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Posts Tagged ‘ch’t’en’

Yesterday we looked at how je suis can contract when the next word begins with a vowel. For example, je suis en maudit can contract to j’t’en maudit, where j’t’en sounds like ch’t’en.

Let’s look at another informal contraction containing je now.

Je me suis can contract to j’me su’s (sounds like jme su).

J’me su’s posé une question.
I asked myself a question.

C’est bon, que j’me su’s dit.
It’s good, I said to myself.

J’me su’s payé la traite.
I treated myself.

J’me su’s couché tard.
I went to bed late.

Review. Say what all of the following are informal contractions of:

  • j’t’en (sounds like ch’t’en)
  • j’t’à (sounds like ch’t’à)
  • j’t’un (sounds like ch’t’un)
  • j’t’allé (sounds like ch’t’allé)
  • j’pas (sounds like ch’pas)
  • j’me su’ (sounds like jme su)

Answers

  • je suis en
  • je suis à
  • je suis un
  • je suis allé
  • je (ne) suis pas
  • je me suis

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1. In the last entry, we saw how je suis en can contract to j’t’en, where j’ makes a ch sound (ch’t’en).

We’ve seen je suis reduced to just a ch sound before in Lisa LeBlanc’s song J’pas un cowboy (official video on YouTube here). J’pas is a contraction of je (ne) suis pas, and it sounds like ch’pas.

2. In a radio ad, I heard a woman say prendre une marche avec mon chum, to take a walk with my boyfriend.

The expression prendre une marche is a calque of the English expression to take a walk (and felt to be incorrect by certain people for that reason).

3. Parle-moi can be negated informally as parle-moi pas. Parle-moi pas comme ça. Don’t talk to me like that.

The same goes for dis-moi ça (dis-moi pas ça), demande-moi (demande-moi pas), dérange-moi (dérange-moi pas), etc.

4. Learn the phrase on peut-tu…? It means can we…?, is it possible to…? The tu here signals that this is a yes-no question. On peut-tu aller le voir? Can we go see him, it? On peut-tu arrêter de chiâler? Can we stop complaining?

5. OK, not Québécois French, but still of interest — Montréal’s got a street name change in the city centre, boulevard Robert-Bourassa.

If you’re new to OffQc, check out C’est what? 75 mini lessons in conversational Québécois French for an overview of important features of spoken language. (You can buy and download it here immediately.)

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We’ve seen how je suis can contract to what sounds like chu at the informal level of language. But when the next word after chu begins with a vowel, an additional change can occur.

The expression en maudit, for example, means mad as hell, pissed off. Je suis en maudit. I’m mad as hell. I’m pissed off.

But when we apply an informal pronunciation to je suis en maudit, it can sound like ch’t’en maudit. What’s going on here?

The ch sound in ch’t’en is a contraction of je suis. Then a t sound is slipped in before en, which begins with a vowel.

So that’s how je suis en can end up being pronounced as ch’t’en, which you might see written informally as j’t’en.

Can you now say how the following might sound informally?

Je suis en train de…
I’m in the process of…

Je suis en forme.
I’m in shape.

Je suis en burn-out.
I’m burnt out. (Burn-out is pronounced as in English but with the stress on the last syllable.)

Je suis à boutte!
I’ve had it!

Quand je suis arrivé à Montréal…
When I arrived in Montréal…

Je suis allé fumer une cigarette.
I went to smoke a cigarette.

Answers
ch’t’en train de
ch’t’en forme
ch’t’en burn-out
ch’t’à boutte
quand ch’t’arrivé
ch’t’allé fumer

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