammer.

«J’ai remarqué que, quand Alexandre est fâché, il est violent; il donne des coups de poing, il fesse partout»
“I’ve noticed that, when Alexander is angry, he gets violent; he goes around punching, hitting everything.”

[Michel Gosselin, Le repos piégé, 1988]

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Two readers have asked for help with French terms of affection to use with their Québécois boyfriend, so I’ll try to start adding examples of these.

Québécois Jean-Pierre Ferland sings a love song called Une chance qu’on s’a, which you can find on YouTube.

The title means we’re lucky to have each other, it’s a good thing we’ve got each other, etc. On s’a means the same thing as nous nous avons.

I won’t put all the lyrics here, just the first five lines:

Une chance que j’t’ai
Je t’ai, tu m’as
Une chance qu’on s’a

Quand tu m’appelles «mon p’tit loup»
Avec ta p’tite voix […]

I’m lucky to have you (good thing I’ve got you)
I’ve got you, you’ve got me (I’m yours, you’re mine)
We’re lucky to have each other (good thing we’ve got each other)

When you call me “my little wolf”
In your little voice […]

So there’s our first term of affection: mon p’tit loup. Loup is pronounced lou. Petit can be pronounced colloquially as p’tit or ti.

Of course, if you can say mon p’tit loup, then you can also just say mon loup, or you can go in the other direction entirely and say mon gros loup!

mon loup
mon p’tit loup / mon ti-loup
mon gros loup

By the way, if you listen to the song, you’ll hear Ferland say both je t’ai and the informally contracted j’t’ai. J’t’ai sounds like ch’t’ai. Do you hear how je changes to the ch sound when it contracts to j’ before t?

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We’ve done it — we’ve made it to #1000.

The first post on OffQc is dated December 2010, almost five years ago. When I began, I had no idea this blog would someday get to #1000 — a few hundred posts at most, I thought — but here we are.

And we’re a big group too. OffQc is visited every day by people around the world.

A few interesting things about who we lovers of French and diehard fans of all things québécois are:

The top five visiting countries are Canada, United States, United Kingdom, France and Brazil. If Latin America were a single country, it would’ve been among the top ones as well.

The top two visiting cities are Montréal and Toronto.

The top five languages spoken natively by visitors are English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic.

A few things about the blog itself:

OffQc averages one new post about every day and a half. (I don’t let you slack off.)

New posts have been added every month since I began, with just one exception: October 2012, when I was hit by a car in Napoli that crushed my ankle and foot.

The first post on this blog was about the Québécois expression c’est correct, meaning it’s fine, it’s okay.

The OffQc books have sold on all continents except one. (Come on, Antarctica.)

When I look back at older posts on OffQc, I’m grateful anybody stuck around at all. Many of them aren’t written the way I’d write them today, which in itself is encouraging — it’s a reminder that we should just begin.

The same goes for French.

You don’t need perfect grammar before you start speaking French, nor do you need the perfect accent. You don’t need to know all the words, and it’s okay if you’re still trying to figure out the subjunctive. Jump in, make a mess of it, brush yourself off, then do it again. You’ll find your way.

To all of you who take time out of your busy day to read OffQc, or to comment, or to share or like or tweet, or to buy and read the OffQc books — thank you.

If you’re wondering if I’ll continue writing now that we’ve reached #1000, what can I say but mets-en? I hope you’ll stick around for the next 1000.

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We’ve seen before how both the expression avoir le goût and the verb tenter can be used in the sense of to want, to feel like, or like the expression avoir envie.

Ça m’tente pas.
J’ai pas l’goût.
J’ai pas envie.

I don’t want to, I don’t feel like it,
I’m not up for it, etc.

There are some informal contractions in the examples above, and you’ll want to be sure how to pronounce them.

Ça m’tente pas is an informal contraction of ça ne me tente pas. Instead of trying to pronounce m’tente on its own, move the m’ to the end of ça as though it were çam’ tente pas. Now you can say it easily. Ça m’ sounds like the first syllable of samedi.

Ça m’tente pas trop, là.
I don’t really wanna.

J’ai pas l’goût is an informal contraction of je n’ai pas le goût. To pronounce pas l’goût, move the l’ to end of pas, and you can pronounce it easily.

J’ai pas envie is an informal equivalent of je n’ai pas envie.

Both tenter and avoir le goût can be followed by de + a verb in its infinitive form. The same goes for avoir envie.

J’ai pas l’goût de cuisiner.
Ça m’tente pas de travailler.
J’ai pas envie de sortir.
I don’t feel like cooking, working, going out.

On this little sign that I saw in a supermarket in Montréal, we read:

Parce qu’on n’a pas toujours le goût de cuisiner.
Because you don’t always feel like cooking.

The sign is advertising a brand of milk and is placed right in front the breakfast cereals sitting on the shelves.

Can you suggest why the expression avoir le goût might have been chosen here instead of avoir envie?

See you again in #1000. 😀

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I came across this short clip taken from a show by comedian Korine Côté.

Her words were transcribed by a YouTube user in this video that he’s created and posted online, but I’ve written them out below.

In the video, c’est sûre should be c’est sûr.

