Posts Tagged ‘capoter’

A young man said in French an equivalent of I’m getting fed up. To say this, he used the adjective tanné (fed up), which is frequently heard in colloquial French.

Here’s what he said:

J’commence à êt’ tanné!
I’m gettin’ fed up!

If you’ve read Contracted French and listened to the files that come with it, you’ll remember that a contracted j’ before c makes the French ch sound. J’commence sounds like ch’commence.

With être, the final re has a tendency of dropping in speech: êt’. (The final t is pronounced.)

Can you now say what je capote sounds like in spoken language when it contracts? For example, what might the following sound like?

Ah wow, je capote!
Ah wow, I’m ecstatic (about it)!

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I took a look at some of the search terms visitors have used recently to land on OffQc via Google. In this post, I’ll try to provide the answers these visitors were looking for.

The search terms (in blue) are reproduced here exactly as the visitor spelled them in Google.

french canadian pronunciation of the word “pet” (fart)

The French word for fart is un pet. What I think you were probably wondering is whether or not the t on the end of pet is pronounced. The answer is yes. You’ll hear pet pronounced pètt in Québec.

le mot quebecois away la

The word you’re looking for is enweille or aweille. (The weille part sounds like the English word way. Other spellings are used as well, like awèye and enwèye.) Saying enweille! to someone is a way of motivating that person (as in you can do it!) or telling that person to get a move on, to hurry up (as in come on!).

For example, a coach might say enweille! to his players to encourage them (i.e., let’s go, you can do it!), or an angry parent might say it to his dillydallying child (i.e., come on, let’s go, move it!).

The expression let’s go! is also used in French, and it might be used alongside enweille:

Enweille, let’s go, let’s go!
You can do it, let’s go, let’s go!

Enweille, let’s go, let’s go!
Hurry up, let’s go, let’s go!

The Google searcher also wrote la in his search terms, which is of course là. can be used with enweille for emphasis: Enweille, là!

meaning je capote

Je capote can mean either I love it! (when happy) or I’m flipping out! (when angry).

For example, if someone’s really excited about something (winning a prize, for example), that person might say je capote! (I love it! This is so awesome!). A person who’s really angry about something might also say je capote! (I’m flipping out! I’m freaking out!).

The spontaneously used pronunciation is in fact j’capote, which sounds like ch’capote. 

expression prendre une brosse

The Québécois expression prendre une brosse means to get drunk, wasted, sloshed, etc. A variation on this expression is virer une brosse.

tu es fine in English

Tu es fine literally means you’re nice, you’re kind. It can also be translated as that’s kind of you. Fine is the feminine form. The masculine form is fin.

Remember, tu es contracts to t’es in regular speech (sounds like ), so you’ll hear it said spontaneously as t’es fine (for a woman) and t’es fin (for a man).

Other ways you can hear it said are: t’es ben fine, t’es ben fin and t’es don’ ben fine, t’es don’ ben fin. Ben sounds like the French word bain; it’s a contraction of bien. Ben fine and ben fin mean very kind, very nice. Don’ (from donc) adds even more emphasis. T’es don’ ben fine! (to a woman) You’re really kind! You’re really nice! That’s so very kind of you!

capoti bain bain raide

What you want is capoter ben ben raide. Here’s the verb capoter again. Capoter ben raide means to totally flip out (in anger), to flip out big time, to totally lose it, etc.

Again, ben is a contraction of bien; it sounds like the French word bain. It means really here, and it can be repeated for emphasis. Raide literally means stiff, but it’s used here to reinforce, like ben.

J’ai capoté ben raide!
I totally flipped out! I totally lost it! I lost it big time!

en calvaire québécois

In a recent post, we saw that être en tabarnak is a vulgar way of saying to be angry, similar to the English to be pissed off. Être en calvaire means the same thing. If you’re en calvaire, then you’re pissed off.

En calvaire can also be used as a rude reinforcer, like a vulgar version of the word très. (This goes for en tabarnak as well.) I’ fait chaud en calvaire, for example, means it’s really goddamn hot out.

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By “informal,” I mean a word or expression far more likely to be found in normal, spontaneous, everyday language — between friends and family, for example — than in high literature or business correspondence or news reports.

In many posts on OffQc, you’ve no doubt noticed that I very often say that such-and-such a word or expression is an informal usage. Maybe you’ve even begun to wonder if all Québécois words and expressions are informal…

They’re not. There are many words and expressions unique to Québec that you’re just as likely to hear in everyday, spontaneous language as you are in a televised news report or formal language, in the same way that words like téléphone and café can cross language levels.

