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I came across an ad in a Montréal métro station for a gym offering cardio, musculation and cours en groupe.

Part of the ad reads:

Soyez lousse dans vos jeans et dans votre budget!
Literally: Be “loose” in your jeans and in your budget!

Click on the thumbnail to see a larger version.

The idea is that if you become a member of this gym, both your jeans and your budget will finally fit.

But what about the word lousse?

Lousse derives from the English word “loose.” It’s a colloquial usage that you’ll sometimes hear in regular, everyday conversations.

In fact, maybe you’ve already heard the word lousse before in the colloquial expression se lâcher lousse (to have a great time, to let loose, s’éclater, etc.).

On s’est lâchés lousses à Québec!
We really let loose in Québec City! We had an amazing time! We went all out!

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I’m always on the lookout for good sources of vocab and expressions for you to learn, and I’ve found a pretty good one for learning how people complain and insult others in French:

Comments that appear on paid ads in your Facebook feed.

The bigger the company, the more likely you are to find complaints and juicy insults, either directed at the company itself or other commenters. The comments are also very good for learning all kinds of useful French vocab and expressions in general.

For example, if you want to know how people complain in French about coffee that tastes like dirty dishwater, check out the comments on a Tim Hortons ad.

If you want to know how people accuse a restaurant of serving fake meat, then take a peek at the comments on an ad from McDonalds. You won’t be disappointed.

There’s an ad that’s been appearing in my Facebook feed for many weeks now. The company isn’t a big one — it’s from a butcher located south of Montréal — so a lot of the comments on it are a little more tame compared to the ones on, say, an ad from Tim Hortons.

The guy’s been advertising that he’s got a lot of steaks to get rid of because of an ordering error made by a client. To sell the steaks as fast as possible, he explains in his ad that he’s selling them with no mark-up in price just to break even.

The comments on his advert range from praise over the quality of the meat to accusations that he’s a scammer just looking to sell more steaks with a bogus story.

Many commenters wanted to know practical information, like what time he opens and if he delivers:

Faites-vous la livraison?
Do you deliver?

À quelle heure vous ouvrez?
What time do you open?

À quelle heure ouvrez-vous aujourd’hui?
What time do you open today?

One commenter said that when the ads first started appearing on Facebook, he was interested in buying some of the steaks. But now that the ad has been running for so long, he smells a scam:

Ça me tentait au début, mais ça commence à sentir le scam. Désolé, je passe.

I was interested at first, but this is starting to smell like a scam. Sorry, I’ll take a pass.

The standard word for scam in French is une arnaque. The commenter could have also written ça commence à sentir l’arnaque.

The person who does the scamming is called un arnaqueur. The next commenter used the word arnaqueur when he said that people were getting the impression the butcher was a scammer because of how long the ad and his sob story have been running:

Tu devrais arrêter cette annonce payée, elle te nuit. Regarde les commentaires des gens. Ils n’apprécient pas ton genre de pub sur Facebook. Tu passes pour un arnaqueur.

You should end this paid advertisement; it’s hurting you [i.e., your reputation]. Look at people’s comments. They don’t appreciate this kind of ad on Facebook. You come across as a scammer.

The word for advertisement in French is une publicité, but you’ll often come across the informally shortened form une pub. It’s similar to how “advertisement” in English shortens to “ad” and “advert” more informally.

The commenter also used the expression passer pour un arnaqueur. He said: tu passes pour un arnaqueur (you come across as a scammer). You can replace un arnaqueur with other nouns, for example: tu passes pour un con (you come across as a shithead).

And, in fact, our next commenter used the noun con when he came to the butcher’s defence by attacking other commenters:

Le monde est chiâleux, arrêtez de chiâler comme d’habitude. Bande de cons.

Everybody keeps complaining; stop complaining all the time. Bunch of shitheads.

Chiâler in Québec — we’ve seen it before, like here in entry #808 — means “to complain.” And someone who does the complaining can be described as chiâleux. Other ways to translate con in the sense used in the comment include: idiot, moron, ass, dickhead.

Those Facebook ads can be annoying, but if you change your perspective and see them as a language-learning opportunity, you might find you don’t mind them as much… or at least I don’t — they give me ideas for OffQc!

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In entry #753, we saw six different expressions used in Québec containing the words chien or chienne.

One of the expressions we saw in that entry was avoir du chien. Here’s what you read in that post about this expression:

If you’ve “got dog,” it’s because you’re determined. You’ve got personality. You’re a go-getter.

Ces deux jeunes-là ont du chien et réalisent de grandes choses.
Those two young people are go-getters and are doing big things.

Elle a du talent et du chien.
She’s got talent and determination.

In the comments section, RogerDog commented that he had seen a sign in Montréal promoting the comedy M. Peabody et Sherman, and that the expression avoir du chien was used on it.

I came across the sign too, so I took a photo. It says:

Une comédie qui a du chien

The expression works well here because one of the characters is a dog.

