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Posts Tagged ‘Bernard Adamus’

A little while ago, Joyce requested we look at lyrics by Bernard Adamus. So far, we’ve looked at the wording donne-moi-z-en here, and an informal pronunciation of the subject pronoun elle here, both of which were taken from his lyrics.

Let’s look at something new from him:

un vingt dins poches

This is taken from his song Donne-moi-z’en. What does dins mean?

First, dins is pronounced as if it were written dain in French. It rhymes with the French words bain and main. In other words, the ins of dins is the nasalised in sound.

Dins is in fact a contraction. It’s a contraction of dans + les.

un vingt dins poches
= un vingt dans les poches

a twenty(-dollar bill) in her pocket (literally, a twenty in the pockets)

In another song by Bernard Adamus (Arrange-toi avec ça), he uses:

dins chars
dins parcs
dins rues

These mean in the cars, in the parks, in the streets. Dans les chars, dans les parcs, dans les rues.

What if the word after dins begins with a vowel?

dins années 50

In this case, the liaison is heard. The s transfers to the beginning of the next word. So that last example sounds like:

dins z’années 50

The s on the end of dins comes from the s of les. In its uncontracted form, the s of les would also be transferred:

dans les z’années 50

Dins is a spoken, informal usage.

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Take a look at these examples of French:

– à part le matin
– à m’tanne avec ça
– à shake d’l’épaule

All three phrases come from the song Donne-moi-z’en by Bernard Adamus. (Do you remember we looked at the meaning of donne-moi-z-en here?)

In the phrases above, you might think à is the preposition à, but in fact it’s not. This à is an informal pronunciation of the subject pronoun elle that you’ll often hear in spoken language. (It sounds just like the preposition à, though.)

The phrases above are spoken equivalents of:

– elle part le matin
– elle me tanne avec ça
– elle shake de l’épaule

Knowing then that à is an informal pronunciation of elle, do you now understand the meaning of the three phrases?

à part le matin
she leaves in the morning

à m’tanne avec ça
she gets on my case about it, she goes on and on about it to me, etc.

à shake d’l’épaule
she shakes her shoulder (she shakes from the shoulder)

The informal verb shaker is pronounced like the English shake + é. The conjugated form shake sounds like the English shake.

In à m’tanne avec ça, the vowel of me has dropped. Shift the m’ to the end of à, then say tanne.

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In #1060, we started looking at how en is used in French. From that series of posts, you’ll remember that, loosely speaking, en means some, (some) of it, (some) of them.

J’en veux.
I want some.

J’en veux un.
I want one of them.

The meaning of donne-moi-z-en, then, isn’t too hard to figure out:

Donne-moi-z-en.
Give me some.
Give me some of it.
Give me some of them, etc.

Donne-moi-z-en deux.
Give me two of them.

But what’s that zed doing in there?

It’s there because it’s providing a buffer between the words moi and en, to avoid saying donne-moi en.

Although you’ll hear donne-moi-z-en, it’s important to remember that this is considered an informal usage heard in spoken language. It’s okay to use it with friends during conversations, but don’t use it on your French exam if you’re expected to use standard written grammar. In this case, use m’en instead of moi-z-en. Donne-m’en deux. Give me two of them.

Inspiration for this post: Donne-moi-z’en, Bernard Adamus

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