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Posts Tagged ‘avoir les yeux dans la graisse de bines’

Chu dans marde!

In spoken French, you’ll often hear the word combination dans la said as dans. Before looking at that, let’s take two expressions used in Québec:

être dans la marde
avoir les yeux dans la graisse de bines

1. être dans la marde

This expression, which literally means “to be in the shit,” is used to describe being up shit’s creek, to be in a rough spot, to be screwed, to be in for it.

2. avoir les yeux dans la graisse de bines

This expression literally means “to have one’s eyes in the bean grease.” When someone has a dazed or spaced out look in their eyes, their eyes are in the bean grease!

Both of these expressions contain the word combination dans la:

dans la marde
dans la graisse de bines

Informal pronunciation of dans la

At an informal level of spoken French, sometimes la loses its initial consonant sound, leaving just ‘a.

When this happens in the word combination dans la, we could say that the remaining ‘a sound gets “swallowed up” in the nasal vowel sound of dans.

This is why you’ll hear dans la marde and dans la graisse de bines from the two expressions above sound like:

dans marde
dans graisse de bines

T’es dans marde!
(té dans marde)
You’re screwed!
You’re gonna get it!

J’sus dans marde!
(chu dans marde)
I’m screwed!
I’m so in for it!

On est vraiment dans marde, hein!
You can hear Cynthia pronounce this here at 3:44.

T’as les yeux dans graisse de bines!
(t’a les yeux dans graisse de bines)
You look so spaced out!

Dans la may contract whenever these two words come together during informal speech, not just in the two expressions above.

With certain informal expressions, like the two above, it sounds kind of unnatural to say them with the full dans la. So you can say them with the contracted form explained above.

But elsewhere, with regular expressions (like dans la rue, dans la bouteille, dans la vie, etc.), you can continue to say the full dans la. It’s not necessary for you to apply the contraction here, even though you may hear native speakers do it spontaneously.

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