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Found another good clip from QuébecOriginal promoting winter to European visitors. (We saw the first one here.) As usual, the French text is below the clip, followed by a translation into English and usage notes. This clip will be added to the Listen to Québécois French section.

Au Québec, on aime tellement l’humour qu’on a la seule baie au monde qui rit : la baie du Ha! Ha!

En fait, ici, tout se peut, surtout quand on se lâche lousse. «Lousse» — en liberté totale!

Des fois, la neige fait sortir le meilleur de nous. Pour avancer partout, on a réinventé la roue. Quand on veut rester au chaud, on sort nos vieux mots : tuque, chandail, combine, mitaines, bas.

Mais comme on a vraiment quatre saisons, ça se peut que vous croisiez du monde qui s’est trompé en s’habillant. Ça s’appelle le Québec!

Mais ce qu’on a de plus grand, c’est notre hiver. Le plus blanc, le plus stupéfiant des hivers. On est fiers de notre hiver. On est QuébecOriginal.

In Québec, we love humour so much that we’ve got the only laughing bay in the world: la baie du Ha! Ha! (literally Ha! Ha! Bay).

In fact, here, anything’s possible, especially when we let loose. “Lousse(from the English “loose”) — total freedom! (Lousse is a Québécois usage; the speaker is defining it for European listeners.)

Sometimes the snow brings out the best in us. To get around everywhere, we reinvented the wheel. When we want to stay warm, we pull out our old words: tuque(tuque/winter hat), “chandail(sweater), “combine(from combinaison, long johns/long underwear; can also be the piece of clothing that covers the entire body and buttons down the chest), “mitaines(mittens), “bas(socks). (These words are all Québécois usages.)

But because we’ve really got four seasons, it’s possible you’ll bump into someone who got dressed wrong. That’s Québec!

But the best thing we’ve got is winter. The whitest, most stupefying of winters. We’re proud of our winter. We are QuébecOriginal.

Notes:

se lâcher lousse, to let loose, to let it all hang out, to let ‘er rip
Note how the speaker pronounces lâche; it uses the â sound. She says it quickly, but try to hear it.

Note how she pronounces lousse. It sounds slightly different to the English loose. The words mousse, pousse, rousse, etc., all use that same vowel sound.

Note how the speaker pronounces bas. The words pas, cas, tas, t’as all rhyme with this, using that same vowel sound. We heard this vowel sound before in the words pas and chat in this video.

tuque, nom féminin
chandail, nom masculin
combine, nom féminin
bas, nom masculin
mitaine, nom féminin

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I bought 3 really cool postcards yesterday.

Feminine words are in black.
Masculine words are in blue.

Petit lexique québécois

Petit lexique québécois

bibitte à patates (lady bug), pitou (doggie), maringouin (mosquito), coquerelle (cockroach), mouche à feu (firefly), ouaouaron (bull frog), moufette (skunk), siffleux (groundhog), minoune (kitty)

Petit lexique québécois

Petit lexique québécois

bobettes (undies), calotte (cap), coton ouaté (sweatshirt), mitaines (mittens), soulier (shoe), tuque (tuque), froque (coat), bas (socks), espadrille (running shoe)

Petit lexique québécois

Petit lexique québécois

bombe (kettle), cadran (alarm clock), barniques (barnacles, spectacles), bécycle (bicycle), plasteur (bandage), champlure (tap), ruine-babine (harmonica), balayeuse (vacuum cleaner), bazou (jalopy)

I’m going to give these postcards away to somebody here. There were more postcards in the series, and I wanted to buy them all and give them away, but I’d have got into trouble if I spent all my money and came home last night without the milk and bread I was supposed to buy.

I bought the postcards at Renaud-Bray, if you want to look for them yourself. Or you can buy them online from tiguidou-shop.com, including the other ones in the series. They’re cheaper online, but I didn’t check the shipping.

I also have two new DVDs from Québec with subtitles to give away. So, if you participated in the La grande séduction contest but didn’t win, I’m putting your email address back into a tuque or bas and will pull out three new winners. Two people will get a DVD, and one will get the postcards.

