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Posts Tagged ‘anglais’

“Go back to the cuisine immediately and finish making the Chinese patty, Rupert. On way. ON WAY!”

Rupert and Samantha are two anglophone Canadians who live in a parallel universe.

In this parallel universe, Rupert and Samantha speak a variety of English that has borrowed and adapted vocabulary from Québécois French. Their English also conserves usages that have fallen out of use elsewhere in the English-speaking world.

In part 1, Samantha pawnied a hen’s nest on the roo (hit a pothole on the street). Her husband, Rupert, pawnied a cold (caught a cold) after a gross cave externated on him (a big idiot sneezed on him). If you haven’t read part 1 yet, you’ll probably want to read that first.

Here’s part 2. In this part, Rupert and Samantha are in a chicken (in a fight) because the chariot (car) won’t start. Does it have something to do with the hen’s nest that Samantha pawnied? Read on to find out.

Oh, and yes, Rupert and Samantha look a little different this time. That’s because this is a parallel universe and just whatever.

Have fun deciphering the dialogue!

Rupert and Samantha are in a chicken

  • Rupert! Art thou occupied?
  • I’m still in the cuisine, Samantha. I’m preparing delicious Chinese patty for supper.
  • Oh tabernacle, not Chinese patty again… Rupert, come look at the chariot. Ever since I pawnied that hen’s nest out there on the roo, I’ve been having misery to start the chariot.
  • Are thou nezzing me?
  • Pawn toot. I’ve been fucking the dog on mass.
  • Achooom!
  • Oh hesty, Rupert. I want not to pawnie thine cold. Cover thine mouth.
  • Samantha, thou knowest I pawnied a cold while out magazining in the formiddy. ‘Tis not my fault if some hesty of a gross cave externated on me.
  • Crucifix, Rupert. Just look at the chariot.
  • Samantha, I am looking at the chariot. Hast thou made the plain?
  • Bang sure not. I thought thou hadest made the plain.
  • Oh frankly, Samantha. I’m tanned of reminding thee to make the plain. Look, there’s no gauze in the tank. How thinkest thou to start the chariot without gauze? Verily, it astonishes me not thou hast been fucking the dog.
  • Shit of fuck of shit, Rupert. Just go back to the cuisine. I’ll get the other chariot and syphon gauze out of it with my mouth.
  • Oh… Hast thou not the bitch to syphon gauze using the mouth?
  • I’m not some hesty of a useless moomoon, Rupert. I know how to syphon gauze using the mouth.
  • Art thou insinuating that I be a moomoon, Samantha?
  • Oh verily, I have not the taste to talk about this pawn toot! Let me occupy myself of the chariot. Go back to the cuisine immediately and finish making the Chinese patty, Rupert. On way. ON WAY!
  • Aye, aye, Samantha, ’tis correct…

_ _ _

in a chicken: en chicane (in a fight)
art thou: es-tu (are you)
occupied: occupé (busy)
the cuisine: la cuisine (the kitchen)
Chinese patty: pâté chinois (shepherd’s pie)
oh tabernacle: oh tabarnak (oh fuck)
the chariot: le char (the car)
to pawnie a hen’s nest: pogner un nid-de-poule (to hit a pothole)
the roo: la rue (the street)
I’ve been having misery: j’ai de la misère (I’ve been having difficulty)
to nezz: niaiser (to kid)
pawn toot: pantoute (not at all)
to fuck the dog: fucker le chien (to have difficulty)
on mass: en masse (big time)
hesty: esti (fuck)
to pawnie thine cold: pogner ton rhume (to catch your cold)
thou knowest: tu sais (you know)
to magazine: magasiner (to shop)
in the formiddy: dans l’avant-midi (in the late morning)
’tis not: c’est pas (it’s not)
a gross cave: un gros cave (a big idiot)
a hesty of a gross cave: un esti de gros cave (a big fucking idiot)
to externate: éternuer (to sneeze)
crucifix: crucifix (fuck)
hast thou: as-tu (have you)
to make the plain: faire le plein (to fill up on gas)
bang sure not: bien sûr que non (of course not)
thou hadest: tu avais (you had)
I’m tanned: je suis tanné (I’m fed up)
of reminding thee: de te rappeler (of reminding you)
gauze: gaz* (gas, petrol)
how thinkest thou: comment penses-tu (how do you think)
verily: vraiment (really, honestly)
shit of fuck of shit: shit de fuck de shit (holy fuckin’ holy shit)
to have the bitch: avoir la chienne (to be afraid)
a moomoon: une moumoune (a sissy, suck, wimp)
I have not the taste: j’ai pas le goût (I don’t feel like)
let me occupy myself of: laisse-moi m’occuper de (let me take care of)
on way: enweille (get a move on)
aye, aye, ’tis correct: OK, OK, c’est correct (OK, OK, fine)

