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Posts Tagged ‘cigarette’

I saw this sign outside a building in Montréal:

Interdiction de fumer et de vapoter à moins de 9 mètres de la porte.

No smoking or vaping within 9 metres of the door.

Vapoter means to smoke an electronic cigarette, fumer une cigarette électronique.

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In the last entry (#717), there was an example of a yes-no question using the inverted form as-tu:

As-tu mal à la tête?
Do you have a headache?

Even though this question uses the inversion, it still works at the conversational level of French in Québec. You can read more about when the inversion is used and avoided in Québec in entry #717.

Another way that you may hear people ask as-tu questions is with the formulation t’as-tu. This formulation is an informal one that you may catch people use during everyday conversations.

Below are some examples. I’ve translated them into informal English to help convey the feel of the t’as-tu form:

T’as-tu vu ça?
Didja see that?

T’as-tu une cigarette?
Ya got a cigarette?

T’as-tu une blonde?
D’ya have a girlfriend?

T’as-tu peur?
You afraid?

All of those questions could have also simply been asked with as-tu rather than t’as-tu. So, where on earth does t’as-tu come from then?

The t’as part of t’as-tu is a contraction of tu as. This contraction occurs very frequently in French, and not just as part of the formulation t’as-tu but anywhere tu and as come together.

The -tu part of t’as-tu is the famous yes-no question marker so prevalent in the French of Québec.

All the questions above can be answered with yes or no. We can understand the -tu part of t’as-tu as meaning “yes or no?” like this:

T’as-tu une blonde?
= Tu as (oui ou non) une blonde?

How is t’as-tu pronounced?

The t’as part sounds like tâ, or like “taw” using an English approximation. The -tu part sounds like tsu. That’s because tu is a tsitsu word, and you remember all about those tsitsu words… right?? So, t’as-tu sounds like tâ-tsu.

Similarly, as-tu sounds like â-tsu.

It’s not necessary for you to adopt t’as-tu to make yourself understood by the Québécois. As-tu is always good. (It’s important to understand t’as-tu though because you’ll be hearing it.) And, of course, you can always use est-ce que, or just make your voice rise at the end of a statement to turn it into a yes-no question.

These questions all ask the same thing:

As-tu compris?
T’as-tu compris?
T’as compris?
Tu as compris?
Est-ce que t’as compris?
Est-ce que tu as compris?

How’s that for variety?

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Le mégot n'est pas un engraisThis little sign in a flowerbed outside the Complexe Desjardins in Montréal reminds people in a unique way to avoid leaving their cigarette butts among the plants:

Le mégot n’est pas un engrais!
SVP utilisez les cendriers

1. Mégot

Un mégot is a cigarette butt, the part of the cigarette that’s left over after it’s been smoked. This sign tells us that cigarette butts are not fertilisers, le mégot n’est pas un engrais!

2. Cendrier

The sign also tells smokers where to put their cigarette butts: in the ashtrays, les cendriers. The word un cendrier can refer to both an ashtray in someone’s home and the tall vertical ones in public places.

3. Botch

In Québec, you may hear another word for mégot during informal conversations: un botch (de cigarette).

Le cendrier était plein de botchs de cigarette.
The ashtray was full of cigarette butts.

Jette pas tes botchs par terre!
Don’t throw your butts on the ground!

4. Botcher

You may also hear the verb botcher, which refers to putting out the cigarette. In fact, you’ve already heard this verb before in a video from a past entry: Jean-François Mercier comically remarks on the fact that his anti-nicotine attack dog Roxie can’t put out cigarettes herself.

Roxie, je le sais que tu comprends pas pourquoi qu’y’a des gens qui fument. J’ai jamais fumé, pis t’as jamais fumé non plus. Pis ça tombe bien parce que t’aurais pas été capable de botcher, à cause que t’es[-t-]un chien…

Roxie, I know you don’t understand why there are people who smoke. I’ve never smoked, and you’ve never smoked either. Which is a good thing because you’d have never been able to put your cigarette out, ‘cos you’re a dog…

Here’s the entire French transcript and translation into English.

5. Puff

Another informal word used in Québec is une puff, which is a puff or drag of smoke. We could also spell it as une poffe. In a scene from the television show Les Parent, Natalie asks for a puff of cigarette from another character:

Me passerais-tu une puff? Juste une p’tite…
Can I have a puff? Just a little one…

[Les Parent, season 4, episode 9, Radio-Canada,
Montréal, 7 November 2011]

Similarly:

Veux-tu une poffe?
Donne-moi une poffe.

Do you want a puff?
Give me a puff.

And a play on words…

Here’s another image related to smoking, this time from Place Ville Marie. The sign reads:

Aire sans fumée
Smoke-free zone

Une aire is a zone.

There’s a play on words happening here. You’ll notice that the letter e in aire is in a different colour to the rest of the text. If we drop that letter, we’re left with:

Air sans fumée
Smoke-free air

Both aire and air are pronounced the same way.

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Roxie, je le sais que tu comprends pas pourquoi qu’y’a (qu’il y a) des gens qui fument. J’ai jamais fumé, pis t’as jamais fumé non plus. Pis ça tombe bien parce que t’aurais pas été capable de botcher, à cause que t’es[-t-]un chien.

Tu le sais, ma belle petite Roxie, la cigarette, c’est dangereux même pour toi. C’est pour ça que je t’ai dressée à attaquer les fumeurs. Je me rappelle le premier fumeur que t’as attaqué.

C’était tellement drôle. Je me souviens, toi t’étais partie à courir vite, vite, vite. Pis lui, ben, il pouvait pas courir à cause que c’est un fumeur. Pis pendant que t’étais en train de planter tes crocs dans sa main toute jaunie, moi, j’étais fier de toi.

Je veux que tu mordes dans la vie, même si pour ça, Roxie, il faut que tu mordes dans des gens qui sentent la vieille chambre d’hôtel. Je t’aime, Roxie.

Un gars le soir est fier de ne pas s’associer au message culpabilisant pour un avenir sans fumée.

Un gars le soir, tous les jours de la semaine, 22 h.

In English:

Roxie, I know you don’t understand why there are people who smoke. I’ve never smoked, and you’ve never smoked either. Which is a good thing because you’d have never been able to put your cigarette out, ‘cos you’re a dog.

You know, my sweet little Roxie, smoking is dangerous, even for you. That’s why I trained you to attack smokers. I remember the first smoker you attacked.

It was so funny. I remember you took off running fast, fast, fast. And he, well, he couldn’t run ‘cos he’s a smoker. And while you were busy digging your fangs into his yellow-stained hand, me, I was proud of you.

I want you to take a bite out of life, Roxie, even if it means that you have to bite people who smell like old hotel rooms. I love you, Roxie.

Un gars le soir is proud to not be associated with this guilt-inducing message for a smoke-free future.

Un gars le soir, every weekday, 22 h.

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