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In the videos I’ve posted to OffQc lately, quite a few informal contractions have come up. It’s imperative to learn these contractions to understand spoken French.

I’ve pulled together a list of these contractions; there’s a link for each one that will take you back to the video where it appeared so you can listen again and learn it.

Here’s something you can try. The sentences below have been written without contractions. Try to say them aloud applying whatever informal contractions are possible from the ones above.

Je suis bien content.
Tu n’es pas tanné?
Je l’ai croisée sur la rue.
Des fois je me fâche.
Il y en a qui disent ça.

Answers

J’su’ ben [chu bin] content. I’m really happy.
T’es pas tanné? You’re not fed up?
Je l’ai croisée s’a rue. I bumped into her in the street.
Des fois j’me fâche. Sometimes I get angry.
Y’en a qui disent ça. Some people say that.

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We’ve seen that je suis can contract in informal language to what sounds like chu or chui. But where does that ch sound come from in chu and chui, considering there isn’t any ch sound in je suis to begin with?

To get the pronunciation chui, je suis contracts to j’suis. Je loses its vowel sound, and the resulting j’s makes the French ch sound. The same thing happens with chu, which is je suis contracted to j’su’s.

So the ch sound comes from j’s.

This is why je sais contracted informally to j’sais sounds like ché. It’s also why je sois contracted to j’sois sounds like choi. Je savais contracted to j’savais sounds like chavais. Anywhere you have the informally contracted j’s, you have the ch sound.

Cynthia Dulude uses the pronunciations j’su’s (chu) and j’sois (choi) in one of her videos in the Listen section.

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Carrot slop again? ffffff... chu tanné de t'ça.

Carrot slop again? Pffffff… chu tanné de ça.

In Montréal today, a woman in her 60s said:

Je suis tannée, je suis tannée de t’ça.
I’m fed up, I’m fed up with it.

What’s de t’ça?

It’s an informal pronunciation that you’ll sometimes hear for de ça.

The de t’ part just sounds like de with a t sound on the end, followed by ça, as if it were deutt ça.

It was a woman in her 60s who said de t’ça, but it can be heard in any age group during informal conversations.

You don’t need to start saying de t’ça yourself. Just learn to recognise it. The regular de ça pronunciation works in any language situation, for example: je suis tanné de ça, or more informally: chu tanné de ça.

If you are going to use de t’ça though, keep it for informal language situations.

By the way, the woman really did say je suis, and not the informal contracted forms j’sus (chu) or j’suis (chui).

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