Posts Tagged ‘chum’

During a conversation, a guy said a French equivalent of my friend’s father. But he didn’t use the word ami, and he didn’t use de either.

Can you guess how he said it?

You’ve learned to show possession with de. For example, la maison de mon père means my father’s house. But there’s another way to show possession you should learn to understand — instead of de, it uses à.

Here’s what the guy said:

le père à mon chum
my friend’s father

Using à like this instead of de to show possession is felt to be an informal usage.

Finally, the guy referred to his friend as his chum. The ch in chum is pronounced the English way, not the French way. Chum sounds as though it were written tchomme in French. (Tch in French makes the same sound as the English ch, like the ch in church.) Chum is an informal Québécois equivalent of ami here.

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On a wall in a shopping centre in Montréal, I came across these blocks of text providing reasons to go shopping there. Let’s look at two of them.


C’est la fête de ma blonde.
It’s my girlfriend’s birthday.

Sushi avec la gang du bureau.
Sushi with the office crew.

Fête can be used to refer to a birthday. C’est ma fête aujourd’hui, for example, means it’s my birthday today. C’est la fête de ma blonde means it’s my girlfriend’s birthday, where une blonde is a girlfriend. Un gâteau de fête is a birthday cake. Bonne fête! Happy birthday!

Une blonde is a girlfriend, and un chum is a boyfriend. Blonde and chum might also be used to refer to a spouse. On the Wikitionnaire page for blonde, we find this usage note:

Traditionnellement, au Québec, les mots chum et blonde servent à désigner l’ami et l’amie de cœur, par opposition à mari/femme, époux/épouse ou conjoint/conjointe pour les couples mariés. Toutefois, depuis les années 1990, il est fréquent d’entendre des couples mariés utiliser les mots chum et blonde pour désigner le conjoint. Ce phénomène est attribuable à une image «vieux jeu» du mariage et à une volonté de ne pas révéler clairement si le couple est officiellement marié ou non. Cet usage est assez fréquent mais critiqué par certains qui le voient comme une dévalorisation du mariage.

In short, it says that chum and blonde were traditionally used to refer to boyfriends and girlfriends; however, since the 1990s, some married couples may also use them to avoid revealing their marital status or because other terms, like mari and femme, strike them as sounding old-fashioned. Some people see this usage as a corrosion of values regarding marriage.

Gang here is a feminine noun pronounced like its English equivalent. It can be used to refer to a group of friends (e.g., sortir avec la gang). La gang du bureau is an informal way to refer to one’s office co-workers.

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The autumn edition of the magazine Urbania (numéro 31) was devoted entirely to the theme of babies. And of course the first thing that comes to mind when you think of babies is caca.

They even devoted two pages to analysing the contents of a diaper to determine how well bébé is doing.

Vert-brun, brun dur et sec, jaune foncé, noir, brun aqueux… author Julie Chaumont explained the meaning of all these cacas (and more), by their odour, consistency, frequency, ingredients and quantity.

I can’t go through all of the descriptions here, so we’ll just take a peek at the caca that Julie describes as jaune moutarde, doré, parfois tacheté vert. This poop is the result of a baby who’s been breastfed.

She describes the odour of this caca in these terms:

Douce, pas désagréable. Mon chum dit que ça sent la bouffe du McDo.

Douce (and not doux), because she’s describing the odeur of the caca. Odeur is feminine. She explains that her chum (it’s not clear what their marital status is!) says that this poo smells like the food (la bouffe) from McDonalds (McDo).

With yesterday’s entry about the food at Valentine, I think that I’ve served you enough fast food these past two days. Except this time it’s much messier because the author says that these cacas peuvent exploser et sortir […] de tous côtés de la couche…

[Quote above by Julie Chaumont, in “Les deux mains dedans,” Urbania (Montréal), no. 31, p. 54.]

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