Posts Tagged ‘comptant’

I heard two strangers say these examples of French yesterday in Montréal. They are both related to money.

1. Est-ce qu’y’a quelqu’un qui a jusse vingt cennes?

A street kid asked this question of all the passers-by around him. It means: “Is there anybody who’s got just twenty cents?”

I’ve written it above exactly as he pronounced it.

est-ce qu’y’a [esskya] = est-ce qu’il y a
jusse = juste
vingt cennes = vingt cents

Cenne is a feminine word, une cenne. It’s an informal pronunciation of cent.

Cent is a masculine word, un cent. When cent means “cent” (as in $0.01), it’s pronounced like the English word “sent.” Don’t pronounce it like the French word for 100 in this sense.

Cent is a more formal usage than cenne. The word cent is used on Canadian coins, for example. In regular conversations, it’s pronounced cenne.

You may remember that sou also means “cent” in Québec.

vingt cennes
vingt sous
twenty cents

The terms cenne noire and sou noir both referred to the penny, but this coin is no longer in circulation in Canada. The noir part referred to the colour that the coin took on through use.

2. Payez-vous débit ou comptant?

A cashier asked me this. It means: “Are you paying by debit or cash?”

When you pay by debit card, the money is taken immediately out of your bank account.

Débit is pronounced débi. Comptant sounds like the French word content. The expression payer comptant means “to pay cash” (and not “to pay happy”!).

Read Full Post »