Posts Tagged ‘CBC’

The CBC’s Canada Writes published an interview about OffQc today. Take a look when you get the chance. They asked me why it’s difficult to learn French the “traditional” way, how to keep your ears and eyes fresh, as well as some questions about me and the blog.


When French borrows a word from English, it often becomes masculine in French. But when you’re listening to French spoken by the Québécois, have you noticed that some borrowed words became feminine instead?

Here are just seven of them:

  • toast
  • job
  • joke
  • pinotte
  • sandwich
  • traite
  • bullshit!

Below are examples of how you could hear these words used. The examples were all written by Mario Bélanger in his book Petit guide du parler québécois, which I reviewed in an earlier entry.

For each example, I’ve included a translation into English.

Je veux une toast et un café.
I want toast and coffee.

Tu as une job qui te plaît.
(remember: tu as contracts to t’as in conversations)
You’ve got a job that you like.

C’est pas grave. C’est juste une joke.
It’s no big deal. It’s just a joke.

J’ai le goût de manger des pinottes.
I feel like eating peanuts.

Veux-tu une sandwich au jambon?
Do you want a ham sandwich?

C’est à mon tour de payer la traite.
It’s my turn to treat.

Cette publicité, c’est de la bullshit!
(bullshit is pronounced boulechitte)
This advertisement is bullshit!

For the words job and sandwich, a masculine form exists too (la job, le job; la sandwich, le sandwich). During regular, everyday conversations in Québec, you’re more likely to hear the feminine form. The masculine form of these two words appears more frequently in writing.

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An orange bug parked in Montréal

An orange bug parked in Montréal

1. Ton p’tit nom, c’est quoi?

What’s your name?

Someone I had just met turned the conversation to our names. He asked what my name was with: ton p’tit nom, c’est quoi? Your petit nom is your first name.

2. Celui-là est malade!

That one’s amazing!

In a shopping centre, there was a display of famous structures made entirely of Mega Bloks (Eiffel Tower, Colosseum, Maracanã Stadium, etc.).

A girl passed by, pointed to one of the structures and exclaimed: celui-là est malade! The structure wasn’t ill — it was amazing.

3. Excusez-moi, le centre d’achats ferme à cinq heures?

Excuse me, does the shopping centre close at five?

A woman asked at the information desk of a shopping centre if it would close at five o’clock. Un centre d’achats is a shopping centre.

4. Tu comptes rester là jusqu’à quelle heure?

What time do you think you’ll be there until?

A guy in his 20s talking on his mobile phone asked this of the person he was speaking with.

5. C’est la vie

If you haven’t already discovered C’est la vie from the CBC, take a look (or, more accurately, a listen). C’est la vie is an audio programme in English with podcasts related to the culture and French of Québec.

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