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Posts Tagged ‘19-2’

A man talked about his son who wasn’t feeling well because of a fever. He said an equivalent of this in French: “He wasn’t feeling good. He had a fever.”

To say this, he used a verb heard in colloquial langauge: filer.

Here’s what he said:

I’ filait pas. I’ faisait d’la fièvre.
He wasn’t feeling good. He had a fever.

In informal writing, you’ll see this verb spelled as filer or feeler. We’ll go with the gallicised spelling filer here.

In the sense of to not feel well (or, colloquially, to not feel good), filer is used in the negative: i’ filait pas, i’ file pas, j’filais pas, j’file pas, tu filais pas, tu files pas, etc.

Remember, il is virtually always pronounced i’ in colloquial language. This might be shown in writing as i’ or y (i’ filait pas or y filait pas).

Remember too that, in colloquial language, ne is avoided. That’s why it’s said as i’ filait pas and not il ne filait pas.

We’ve seen filer before. In #155 (which was almost a thousand entries ago, so I’ll forgive you if you forgot), a character from the television show 19-2 says:

Tu files pas, tu m’appelles, ok?
[If] you don’t feel good, you call me, ok?

___

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During a conversation, someone said an equivalent in French of go early.

As an example, maybe you’d say go early to someone who needed to go to a walk-in clinic to see a doctor, and you wanted to advise that person to go first thing in the morning before many other people arrived.

How might you say go early then?

Here’s what the person said:

Vas-y de bonne heure.
Go early.

The expression de bonne heure means early.

*

Five years ago to the day, we looked at a quote from the TV show 19-2:

The scene:

Two policemen have been called to investigate a building. When they arrive, they step out of their patrol car. That’s when one of the policemen sees someone moving about inside the building. To alert his partner, he says: Y’a què’qu’un en d’dans! There’s someone inside!

Y’a què’qu’un en d’dans is a contraction of il y a quelqu’un en dedans.

In colloquial language, quelqu’un can lose its l. The contracted què’qu’un sounds like quèc’un.

You’ll remember that là-dessus contracts to là-d’ssus (sounds like ladsu) in spoken language. Similarly, en dedans loses a syllable and contracts to en d’dans (sounds like anddan).

*

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Mohammad asks about a word he heard while watching 19-2. This word is adon. He sent me the dialogue where it occurred. It went like this:

Nick : C’est un adon.
Ben : T’es sûr?
Nick : Fie-toi sur moi. Je sais que c’est poche, mais c’est juste un ostie d’adon.

Adon here means coincidence.

Nick: It’s a coincidence.
Ben: You sure?
Nick: Trust me. I know it sucks, but it’s just a fucking coincidence.

In the dialogue, we’ve got the vulgar word ostie. Note that ostie is followed by de when you’re using it like the English a fucking [noun].

un ostie d’adon (a fucking coincidence)
un ostie de menteur (a fucking liar)
un ostie de bon show (a fucking good show)
une ostie d’arnaque (a fucking scam)
une ostie de folle (a fucking madwoman)
une ostie de grosse mouche (a big fucking fly)

It’s un or une before ostie depending on the gender of the noun. Un menteurun ostie de menteur. Une arnaqueune ostie d’arnaque.

Using adon, the answer to the question in the title is c’est juste un adon. You can hear this sentence pronounced by Cynthia Dulude in this video from the Listen section. In the transcription, you’ll find it in the third paragraph.

Another way adon is used is in the expression être d’adon. Someone who’s friendly, accessible, helpful, easy to get along with, etc., can be said to be d’adon.

Y’est ben d’adon.
He’s really friendly, easy to get along with, etc. (Ben is a reduction of bien. It sounds like bain and means very, really here.)

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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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«Tu files pas, tu m'appelles, OK?» [heard in 19-2]

«Tu files pas, tu m’appelles, OK?» [heard on the TV show 19-2]

In today’s entry, let’s focus our attention on the informal verb feeler heard in Québécois French.

We’ve seen the verb feeler come up in a few entries lately, so I’ve pulled together all examples of it on OffQc to see them here in one spot.

The verb feeler (sounds like filé) means “to feel” — we’ll see in what ways below — and is an informal usage only, borrowed from English.

Because this verb is largely an oral usage and not permitted in the standard form of French used in Québec, you’ll see different spellings applied to it when it manages to show up in writing. For example, you might see the first-person present tense spelled as je feel (and j’feel), je file (and j’file) and sometimes as je feele (and j’feele).

The informally contracted j’ sounds like ch before the letter f. So j’feel sounds like chfile.

