Posts Tagged ‘ben’

Here’s a (questionable) car ad in which you’ll hear the informal verb pogner used. Can you make out the meaning of this verb here before checking the translation below? This video will be added to the Listen section.

— Julie a choisi son RAV4 pour la capacité de l’habitacle, un volume de chargement de deux mille quatre-vingt litres, l’idéal pour transporter la petite famille et tout l’équipement nécessaire pour —
— Euh, excusez?
— Oui?
— Moi, j’suis célibataire, pas d’enfants. Je l’ai acheté pour pogner.
— Ah bon?
— Mon prof de yoga, y’aime ben ça.
— La « capacitéduction ». Une autre bonne raison d’acheter une Toyota.
— Louez le RAV4 2015 pour 295 $ par mois avec zéro dollar d’acompte. Toyota, c’est moins cher que vous pensez.

— Julie chose her RAV4 for its spacious passenger compartment, a loading space of two thousand and eighty litres, the ideal (vehicle) for moving the (little) family around and all the equipment they need for —
— Uh, excuse me?
— Yes?
— I’m single, no kids. I bought it to attract someone.
— Oh, really?
— My yoga teacher, he really likes it.
— “La capacitéduction [capacité + séduction].” Another good reason to buy a Toyota.
— Lease the RAV4 2015 for $295 a month with zero down payment. Toyota, it’s cheaper than you think.

Pronunciation and usage notes

j’suis, informal contraction of je suis (the contracted j’s sounds like ch)
célibataire, single
pogner, to attract (someone); similarly, pogner avec les gars, avec les filles means to (know how to) attract guys/girls
y’aime ben ça, informal pronunciation of il aime bien ça, he really likes it; the informal ben sounds like bain

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After I ordered food at the counter in a fast-food restaurant in Montréal, the cashier told me my order wouldn’t be long in coming by saying this:

Ça sera pas bien long.
It won’t be very long.

This expression is very much used by employees who deal with the public (restaurants, on the phone, etc.). It’s a way of telling the customer to be patient and wait while the employees go about their business. You’ll also hear ça sera pas long, without the bien.

We’ve seen many times how bien can be pronounced informally as ben, which sounds like bain. This doesn’t mean that bien isn’t used in spoken language though — the cashier did pronounce bien. Although it’s possible to say ça sera pas ben long, it’s more informal sounding.

Even though the cashier pronounced bien instead of ben, she still avoided using ne in her negation, which is an informal usage.

Careful with the pronunciation of long — in the masculine/neutral form, the g isn’t pronounced. It sounds as if it were written lon, to rhyme with mon, son, etc. It’s the feminine form longue where you’ll hear the g.

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On Urbania, Lysandre Nadeau writes about the approach of moving season — moving into a new apartment with a new coloc, that is. She writes:

Le soleil est enfin arrivé au Québec. Pis quand il se pointe, pas ben ben longtemps après, les gens déménagent. Eh oui, dans quelques semaines, le monde vont commencer à faire leurs boîtes.

pis quand il se pointe, and when it shows up
pas ben ben longtemps après, not too long afterwards
le monde vont commencer à, people are going to start to
faire leurs boîtes, to pack their boxes

Ben is an informal contraction of bien meaning really here. It sounds like bain. The author has doubled it for effect: pas ben ben longtemps après, literally not really really a long time afterwards.

Why has she used the plural vont with the singular noun le monde? Le monde vont commencer à faire leurs boîtes. It’s a feature of informal language where le monde, meaning people, is analysed as a plural noun like les gens.

Pis means and here. It’s pronounced pi and comes from puis. It’s similar to the way and in English can contract to an’ or ‘n’.

She continues:

Il va y avoir des gros camions partout dans les rues pis plein de vieux divans à motifs laittes sur les trottoirs.

plein de, lots of
vieux divans, old sofas
à motifs laittes, with ugly designs

Laitte is an informal pronunciation of laid that you’ll hear used spontaneously in conversations.

The author uses a few more words from conversational language:

Un nouvel appartement signifie aussi peut-être : un nouveau coloc. J’en ai eu en masse dans ma vie, des l’funs pis des pas l’funs.

un nouveau coloc, a new roommate, flatmate
en masse, lots, heaps
j’en ai eu en masse, I’ve had lots of them
des l’funs pis des pas l’funs, fun/great ones and not-so-fun/great ones

Coloc is a short form of colocataire. Locataire is a renter, so a colocataire is a “co-renter,” someone you share your apartment with. Coloc is used informally.

What does the first en mean in j’en ai eu en masse? It means of them here. In English, you can say I had many, but you can’t in French. In French, you have to say I had many of them, where the of them is said as en. J’en ai eu en masse, of them have had heaps.

Fun is a bit funny in that it uses the article le in front of it, even when used adjectively. Des gars le fun, fun guys. Unlike the author, I’m not sure I’d have put an s on fun in des l’fun pis des pas l’fun.

Source: All quotes written by Lysandre Nadeau in “Le guide de la pire personne en colocation,” Urbania, 22 May 2015.

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We’ve seen many times on OffQc how ben can be used in the sense of “very” or “really.”

Ben is an informal reduction of bien. It sounds like bain. A better spelling would be bin, and you will in fact sometimes see that. Ben is more common though, and that’s what I’ll use here.

C’est ben loin.
It’s really far.

C’est ben bon.
It’s really good.

C’est ben correct.
It’s really fine.
It’s really no problem.

Remember, ben is used in regular, everyday speaking encounters or informal writing situations (Facebook updates, for example). It’s not used in formal writing. If you see ben used in literature, it’s most likely to only be used in the dialogue portions of the text.

Sometimes you’ll hear ben repeated for emphasis. Some examples pulled from Google results:

C’est ben ben l’fun.
It’s just so much fun.

C’est ben ben plate.
It’s just so boring.

C’est ben ben cute à voir.
It’s just so cute to see.
(Cute is pronounced kioute.)

You’ll also hear it used in pas ben ben:

C’est pas ben ben utile.
It’s really not all that useful.

J’ai pas ben ben le choix.
I really don’t have much of a choice.

C’est pas ben ben clair.
It’s really not all that clear.

Y se force pas ben ben (pour apprendre le français, etc.).
He really doesn’t make much of an effort (to learn French, etc.).

You see? C’est pas ben ben compliqué.

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This text message exchange comes from the Les Parent Facebook page.

Les Parent is a comedy from Québec. The name of the show really is Les Parent and not Les Parents, because Parent is a surname, and a common too — like the singer Kevin Parent. The name of the show means “The Parent Family” and not “The Parents.”

This exchange of textos takes place between Thomas and his mother. The green textos are from the mother, the grey ones from Thomas.

Bonne journée, mon Thomas.
Have a good day, [my] Thomas.

Bonne journée?
Have a good day?

C’est ça, réponds-moi pas.
That’s right, don’t answer me.

On sait ben. C’est juste ta mère qui te texte. Mais si c’est ta blonde ou tes amis, tu réponds dans la SECONDE.
We all know. It’s just your mother texting you. But if it’s your girlfriend or your friends, you answer within a SECOND.

Pas quand je conduis.
Not when I’m driving.

Tu conduis?
You’re driving?



_ _ _

Remember, in Québec the â in lâcher sounds like “aww.” Lawwwche ton cell!

A smartphone is called un téléphone intelligent. Un texto is a text message, and texter (quelqu’un) means “to text (someone).”

on sait ben = on sait bien
ta blonde, your girlfriend
dans la seconde, within a second
lâcher quelque chose, to put something down
un cell, cell phone, mobile phone

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