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Posts Tagged ‘cogner’

In the photo taken inside a supermarket, we read:

Joyeuse Halloween!
Happy Halloween!

Halloween is a feminine noun. The initial h isn’t pronounced.

Here’s a list of Halloween expressions and vocabulary in French, as used in Québec.

à l’Halloween
on Halloween

passer l’Halloween
to go trick-or-treating

passer de maison en maison
to go from house to house

fêter, célébrer l’Halloween
to celebrate Halloween

décorer la maison
to decorate the house

un costume d’Halloween
Halloween costume

se déguiser en vampire
to dress up as a vampire

ramasser des bonbons
to collect treats

donner de bonnes friandises
to give good candies

un suçon (sucker, lollipop), une tablette/barre de chocolat (chocolat bar), de la gomme à mâcher (chewing gum), un caramel (caramel), de la réglisse (liquorice), un petit sac de chips (small bag of chips)

une petite banque de l’UNICEF
a little UNICEF money box

un squelette (skeleton), une sorcière (witch), une citrouille (pumpkin), un vampire (vampire), un fantôme (ghost), une toile d’araignée (spider web), une princesse (princess), un clown (clown), un loup-garou (werewolf), un cimetière (cemetery)

sonner à la porte
sonner aux portes
to ring the doorbell
to ring doorbells

cogner, frapper à la porte
cogner, frapper aux portes
to knock on the door
to knock on doors

vider, découper et décorer une citrouille
to clean out, carve and decorate a pumpkin

Des bonbons, s’il vous plaît!
Halloweeeeen!
Joyeuse Halloween!

Trick or treat!

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If you take the métro in Montréal, I’m sure you’ve seen some new ads for an energy gum with images of people’s faces all scrunched up. Here are two of them.

What does the text on them mean?

One of the ads says:
Avant de frapper ton mur!

Another one says:
Avant de cogner des clous!

These ads are for an energy gum, so the text in both is telling us that we can chew it if we need a boost. More specifically, avant de frapper ton mur literally means before hitting your wall (i.e., before you reach the point where you can’t go on anymore); avant de cogner des clous literally means before striking nails (i.e., before you nod off to sleep).

frapper son mur
to reach one’s breaking point
to not be able to go on
to get stopped in one’s tracks

This explains why the people in the ads have their faces all scrunched up — they’ve “hit their wall.” The expression frapper un mur also exists, used in the sense of to hit an obstacle.

cogner des clous
to nod off to sleep

Think of a commuter on public transport — his head is bobbing up and down as he falls asleep, wakes up, falls asleep, wakes up… It’s as if his head were a hammer striking nails.

Cogner rhymes with the informal verb pogner that we’ve looked at many times on OffQc. They sound like [kɔɲe] and [pɔɲe]. You can hear pogner pronounced here in this video.

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On Urbania, Kéven Breton writes about the challenge of getting into different bars in Montréal on his wheelchair, in Vie nocturne à roulettes : tous ces bars qui ne veulent pas de moi.

He says some bars pass the test, and others don’t.

And then there are the bars in between… a sort of fake kind of accessible, as in:

Ah ouais c’est accessible chenous monsieur! Vous avez juste à passer par l’arrière, dans la petite ruelle qui pue le cadavre. Y’a une petite porte en métal, à côté des vidanges. Cognez, on va aller vous ouvrir! Pis rendu là, y’a juste deux petites marches!

Yeah sure, we’re accessible here, sir! You just have to go around the back into the alley that smells like a dead body. There’s a small metal door beside the garbage. Knock and we’ll let you in! Then after that, there are only two small steps!

We first looked at Kéven’s use of chenous (chez nous) in #861. Maybe you’ll remember that chez nous can mean “at my place” in Québec, just like chez moi. For example, a person who lives alone might say chez nous to talk about his place, instead of chez moi. And even if you live alone, he might say chez vous to talk about your place, instead of chez toi.

In the example above, we really can understand chez nous to refer to more than one person though. Chez nous here (or chenous) refers to the bar and its employees.

Kéven also used vidanges in his text: à côté des vidanges, or “next to the garbage.” Elsewhere on OffQc, we’ve see the term un sac à vidanges, which is a garbage bag.

Learn the verb cogner! Every learner of French learns to say frapper à la porte for “knock on the door,” but have you learned cogner à la porte too? You need to!

You’ll hear the Québécois use the adjective rendu a lot too. We won’t look at all the uses of rendu here, just the one in the example above. Broadly speaking, rendu means “arrived” or “become.” Using “arrived,” we can say that rendu là means “arrived there” — or in more natural-sounding English: “at that point.”

Finally, the word cadavre… This word can be added to the list of 50 words pronounced with the â sound in Québec but not spelled with the accented â. That’s because cadavre is pronounced cadâvre. Only the second a is pronounced â, not the first one. You can hear it pronounced on this Wiki page, near the bottom.

Kéven also wrote y’a a couple times instead of il y a. If you listen to a lot of spoken French, you know that the most normal way of pronouncing il y a during regular conversations is certainly y’a. The negative form is y’a pas.

You can continue reading Kéven’s text on your own, discover more vocabulary and understand how Kéven feels about accessibility in Montréal bars. (You’ll also find an example of pogner in there, when Kéven says pogner le métro, or grab the métro.)

Summary

chez nous can mean chez moi
chez vous can mean chez toi
à côté des vidanges, beside the garbage
un sac à vidanges, a garbage bag
cognez!, knock!
cogner à la porte, to knock at the door
pis rendu là, then at that point, then after that
cadavre is pronounced cadâvre
y’a is an informal pronunciation of il y a
pogner le métro,
to grab the métro

P.S. Pogner and cogner rhyme. Be sure not to pronounce the g in these words. They sound like ponnyé and connyé.

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Quote by Kéven Breton in Vie nocturne : tous ces bars qui ne veulent pas de moi, on Urbania, 7 October 2014.

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