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Posts Tagged ‘capable’

During a conversation, someone said:

J’p’us capab’.

It means I can’t take it anymore, I can’t deal with it anymore, I can’t stand it anymore, I’m sick of it, I’ve had it, etc.

Looking at j’p’us capab’, you can see there are a number of contractions in there (apostrophes), so let’s look here at what those contractions are. Then we’ll look at the pronunciation of j’p’us capab’; it’s not nearly as hard as it looks.

First, let’s back up: je ne suis plus capable is the full version of this example, with all words written in their uncontracted form. It literally means I am no longer capable. We’ll start from this full form.

Je ne suis plus capable.

The final le of words like capable, table, diable, etc., can drop in colloquial speech, so capable can be pronounced informally as capab’. Now we have:

Je ne suis plus capab’.

Ne plus is a negator meaning no more, not anymore, no longer. The ne of ne plus drops in colloquial language, leaving just plus. Now we have:

Je suis plus capab’.

Plus sounds like plu. Informally, plus can contract to p’us, which sounds like pu. Now we have:

Je suis p’us capab’.

Now comes the contraction of je suis. Je suis contracts all the way down to j’ here. Now we have:

J’p’us capab’.

Right, so that takes us to what the speaker said. But how do you pronounce j’p’us anyway? When a contracted j’ comes before a p as it does here, it sounds like the French ch (like the ch in chez). So here’s how our example sounds:

chpu capab

It’s really quite fascinating — we went from seven syllables (je ne suis plus capable) all the way down to three (j’p’us capab’). If you’ve ever wondered why you struggle so much to understand spoken French, that’s probably one of the biggest reasons why — contractions.

I’m working on a new e-guide for sale — this one will be about all the main contractions you need to know to understand spoken French as it’s used in Québec. When it’s ready, it’ll go up for sale in the OffQc store with the other guides, which you should go buy now (as in là, là) if you haven’t done so already, of course. 😀

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Here’s a fictitious text message conversation between two brothers (Zak and Oli) taken from the Québécois television comedy Les Parent.

You can click on the phone to enlarge it.

Oli, es-tu réveillé?
Oli, are you awake?

Ouais… Pas capable de dormir.
Yeah… Can’t sleep.

Lol! Moi non plus. J’entends ronfler jusque dans ma chambre.
Lol! Neither can I. I can hear the snoring all the way in my room.

Je sais. Imagine quand tu dors dans le même lit.
I know. Imagine what it’s like when you sleep in the same bed.

Yark! Grand-p’pa devrait clairement se faire opérer les fosses nasales! Lol!
Yuck! Granddad obviously needs to get his nostrils operated! Lol!

Heu… C’est ma blonde qui ronfle.
Uh… It’s my girlfriend who’s snoring.

Notes

Réveillé means “awoken” (awoken from sleep). Debout means “up” (physically out of bed).

Learn the difference between moi aussi and moi non plus. Moi aussi means “me too.” Moi non plus means “me neither.”

— J’aime ça. I like that.
— Moi aussi. So do I.

— J’aime pas ça. I don’t like that.
— Moi non plus. Neither do I.

Capable often sounds like capab’ when it’s pronounced informally. Chu pas capab’ de dormir. I can’t sleep.

Une blonde is used in Québec for “girlfriend.”

This show is called Les Parent and not Les Parents. Parent is the family’s surname. The title translated into English is “The Parent Family.”

In French, you never put an s on a surname in the plural, no matter what the ethnic background: les Tremblay, les Rossi, les Jackson.

Because this comedy deals with the trials of being a parent, the title is in fact also a play on words (les Parent sounds like les parents).

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I came across a little sign in a sports equipment store. It says:

Faites votre frais avec ce gilet.

There’s word play going on here… To understand it, you first need to know the expression faire son frais as used in Québec.

One of the advantages of this gilet is that it’s been designed to keep you cool, or frais, when you wear it.

That’s why the author of this sign chose the expression faire son frais to promote it — it allows for wordplay on frais, “cool.”

What does faire son frais mean?

Faire son frais means “to show off” in Québec.

There are two forms to this expression: a masculine form (faire son frais) and a feminine form (faire sa fraîche).

What this sign is telling us is that we can show off by wearing this gilet, with the added meaning conveyed by the word frais that it will keep you cool.

Faites votre frais avec ce gilet.
Show off with this shirt.
(and keep cool)

More examples of faire son frais…

As usual, I went digging around on the web looking for good examples of the expression faire son frais, faire sa fraîche. Here’s what I found. Remember, you can click on all the images to see a larger size.

A Facebook update reads:

Ce chien fait son frais dans une Porsche!

This dog is showing off in a Porsche!

In the image, we see a dog poking its body out the window, showing off as he rides in a Porsche.

On a site called Gros Blogue, I found an article about the best selfie of the year. They displayed images of different selfies taken by celebrities.

For one of the selfies in particular, the caption used the expression faire son frais:

Joseph Gordon-Levitt qui fait son frais dans sa limousine.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt who’s showing off in his limousine.

The smug look on his face says it all… faire son frais!

And the feminine form faire sa fraîche

But what about the feminine form faire sa fraîche? All the examples that follow refer to females (or feminine nouns).

A blog author expresses dislike for the show Tout le monde en parle and has this to say about it:

J’écoute que très rarement l’émission Tout le monde en parle, je suis vraiment pas capable de Guy A. Lepage, Dany Turcotte et de l’espèce de pétasse prétentieuse qui fait sa fraîche avec son vin.

I only watch the show Tout le monde en parle very rarely. I really can’t stand Guy A. Lepage, Dany Turcotte and the pretentious bitch who shows off with her wine.