*Gaz is pronounced gâz in Québec. The French â sound in Québec comes close to how “aww” sounds in English. This is why Rupert and Samantha say gauze.

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French-language purists will tell you not to use the words below, but you gotta know ’em if you want to understand the Québécois!

We won’t concern ourselves with the ideas of the purists here. We’ll let them squabble amongst themselves as we get down to the more important work of learning French.

Even though these words are often referred to as anglicismes or as examples of franglais, I don’t see a reason why we can’t just think of them as French words that entered the language by way of English.

That said, it’s important to know that these words are reserved to informal speaking situations. They’re not used in formal speech or writing.

The examples below are not the only way those ideas can be expressed in French. For example, although you’ll hear a tattoo called un tatou in Québec, you’ll also come across the standardised tatouage. In the list below, we’ll just look at ways you might hear things said using a word taken from English.

If you like this list of 31 gotta-knows, there’s also a list of 50 must-knows and a list of 30 full-québécois on OffQc.

If you learn everything in those 3 posts, that’s 111 MB of example sentences uploaded to your brain. And if you learn everything on OffQc, then your brain will definitely need a memory upgrade pretty soon. 🙂

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

2. Je badtripe là-dessus.
I’m worried sick about it.

3. J’ai eu un gros down.
I got really down.

4. C’est tough sur le moral.
It’s tough on your morale.

5. C’est weird en masse.
That’s totally weird.

6. Ce médicament me rend stone.
This medication stones me out.

7. C’est tellement cute son accent.
His accent is so cute.

8. Ça m’a donné un gros rush.
It got me all pumped up.

9. Mon boss est venu me voir.
My boss came to see me.

10. À l’heure du lunch, je fais de l’exercice.
I exercise at lunchtime.

11. Ça clique pas entre nous.
We don’t click with each other.

12. C’est pas cher, mais c’est de la scrap.
It’s not expensive, but it’s junk.

13. C’est roffe à regarder.
It’s tough [rough] to watch.

14. Je sais pas dealer avec ça.
I don’t know how to deal with this.

15. J’ai mis une patch sur la partie usée.
I put a patch on the worn-out part.

16. Es-tu game pour un concours?
Are you up for a contest?

17. J’ai rushé sur mes devoirs.
I rushed my homework.

18. Y’a un gros spot blanc sur l’écran.
There’s a big white spot on the screen.

19. Je veux vivre ma vie à full pin.
I want to live my life to the max.

20. Le voisin m’a blasté.
The neighbour chewed me out.

21. J’ai un kick sur mon prof de français.
I’ve got a crush on my French prof.

22. T’as l’air full sérieux sur cette photo.
You look full serious in this photo.

23. Écoute ça, tu vas triper!
Listen to this, you’re gonna totally love it!