In fact, the verb feeler isn’t a strictly québécois usage because, in entry #805, la Néo-Brunswickoise Lisa LeBlanc uses it in her song J’pas un cowboy when she sings these lyrics:

1. J’feel toute seule en calvaire.
I feel lonely as hell.

In the description of that same entry, we also saw:

2. J’feel pas ben.
I don’t feel good.

In entry #525, we looked at these examples of feeler:

3. Y file pas ce soir.
He doesn’t feel good this evening.

4. J’file pas fort ce matin.
I don’t feel great this morning.

Those last two sentences could also be said as:

5. Y file pas à soir.
6. J’file pas fort à matin.

That’s because à matin and à soir exist alongside ce matin and ce soir in Québec. The more formal the language is, the more likely you are to encounter the forms using ce.

In entry #748, we saw faire feeler cheap:

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

In entry #155, we saw this example of feeler taken from a television series from Québec called 19-2:

8. Tu files pas, tu m’appelles, OK?
(If) you don’t feel good, you call me, OK?

The French word si (if) wasn’t used here, but it’s understood. Also, in this scene from 19-2, the character was emotionally down rather than physically ill.

In entry #796, we saw a few more examples of feeler:

9. Je file tout croche.
I feel bad. I don’t feel good.

10. Je file cheap en maudit.
I feel so damn bad (e.g., for something said or done).

11. Je file pas ben pantoute.
I don’t feel good at all.

You’ll notice in 3, 5 and 8 there’s no word to describe the person’s state, like ben. It’s just the verb followed by pas (y file pas, tu files pas, j’feel pas, etc.). If someone “doesn’t feel,” it’s understood the person “doesn’t feel good.”

With your friends from Québec, there’s no problem using these examples. You wouldn’t want to use them in more formal writing and speaking situations though, or in front of particularly persnickety persons or frustratingly fussy French profs. (You’ll forgive me for my horrible alliterations because I’m writing this at 5 o’clock in the morning.)

If you needed to avoid these examples, you could say things like:

Je me sens mal.
Ça [ne] va pas.
Je [ne] me sens pas bien.
Je vais mal.
Je me sens malade.
Je suis malade…

Here are four more example sentences for good measure!

12. J’feel pas assez pour fêter avec vous autres.
I don’t feel good enough to celebrate with you guys.

13. J’file pas ben ben aujourd’hui.
I’m not feeling so hot today.

14. Désolé, mais j’feel pas ton texte.
I’m not “feeling” what you wrote (e.g, article, essay).
What you wrote isn’t doing it for me.

15. Je commence à pas ben feeler.
I’m starting to not feel good.

Image credit: Leonid Mamchenkov

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face de bœuf

In her book Ah shit, j’ai pogné le cancer, Maude talks about a psychologist at the hospital where she received chemotherapy.

The psychologist is arrogant and incompetent, and Maude dislikes her intensely. Tongue in cheek, she refers to the psychologist as “Barbie” throughout her book.

At one point, Maude happens to walk past Barbie in one of the hospital’s corridors. Still upset about Barbie’s poor behaviour from an earlier encounter, Maude says she gave Barbie the best nasty look she could muster:

Je lui ai fait mon plus bel air de bœuf.
I gave her my best nasty look.

Un air de bœuf is a look of nastiness or grumpiness. You’ll also come across the expression une face de bœuf, which is a nasty or grumpy looking face.

In Québec, don’t be surprised to hear the animal bœuf pronounced as beu, in both the singular and plural forms: un beu, deux beux.

Speaking of deux beux, maybe you’ll remember an entry on OffQc waaaay back in #177 where I mentioned that one of the tentative names for the TV show 19-2 was Deux beux. That’s because beux is also a slang word for cops, and the two protagonists in 19-2 are cops, deux beux.

But let’s get back to air de bœuf and face de bœuf (air de beu, face de beu). Here’s an example from a blog called Les aventures de la famille Cloutier-Beauséjour about an angry waitress:

On attend quelques minutes et la serveuse arrive avec sa face de bœuf. Elle nous garroche les ustensiles […].
We wait a few minutes and then the waitress shows up with a grumpy look on her face. She throws the utensils at us.

La Parlure also provides a useful example of air de bœuf (the c in donc is silent in this example):

Qu’est-ce qui se passe? T’as donc ben un air de bœuf!
What’s the matter? You look really grouchy!

So, there you go. Now you know — if you hear someone described as having an ox face, it’s because it looks like that person is in a bad mood with a grumpy or unfriendly look on the face.

avoir un air de bœuf
faire un air de bœuf
avoir une face de bœuf
faire une face de bœuf

As for Maude’s incompetent Barbie at the hospital, I had my own Barbie to deal with after my foot was crushed in an accident. My Barbie was a nurse though, not a psychologist, and I had a much less flattering name for her…

_ _ _

First quote written by: Maude Schiltz, Ah shit, j’ai pogné le cancer, tome 1, Éditions de Mortagne, Boucherville (Québec), 2013, page 150.

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“Help! I think I speak pretty good French, but I still have so much trouble understanding what people are saying!”