Side note 1: Do you remember the informal expression pas capab’? If someone says chu pas capab’ de Guy A. Lepage, it means “I can’t stand Guy A. Lepage.” In entry #812, we saw examples of this expression, like: Moi là, l’hiver, pas capab’, which means that the person can’t stand winter.

Side note 2: The verb écouter is used very frequently in Québec to talk about watching a television show. Regarder is also used in Québec, but know that you’ll probably hear écouter used more often: écouter une émission, to watch a show.

In another example, a blog commenter writes a sentence that mentions a sister-in-law showing off with a new coat from France:

La belle-sœur faisait sa fraîche avec son manteau commandé en France (…).

The sister-in-law was showing off with her coat ordered from France.

And in this last example, the author of an article about cars comments on the lack of style of a particular model of Hyundai:

Donc, aussi digne de notre attention fût-elle, cette petite machine n’a jamais fait sa fraîche au chapitre du style.

So, as much as (this car) was worthy of our attention, it’s never stood out (lit., showed off) as far as style goes.

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Pu capab' !

Pus capab’, moé !

Moi là, l’hiver, pas capable!

Literal translation:
Personally, the winter, not capable!

Huh??
Not capable of what?
Not capable of standing the winter, of course!

Moi là, l’hiver, pas capable!
Personally, I can’t stand the winter!

The le in capable often drops in colloquial speech: capab’. It sounds like capabe.

Moi là, l’hiver, pas capab’!

Honnêtement là, c’te fille-là, pas capab’!
Honestly, I can’t stand that girl!

C’te is an informally contracted form of cette. To understand what c’te sounds like, first say te. Now put an s sound at the beginning of it: ste.

People also say chu pas capab’. Remember, chu is an informally contracted form of je suis. So chu pas capab’ is a contracted form of the much less informal sounding je ne suis pas capable.

Chu pas can contract even further to ch’pas. Maybe this contraction will remind you of Lisa LeBlanc’s song J’pas un cowboy, where j’pas is pronounced ch’pas. I’ll use the spelling ch’pas here because it’s more phonetic, but remember that you might read j’pas instead in authentic texts.

L’hiver, ch’pas capab’.
I can’t stand the winter.

C’te fille-là, ch’pas capab’.
I can’t stand that girl.

J’aime tous mes voisins. Y’a juste toi que ch’pas capab’.
I like all my neighbours. You’re the only one I can’t stand.

Ouch!

If pas capab’ means “can’t stand it,” then pu capab’ means “can’t stand it anymore.” Remember, pu is an informally contracted form of plus, which means “no more.” It’s also often spelled pus (don’t pronounce the s).

C’te fille-là, pu capab’.
I can’t stand that girl anymore.

Ch’pus capab’ d’habiter au centre-ville.
I can’t stand living downtown anymore.

Honnêtement là, l’hiver, ch’pu capab’.
Honestly, I can’t stand the winter anymore.

Lots of contractions in this post! If you can manage them, you’ll go a long way in making your French sound more natural.

If these contractions are still too challenging for you, don’t stress out about it. Keep listening to lots of spoken French and you may just find that you start using them without having to think too much about it.

Image credit: Watyrfall

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Oh hello, good morning!

Well good morning to you too!

In Québec, you’ll hear merde (shit) pronounced as marde.

Today’s a shitty day. Not because it’s a bad day but because marde is our word for today. Here are 13 example sentences of how marde likes to be kept busy in Québec.

It keeps your enemies entertained.

1. Mange don d’la marde.
Eat shit.

2. Qu’y mangent don d’la marde.
They can eat shit.

It keeps crappy objets company…

3. Crisse d’ordi à marde!
Fucking shitty computer!

… as well as crappy people.

4. Osti d’chien sale à marde!
You fucking shitty asshole!

It pays visits to people in a pickle.

5. Chu dans marde.
I’m so screwed.

6. T’es dans marde, man.
You’re screwed, man.

Shitty idea? Shitty day? Hell, shitty life? Why not.

7. Non mais quelle idée d’marde.
What a shitty idea that is.

8. Bonne journée d’marde à toi!
Have a shitty day!

9. Maudite vie d’marde.
Goddamn shitty life.

People can be treated like it.

10. Y me traite comme d’la marde.
He treats me like shit.

11. Y me parle comme d’la marde.
He talks to me like shit.

It loves the stink…

12. Ouache, ça pue la marde!
Yuck, it smells like shit!

… and the wintertime.

13. Chu pu capab d’la marde blanche.
I can’t stand the snow (white shit) anymore.

***

What is don in the first two examples? It’s how donc is pronounced. I used the spelling don so that you wouldn’t be tempted to pronounce it as donk. But are you wondering why donc is even used in these examples to begin with? Don’t try to analyse it too much; you’ll often come across donc in declarations like these. It sounds better with it!

Do you remember to dzidzuate and tsitsuate? Maudzite journée d’marde. Crisse d’ordzi à marde. Ostsi d’chien sale à marde. If you forget to do your dz and ts, don’t worry — you’ll still be understood. If you can manage it though, it’ll sound a lot more authentic. If you use the offcois nouns le dzidzu and le tsitsu with your French prof, he’ll either worry that you know something he doesn’t or think you’ve gone batshit crazy.

Don’t forget that il and ils are most often pronounced as y (or i) when people speak colloquially. Y me traite comme d’la marde means the same thing as il me traite comme d’la marde. Remember too that je suis very often contracts to chu, and tu es becomes t’es.

In 13, chu pu capab means the same thing as je ne suis plus capable. There’s a lot of contraction going on here! Je suis became chu, plus became pu (also spelled informally as pus), and capable lost its le sound on the end.

Bonne journée d’marde à vous tous!
Have a shitty day everybody!

_ _ _

Related reading: Ma vie, c’est de la marde! (#803)

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