Moi, moi j’ai un Mac. Ah ouais, j’ai un Mac, ah ouais. Ah, j’peux faire du montage vidéo sans problèmes, ah ouais. Bon, j’en fais pas, mais j’pourrais, ouais, parce que… parce que j’ai un Mac. Ah ouais, ah ouais. Ah! t’as pogné un virus? Ahh! Moi, j’pogne pas ça avec mon Mac, ah non!… [j’]pogne pas ça des virus avec mon Mac. Bon, c’est sûr j’su’s pas compatible avec le 7/8 de la planète, mais c’pas grave.

Me, I’ve got a Mac. Oh yeah, I’ve got a Mac, oh yeah. Oh, I can edit videos (make videos montages), no problem, oh yeah. Fine, I don’t actually do it, but I could (if I wanted to), yeah, because… because I’ve got a Mac. Oh yeah, oh yeah. Oh! You got a virus? Arg! Me, I don’t get them with my Mac, nope! Don’t get viruses with my Mac. Fine, it’s true I’m not compatible with 7/8 of the planet, but no big deal.

pogner, informal verb meaning to catch, grab
pogner un virus, to get a virus, catch a virus
j’pogne (sounds like ch’pogne), informal contraction of je pogne
t’as, informal contraction of tu as
j’su’s pas (sounds like chu pas), informal contraction of je ne suis pas
c’pas (sounds like s’pas), informal contraction of ce n’est pas

This video will be added to the Listen to Québécois French section.

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A word that came up on OffQc back in 2011 and that we’ve never looked at again is boqué. The usage we looked at came from a dialogue in the television show 19-2, where boqué was used as both a noun and adjective:

— Ça doit pas être facile… travailler avec un boqué de même.
— Non… j’peux être aussi boqué que lui.

— Must not be easy… working with a stubborn guy like that.
— No… (but) I can be just as stubborn as him.

From 19-2, season 1, episode 6,
Radio-Canada, 9 March 2011.

You’ll also see boqué spelled in informal writing as bucké or bocké, given that it’s believed by certain speakers to derive from the English buck. The Usito dictionary, however, recognises the Québécois verb boquer [meaning to stand up to, refuse to obey], says it derives from bouquer, and says it’s also heard in other parts of the francophonie, like Switzerland, so it may in fact be a false anglicism.

I went on a little hunt for examples of this word online to illustrate its use:

Bref le monsieur, ben boqué à rester dans les années 1900, est reparti en disant qu’il allait revenir demain.
In short, the man, determined to remain stuck in the 1900s, left and said he’d come back tomorrow.
(Dans les années can be pronounced informally as dins années*; qu’il allait is pronounced informally as qu’y’allait.)

Il n’y a pas moyen de le faire changer d’idée, il est bucké.
It’s impossible to get him to change his mind, he’s stubborn.
(Il n’y a pas moyen is pronounced informally as y’a pas moyen; il est is pronounced informally as yé.)

Il était boqué sur son idée de sushis, fait qu’on a mangé ça.
He wouldn’t budge on his idea to eat sushi, so that’s what we had.
(Il était is pronounced informally as y’étaitfait que here is the informal faque we looked at recently.)

J’écoute toutes sortes de musique variées… Ça va du Linkin Park à Frank Sinatra à du EDM, du Hardcore, etc. Je suis pas trop bucké là-dessus!
I listen to all kinds of varied music… It ranges from Linkin Park to Frank Sinatra to EDM, Hardcore, etc. I’m not too stubborn about it!
(Je suis is pronounced informally as j’su’/chu or j’suis/chui.)

*If you want to hear an example of dans les années pronounced informally as dins années (sounds like dain z’année), look on YouTube for the song Camping Ste-Germaine by Les Cowboys Fringants.

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Here’s a usage that came up in a conversation that you’ll want to learn:


parce que… pis que…
because… and because…

For example:

Je l’ai acheté parce que c’est bon pis que c’est bio.
I bought it because it’s good and because it’s organic.

The que of parce que is repeated after pis in the example above:
parce que c’est bon pis que c’est bio

The informal pis sounds like pi. It means and here, and it occurs very frequently in spoken language. In the example above, it’s possible to say et instead of pis, of course.

Je l’ai acheté parce que c’est bon et que c’est bio.
I bought it because it’s good and because it’s organic.

On this page of the BDL, there’s a description of this repetition of que, which occurs to avoid changing the sense of a sentence. It can occur elsewhere, like with quandQuand tu seras grand et que tu travailleras, tu pourras t’acheter une auto. When you’re grown up and (when) you work, you can buy a car.

In parce que c’est bon pis que c’est bio, if you leave out the second que, then c’est bio is no longer attached to parce que.

While we’re on the topic of parce que, there’s another turn of phrase I’d like to point out because I’m sure you’ll want to learn it:


C’est pas parce que… que…
Just because… doesn’t mean that…

C’est pas parce que t’as une opinion que t’as raison.
Just because you’ve got an opinion doesn’t mean you’re right.

C’est pas parce que tout le monde fait ça que c’est correct.
Just because everyone does that doesn’t mean it’s okay.

C’est pas parce que ça sent pas mauvais que c’est encore bon.
Just because it doesn’t smell bad doesn’t mean it’s still good.

C’est pas is an informal equivalent of ce n’est pas, so c’est pas parce que is an informal equivalent of ce n’est pas parce que. Colloquial usage prefers c’est pas parce que.

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