24. Viens me voir, j’ai fuck all à faire.
Come see me, I’ve got fuck all to do.

25. J’aime les idées flyées.
I like ideas that are really out there.

26. J’ai pas de cravate pour matcher avec ma chemise.
I don’t have a tie to go with my shirt.

27. Je t’ai forwardé sa réponse.
I forwarded her answer to you.

28. Elle a un gros tatou sur l’épaule.
She’s got a huge tattoo on her shoulder.

29. Ça me fait freaker.
It freaks me out.

30. Merci, on a eu un fun noir!
Thanks, we had an amazing time!

31. J’ai lâché ma job parce que j’étais en burn out.
I quit my job because I was burnt out.

_ _ _

Although I’ve written the examples in this post myself, they were inspired by Maude Schiltz‘s book Ah shit, j’ai pogné le cancer and by Rabii Rammal‘s blog posts on Urbania, both of which I encourage you to check out.

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“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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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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The CBC’s Canada Writes published an interview about OffQc today. Take a look when you get the chance. They asked me why it’s difficult to learn French the “traditional” way, how to keep your ears and eyes fresh, as well as some questions about me and the blog.

***

When French borrows a word from English, it often becomes masculine in French. But when you’re listening to French spoken by the Québécois, have you noticed that some borrowed words became feminine instead?

Here are just seven of them:

  • toast
  • job
  • joke
  • pinotte
  • sandwich
  • traite
  • bullshit!

Below are examples of how you could hear these words used. The examples were all written by Mario Bélanger in his book Petit guide du parler québécois, which I reviewed in an earlier entry.

For each example, I’ve included a translation into English.

Je veux une toast et un café.
I want toast and coffee.

Tu as une job qui te plaît.
(remember: tu as contracts to t’as in conversations)
You’ve got a job that you like.

C’est pas grave. C’est juste une joke.
It’s no big deal. It’s just a joke.

J’ai le goût de manger des pinottes.
I feel like eating peanuts.

Veux-tu une sandwich au jambon?
Do you want a ham sandwich?

C’est à mon tour de payer la traite.
It’s my turn to treat.

Cette publicité, c’est de la bullshit!
(bullshit is pronounced boulechitte)
This advertisement is bullshit!

For the words job and sandwich, a masculine form exists too (la job, le job; la sandwich, le sandwich). During regular, everyday conversations in Québec, you’re more likely to hear the feminine form. The masculine form of these two words appears more frequently in writing.

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In an article from the Journal de Montréal called “Pas les moyens de rêver” (3 November 2013), journalist Richard Martineau used three French expressions that borrow a word from English:

1. gérer la shop
2. ça manque de punch
3. passer la moppe

Before the election had come to an end yesterday, Martineau argued in his article that Montréal doesn’t need an ambitious mayor with big projects in mind.

He said that Montréal needs a realistic mayor, someone who can clean up city hall and who knows how to gérer la shop, or “run the place,” like candidate Marcel Côté. The “shop” he was referring to is in fact city hall, l’hôtel de ville.

Martineau admitted that some people probably found Côté’s electoral platform to be lacklustre, ça manque de punch, but that it was also a realistic and prudent one.

Before even thinking about big projects, he said that Montréal needs someone like Marcel Côté to come in and passer la moppe et l’aspirateur dans tous les coins de l’hôtel de ville, or “mop and vacuum every corner of city hall.”

gérer la shop
to run the place

ça manque de punch
it lacks punch
it’s dull

passer la moppe
to mop up

The word shop is feminine: la shop. You may hear this word used to refer to a workshop, for example. But Martineau gave the expression gérer la shop a figurative meaning here. He wasn’t talking about a workshop; he was referring to city hall. We can probably translate the expression here as “to run the place.”

If it’s dull, if it’s got no punch, ça manque de punch. Anything boring could be described this way. A boring idea? A bland dish of food? Ça manque de punch!

The expression passer la moppe was also used figuratively here. Martineau didn’t mean that somebody needs to clean up city hall with a mop and water. He meant that someone needs to put things in order. That said, you can also hear passer la moppe used literally in the sense of washing a floor with a mop and water. When used, moppe is feminine: la moppe.

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