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Posts Tagged ‘coudonc’

Le petit guide du parler québécoisTo give more depth to your knowledge of Quebec French vocabulary, I can suggest the Petit guide du parler québécois by Mario Bélanger, 3rd edition.

This book is the size of a paperback novel, organised by keywords in alphabetical order. The entries contain useful example sentences.

I like this book for five reasons:

1. affordable ($13)
2. pertinent choice of vocabulary
3. good example sentences
4. culture and pronunciation notes
5. easy to browse

If you’re a word nerd, I’m sure you’ll like it. It’s the sort of book that you can dip into at any point and discover something new.

For the amount of vocab included, $13 is a really good price. There are other books out there for about the same price, even cheaper ones, but the content isn’t very satisfying. The vocabulary presented in this book will be pertinent to your everyday life as a learner of French.

Two sample entries:

The keyword is in bold. The example sentence is in italics. In parentheses, an equivalent in “international” French.

COUDON adv. Coudon, c’est qui ce gars-là? (Au fait, pendant que j’y pense.) R. Déformation de « écoute donc ».

ÉPICERIE n.f. Elle profite de sa sortie pour faire l’épicerie. (Faire le marché.)

I can suggest casually browsing this book to familiarise yourself with lots of vocabulary and examples, and then complement this by listening to large amounts of spoken French from Québec.

When you’re done browsing, it becomes a good reference.

You can buy it or see a sample page here. You can also buy it in the major bookshops in Québec.

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Let’s look at some more informal French from episode 1 of Les Parent, season 5. (It’s still available on tou.tv as I write this.)

The Parent family are all seated at the table eating supper. Louis (the father) asks his youngest son Zak how his maths exam went.

Zak got a low mark on the exam, so he tries to avoid giving his father a direct answer about how he did. When Natalie (his mother) asks Zak what he got on the exam, only then does he admit how poorly he did.

Louis — Coudon Zak, t’étais pas supposé d’avoir le résultat de ton examen de maths aujourd’hui?
Zak — Quel examen?
Louis — Ben… ton examen de maths la semaine passée.
Zak — Ah ouais… c’t’examen-là!
Louis — Oui.
Zak — Ben, euh… c’était correct.
Louis — Correct…?
Zak — Correct comme dans correct, là.
Natalie — Zak, combien t’as eu?
Zak —
Quarante-cinq.
Louis — Combien??!

Here’s the conversation in English:

Louis — Hey Zak, weren’t you supposed to get your mark on your maths exam today?
Zak — What exam?
Louis — Well… your maths exam last week.
Zak — Oh right… that exam!
Louis — Yes.
Zak — Well, uhh… it was okay (an okay mark).
Louis — Okay…?
Zak — Yeah, okay as in okay.
Natalie — Zak, what (mark) did you get?
Zak — Forty-five (%).
Louis — What did you get (how much)??!

A closer look at some of the language from this dialogue:

Coudon is similar to “hey” or “so” in English, in that it can signal that a question is going to be asked. Sometimes it’s also spelled coudonc, but the final c isn’t pronounced.

The expression la semaine passée, or “last week,” contains the â sound in the word passée. (It sounds like pâssée.) Remember that â sounds a little like “aww.” Start listening for â so that you’ll hear just how it sounds.

Both Louis and Zak used the informal ben, which is similar to “well” in English and can serve as a filler word. It sounds like the French word bain.

Zak pronounced cet examen as c’t’examen, or like stexamen.

Both Louis and Zak pronounced correct informally as correc, without the final t.

In this conversation, tu étais was pronounced informally as t’étais, and tu as was pronounced as t’as.

The short form of mathématiques is maths or math. Although you’ll hear some people pronounce it as mats, the pronunciation mat is felt to be more correct regardless of how it’s spelled (with or without the s). Louis used the pronunciation mat.

Useful expression to learn: combien tu as eu? (informally: combien t’as eu?), or “what mark did you get?”

Dialogue from Les Parent, season 5, episode 1, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 17 September 2012.

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