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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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