Check your email – I may be writing to you asking for your postal address!
_ _ _

Notes:

Despite the singular forms on the postcard, barniques and bobettes are generally used in the plural.

Bécycle is pronounced bécik. Ouaouaron is pronounced wawaron.

Froque is also spelled froc. Ruine-babine is also spelled ruine-babines.

Bombe is an old-fashioned word for bouilloire. Champlure is falling out of use; you can say robinet.

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On trouve de tout... même un ami

Jean Coutu is a pharmacy in Québec whose slogan is:

On trouve de tout… même un ami!

And it’s true. You really will find a friend at Jean Coutu.

They’re called condoms.

1. condom

condom

In Québec, the standard word for condom is un condom (sounds like condon). The French word un préservatif is understood, but its use is limited.

The expression “to use a condom” is utiliser un condom.

There’s also an informal word for condom, like “rubber” in English: une capote. In Montréal, you may have even noticed a sex shop downtown called La Capoterie.

2. pâte à dents

pate à dents

In addition to le dentifrice and la pâte dentifrice, toothpaste is also known as la pâte à dents in Québec, which is similar in form to la brosse à dents, or toothbrush.

On tubes of toothpaste, you’ll see the term dentifrice, not pâte à dents.

3. soie dentaire

soie dentaire

In Québec, dental floss is called la soie dentaire. In France, it’s called le fil dentaire. Soie dentaire is the standard term in Québec, used on packaging and in conversation (if you like to talk about dental floss!).

4. bas

bas

A sock is called un bas in Québec, which sounds like bâ. For example, un bas de laine is a wool sock.

5. chaise roulante

chaise roulante

In addition to un fauteuil roulant, understood by French speakers everywhere, you’ll also hear a wheelchair called une chaise roulante in Québec.

6. sac à vidanges

sac à ordures

The package says sacs à ordures, meaning “garbage bags.” In addition to this term, you’ll also hear un sac à vidanges at a more informal level of language. The word vidanges is often used in Québec in the sense of garbage. Un vidangeur is garbageman.

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L'accent québécoisThe â sound is one of the most distinctive features of the québécois accent.

You can always identify a French speaker from Québec by listening for the â sound!

The sound made by â in Québec sounds something like “aww” to an English speaker.

To hear â pronounced, listen to Ricardo pronounce carré, or hear Martin Matte pronounce câline and passait. All three of these words use the â sound.

The â sound occurs in words written with the accented â (like âge and fâché), but it can occur in certain words written with an unaccented letter a too (like tasse and case).

When the word is written with the accented â, there’s little doubt — say aww! But when it’s written with an unaccented letter a, it isn’t as obvious if it takes the â sound. That said, you may begin to notice some patterns.

To help you out a bit, below are 50 words taking the â sound in Québec but all written with an unaccented letter a. I’ve underlined the letter a in each word that makes the â sound.

This list isn’t exhaustive, it’s just a list of 50 words that I felt were useful.

  1. amasser
  2. barrage
  3. barreau
  4. barrer
  5. barrière
  6. bas
  7. base
  8. baser
  9. basse
  10. brassage
  11. brasser
  12. brasserie
  13. carré
  14. carreau
  15. carrément
  16. cas
  17. case
  18. casier
  19. casse-croûte
  20. casser
  21. chat
  22. classe
  23. classement
  24. classer
  25. classeur
  26. dépasser
  27. entasser
  28. espace
  29. gars
  30. gaz
  31. gazer
  32. gazeux
  33. jaser
  34. jasette
  35. matelas
  36. paille
  37. pas
  38. passage
  39. passager
  40. passe
  41. passeport
  42. passer
  43. ramassage
  44. ramasser
  45. rasage
  46. raser
  47. surpasser
  48. tas
  49. tasse
  50. tasser

Remember, the letters rs in gars aren’t pronounced. This word sounds like gâ. The final s in bas, cas, matelas, pas, tas is silent. These words sound like bâ, câ, matlâ, pâ, tâ.

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