Below are some examples of both informal and level-neutral Québécois French.

Informal (between friends, for example)

  • pogner, to grab, catch
  • checker, to check
  • c’est-tu…?, is it…?, is that…?
  • capoter, to flip out
  • m’as, I’m gonna (+ infinitive)
  • c’est don’ bin cute!, is that ever cute!
  • pis là, and then
  • faque, so
  • enweille!, come on then!
  • un char, car

Level-neutral (not limited to one language level)

  • un cégépien, cégep student
  • faire l’épicerie, to go food shopping
  • magasiner, to shop, shop around for
  • une tête-de-violon, fiddlehead
  • la poudrerie, blowing snow
  • un melon d’eau, watermelon
  • une pourvoirie, grounds where you can hunt, fish, trap
  • à l’arrêt, at the stop sign
  • un téléroman, soap opera
  • un REER, retirement investment, pronounced ré-èr

It’s true that a lot of the language on OffQc falls more in the informal category than the level-neutral one. I do this because this is the language that’s more difficult to learn.

Informal words and expressions are less likely to appear in dictionaries and learning materials than the level-neutral ones. Informal usages are also sometimes “hidden” from learners by language instructors who judge them negatively or, outside of Québec, may be unknown to them if they aren’t familiar with the Québécois variety of French.

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Oh all right, I’m not that cruel… 🙂

Here are the answers to the Québécois French and Montréal quiz from #982, with a short explanation as to why each answer is the correct one.

If you click on the thumbnail, you’ll get the full size.

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In the 1000 Québécois French guide, there’s an example sentence (#49) that reads:

Y va capoter si j’y dis ça!
He’s gonna lose it if I tell him that!

Let’s look at the two uses of y in that example, which mean different things.

If we cancel out the informal spellings in the example, we get:

Il va capoter si je lui dis ça!

In conversational language, both il and lui (when used in the sense of à lui or à elle) can contract. Il can contract to i’, and lui to ‘i. So, they both sound like i in their contracted forms. When these informal features show up in writing, they’re usually written as y.

Knowing this, can you say how the following might be pronounced informally in a conversation?

je lui donne
je lui ai donné
je lui ai dit
je lui ai demandé

Lui can contract after other subjects, but let’s leave that for another post.

Remember, lui can only contract like this in informal language when it means à lui, à elle. In pour lui, avec lui, à côté de lui, etc., lui is still pronounced as… lui.


j’y donne
j’y ai donné
j’y ai dit
j’y ai demandé

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In a conversation, a guy said j’capote avec ça ben raide.

When someone says j’capote, you can be sure that person has lost their calm.

What you need the context to tell you though is if the person has lost their calm in a good way (because of excitement, happiness…) or in a bad way (because of anger, worry…).

J’ai gagné! J’capote!
I won! I’m so happy! I’m so excited!

J’capote… j’ai perdu toutes mes photos.
I’m freaking out… I lost all my photos.

The guy who said j’capote avec ça ben raide used j’capote in its negative sense. He was distressed.

J’capote avec ça ben raide.
I’m totally freaking out about it.

Ben raide is an informal intensifier, similar in meaning to English’s totally. Remember, ben is pronounced bin. It sounds like the French word bain. The informally contracted j’capote sounds like ch’capote.

The guy didn’t just say capoter – he said capoter avec.

Capote pas avec ça.
Arrête don’ de capoter avec ça.
Don’t freak out about it/that.
Stop freaking out about it/that.

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I’m working on a new downloadable guide for purchase. Now that OffQc is approaching 1000 posts, this guide will be a condensed version of all the language that has appeared here over the last four years.

The guide will contain 1000 example sentences from the conversational level of Québécois French, each example accompanied by usage and pronunciation notes. It’s looking really good so far (and big! I’m about 60% of the way through). I’m really excited to make it available because it’s going to make a serious difference to your knowledge of Québécois French to have everything together in one file.

Everybody who’s bought C’est what? or Say it in French has automatically been entered into a draw to receive a free copy of it when it’s ready. (I’ve got everybody’s email address.) If you bought both, you’ve been entered twice. When it’s ready, I’ll pick 5 winners. I’ll also add to the draw anybody who buys C’est what? or Say it in French between now and the release date of the new guide. 🙂

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