There are probably different ways to translate this, but if we want to hint at dogs, maybe we can say:

Une comédie qui a du chien
A comedy with bite

I wonder what the English version really says outside of Québec. Has anybody seen a poster for it?

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By the way, the expression avoir du chien means something different in France. The site linternaute.com defines the French use of avoir du chien as meaning “to be beautiful,” when speaking of a woman.

But it goes on to say that a woman qui a du chien is more than just belle; she also has ce petit truc en plus that makes her completely irresistible.

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I ate at a Lebanese restaurant with a friend this week.

We sat at a table near the door. Just as we began to eat, a man entered the restaurant. He approached me and looked at what I had ordered.

Then he asked:

C’est quoi ça?
What’s that?

I told him it was the falafel dish. I didn’t mind the question. I was even glad he asked. I mean, hey, it’s frustrating to see a stranger eat something delicious and not know how to order it yourself.

Then he asked another question:

Est-ce que c’est bon?
Is it good?

I answered him again. As a good Samaritan, I was happy to impart a quick and positive opinion about my falafels to a stranger.

Then he asked:

Combien t’as payé ça?
How much did you pay for it?

I answered him again, but now I was hoping he’d stop asking questions. I was hungry and wanted to eat.

The man had other ideas, though. He wasn’t ready to give up. He wanted more. He wanted to look into my soul:

Pourquoi t’as choisi cette assiette?
Why did you choose this dish?

Shit, man. I don’t know. I ordered it ‘cos I like it. We done yet?

Nope. He had yet another question for me, and it included the expression I most dislike in French:

Est-ce que ça représente un bon rapport qualité-prix?
Does it represent a good quality-to-price ratio?

OK seriously, guy?

Stop playing the journalist, go order the fucking falafels, then come back and tell me what you think.

I think this guy’s watched too many episodes of L’épicerie.

The expression un bon rapport qualité-prix is used frequently in advertising.

On television, you’ll hear it used on shows like L’épicerie, where the hosts compare products to help consumers make informed purchases.

I hear the expression often enough in French that it sickens me. When my inquisitioner used it, I wanted to shove my falafels up his nose. Free of charge. Le meilleur rapport qualité-prix en ville.

In the end, the guy didn’t order falafels. In fact, he didn’t order anything at all. He said thanks, turned around, and walked out the restaurant.

Ah come on, man! Live a little. Go do something wild, like eat a falafel…

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In Québec, you’ll hear ici also said as icitte. It’s considered to be a very informal way of saying ici.

The other day, I walked past a dépanneur serving the Haitian community in Montréal.

A small sign in the front window caught my attention. The sign is from a mobile phone company; it’s about recharging the minutes on a mobile.

The sign says: METE MINIT ISIT LA

I don’t speak Haitian Creole, but here’s my guess:

METTEZ DES MINUTES ICITTE, LÀ!

Hmm, too québécois with the là, maybe.

More seriously, I’m not entirely sure what la means on the sign. I’m going to hasard a guess and say that isit la means ici même. If anybody knows, leave a comment. (I should’ve gone in and asked…)

As for isit, it seems fairly clear it means icitte, I think!

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6 gigs, ça fait beaucoup de selfies

6 gigs, ça fait beaucoup de selfies

I saw this ad in the street from Vidéotron advertising a smartphone special.

6 Go
Ça fait beaucoup de selfies

6 GB
That’s a lot of selfies

Sorry for the quality of the image. There was a lot of light when I took the photo, and I had to position myself to avoid getting my fat face de bœuf in the reflection.

Go (gigaoctet), gigabyte
Mo (mégaoctet), megabyte
ko (kilooctet), kilobyte

Gigaoctet is often shortened to gig when speaking, and mégaoctet to meg.

The selfie is a picture taken of yourself with your phone. When I was at university, before cellphones and later smartphones took over the planet (and before I had even sent my very first email ever), we used to playfully call the selfie une autophoto in French!

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Update (2014/04/11)

Some readers have made comments that I’d like to add here. On Twitter, @desrosier_j suggests moivatar for selfie. In the comments below, iericksen mentioned égoportrait. On the OffQc Facebook page, Maria pointed out that the OQLF has already recommended autophoto and égoportrait.

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au prix du gros = at wholesale price

So after seeing the same expression on two different signs in the same week (an expression that I never normally see), I’ll take that as a sign that I’m supposed to put it on OffQc.

au prix du gros
at wholesale price

pain frais au prix du gros
fresh bread at wholesale price

chocolat de Pâques au prix du gros
Easter chocolate at wholesale price

Speaking of which…

Now that the elections are over, we can think about other things… like chocolate. I’m not ashamed; one of the best things about Easter? Cadbury creme eggs. Go eat one, or five. You deserve it for surviving the elections. And if they aren’t sold where you live, here’s a virtual one for you 😀

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