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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?

OUI!
YES!

LÂCHE TON CELL TOUT DE SUITE, TU M’ENTENDS!
DROP YOUR CELL IMMEDIATELY, YOU HEAR ME!

_ _ _

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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