If that describes you, know that you’re not alone. Improving your listening skills takes time — a lot of it. If you’re struggling to understand spoken French, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a gift for languages. We all have to work on it. It just means that you need to revise what you’re doing to avoid fumbling along without making progress.

Seeing improvement in your listening skills is a lot like losing weight (or gaining it). You only see the changes in hindsight after a long period has passed. You don’t see the changes on a day-to-day basis. If you start following some or all of the suggestions below, you can be sure that your listening skills will improve.

By the way, I’m not going to include “speak with francophones” in this list. That one’s so obvious that you already knew you should be doing it.

1. Speak with francophones

OK, I lied. Speak with francophones! There can be no better listening practice than speaking with francophones. Start with just one francophone. One-on-one conversations will reform your French in ways that you can’t even imagine if you’re not doing this yet. In one-on-one conversations, you have to listen to what your friend is saying for the conversation to continue.

Please don’t be one of those people who thinks that they need to improve their French just a little more before speaking. That’s missing the whole point of learning French. Nobody cares about your perfect or imperfect French, people care about you.

The francophone you find doesn’t even need to be québécois. Just find a francophone and start building a relationship.

If you are in fact already speaking with francophones very regularly but still feel like you’re struggling to understand spoken French — relax. You’re doing everything right. Your listening skills are improving, even if you don’t see it right now. Keep doing what you’re doing.

2. Familiarise yourself with more vocabulary

Yes, become familiar with the vocabulary specific to Quebec French, but please don’t neglect French vocabulary in general. Sometimes I see certain learners get so hung up with wanting to learn all the typical québécois words (nothing wrong with that) that they forget to learn even the most basic and important vocabulary common to all francophones (that’s a problem).

Become familiar with vocab however it is that you like to do it. You like word lists? Go nuts. Flash cards? Flash away. Read the newspaper? Browse the dictionary? Do it. Just do something that you enjoy and that you’ll be inclined to do often enough.

The point of this isn’t to study vocabulary. Really, I don’t think that you’ll learn vocabulary by studying it. The point of this is to make an initial contact with lots of vocabulary on your own so that when you’re doing the more important work of speaking with francophones or listening to French, you’ll hear that vocab again and have a better chance of understanding what you hear. And that’s when you’ll learn the vocab for real.

3. Listen to the radio

I know of learners who have made incredible progress in French after listening to the radio. I’ve recommended it numerous times on OffQc: 98,5 fm. It’s all-talk radio on weekdays, which means that it’s very dense with spoken French. You can listen to it live on the radio in Montréal, or listen online from anywhere.

Again, if I’ve insisted so much on 98,5 fm, it’s because I’ve seen the success that other learners have had with it with my own eyes (or ears). If this station isn’t for you, no problem, there are others to choose from. Pick something you like and listen to it. But really listen to it. Don’t just keep noise on in the background for the sake of it — pay attention to what you’re hearing.

4. Watch television series

OffQc is full of examples from québécois television series. This isn’t an accident! I’ve chosen the language examples that you’ve discovered on OffQc because they’re pertinent to everyday language situations. Three television series that I’ve quoted from extensively on OffQc are Les Parent, 19-2 and La Galère.

These three certainly aren’t the only québécois series that prove useful, but I’ve consistently gone back to them time and time again because of their pertinence, quality and entertainment appeal. You can watch films too, but the advantage to picking series is that they have many episodes and are produced in several seasons’ worth.

The most important consideration, of course, is to watch something that interests you. There’s not much point forcing yourself to sit through something that you feel is dead boring. You’re not going to become hooked enough to want to continue. Keep looking for something that you fall in love with, then listen, listen, listen.

Don’t just watch an episode once and be done with it. Watch it the first time to enjoy it. Watch it a second time to become even more familiar with it. Listen a third time, and then a fourth. You get the idea. The more you listen to it, the more that language is going to worm its way into your head and the better you’ll become at listening.

5. Every single day, baby

As a bare minimum, spend one to two hours a day of listening to French or taking part in French conversation. If you want to pick up steam in French though, I say increase it to the highest amount that you can manage, without driving yourself crazy. There is time for it. (No, you don’t need to spend quite so much time on Facebook.)

I don’t want to be a downer, but if the number of hours you spend per month listening to French and taking part in conversation can be counted on the fingers of one hand, you’re not doing enough. This is why you feel like you’re struggling to understand.

The number of hours should be more like the number of fingers on both your hands and all the toes on your feet. And then add to that all the fingers on my hands and all the toes on my feet. (OK, maybe not my feet because I’m missing some toes. Somebody else’s feet.) And then multiply that by three. Or four…

Increase the hours dramatically and you can be sure that your listening comprehension will improve. There’s nothing magical about it, honest.

Enjoy your journey!

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