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Posts Tagged ‘de t’ça’

Let’s take a regular French sentence as it would be written in codified French (i.e., the standardised form of language taught in French classes, used mostly in writing, described in grammar books, etc.), and then modify it one step at a time to take it to a colloquial sounding equivalent.

Let’s use the French for he’s not scared of that.

The French for to be scared of is avoir peur de. In French, you have fear of something, so you use avoir and never être to say this.

Using avoir peur de, we can say he’s not scared of that in French as il n’a pas peur de ça.

As a first step to making this sound colloquial, let’s remove the ne in the ne pas construction because colloquial language avoids the use of ne like the plague. This gives us il a pas peur de ça.

Now that il and a come together, they can morph into a single unit sounding like ya. This gives us y’a pas peur de ça.

Finally, in colloquial language, you’ll often hear de ça pronounced as de t’ça. To say this, just put a t sound on the end of de, then say ça.

il n’a pas peur de ça
il a pas peur de ça
y’a pas peur de ça
y’a pas peur de t’ça

Let’s try another: she didn’t talk to me about that. As a starting point, we’ll use elle ne m’a pas parlé de ça.

Our first step is to remove the ne, leaving us with elle m’a pas parlé de ça.

Do you know how you you might hear the subject elle pronounced in spoken language? It can sound just like the French word à. We’ll use the spelling à’ here, where the apostrophe represents the contracted L sound of elle. This gives us à’ m’a pas parlé de ça.

Finally, we can apply the same change to de ça as in our first example above: à’ m’a pas parlé de t’ça.

elle ne m’a pas parlé de ça
elle m’a pas parlé de ça
à’ m’a pas parlé de ça
à’ m’a pas parlé de t’ça

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Refresh your French or get caught up: The OffQc book 1000 Québécois French is a condensed version of all the language that appeared in the first 1000 posts on OffQc. You can buy and download it here.

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A mother in Montréal spoke with her young boy. The boy made a comment in jest; laughing, his mother retorted, “You sure of that?”

Can you say how she might’ve asked this in French?

Here’s what she asked:

T’es sûr de t’ça, toi?
You sure of that?

T’es is a spoken form of tu es — it sounds like té.

What about de t’ça?

De t’ça simply means de ça; it’s a spoken form that you’ll hear frequently in conversations. How is it pronounced? Say de with a t sound on the end of it, then say ça.

If you’re wondering now if you need to say de t’ça instead of de ça, you don’t. De ça is always fine, even when speaking informally with francophone friends. But you can also try it out, if you really want to.

If you know how the yes-no tu works in spoken language, maybe your guess as to how the mother said this was one of these:

T’es-tu sûr de ça, toi?
T’es-tu sûr de t’ça, toi?

Although possible, that’s not how she said it.

Remember, in t’es-tu, the only part that means you is t’. The tu here serves only to transform t’es into a yes-no question. (This tu serves the same purpose as est-ce que.)

If your answer to the question used tu es instead of t’es, know that you’re not very likely to hear that in spoken language. Tu es virtually always contracts to t’es, unless the speaker wishes to give particular emphasis to his words.

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On TV, a speaker said:

en plus de ça

I don’t remember the whole of what he said, but we can imagine an example like this:

J’ai voyagé partout et, en plus de ça, j’ai été payé pour me déplacer.
I travelled everywhere and, what’s more, I was paid to travel.

When the speaker said en plus de ça, he used an informal pronunciation. What he said in fact sounded like this:

en plus de t’ça

If you want to try to pronounce it yourself to hear how it sounds, here’s how to do it:

First, say de aloud. Now say de with a t sound on the end of it. Now add ça after that. That gets you de t’ça.

Now you can say en plus de t’ça, where plus sounds like plu.

This informal pronunciation of de ça as de t’ça isn’t uncommon at all. You’ll hear it frequently in informal conversations. It can occur whenever de ça is used, and not just in the expression en plus de ça.

That said, you don’t need to adopt de t’ça yourself (de ça is always acceptable, even in informal conversations), but do learn to recognise it.

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Can you say the five English sentences below in an informal style of French? Say your answer aloud, applying whatever informal contractions are possible.

In the answers below, I’ve given both an informal, spoken version and a version without contractions so that you can see the difference between the two.

Say in French

  1. I’m not kidding you.
  2. Now I’ve had it! (use tanné in your answer)
  3. You’re not serious?! (as in: Are you for real?!)
  4. Ha! That’s a good one!
  5. We’re gonna talk about that.

Answers

The versions typically heard in spoken language are in blue.

1. I’m not kidding you. Je ne te niaise pas, which can be heard in spoken language as j’te niaise pas. The contracted j’te sounds like ch’te.

2. Now I’ve had it! Là, je suis tanné!, which can be heard in spoken language as là, j’su’ tanné! The contracted j’su’ sounds like chu.

3. You’re not serious?! Tu n’es pas sérieux?!, which can be heard in spoken language as t’es pas sérieux?! The contracted t’es sounds like té.

4. Ha! That’s a good one! Ha! Elle est bien bonne, celle-là!, which can be heard in spoken language as Ha! ‘Est ben bonne, celle-là! The contracted ‘est sounds like è. Ben sounds like the French word bain.

5. We’re gonna talk about that. On va parler de ça, which may also be heard in spoken language as on va parler de t’ça. De t’ça sounds like de with a t sound on the end, followed by ça. Ça in de ça and de t’ça rhymes with the words pas and chat in this video.

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Here’s an example of informal language that came up in a conversation:

Ôte-toi de d’là.
Get out of the way.

Ôte-toi de d’là is an informal pronunciation of ôte-toi de là. Before we look at what’s going on with the de d’là part, let’s look first at the verb.

The ô in the verb ôter is pronounced exactly as written, like ô. It sounds the vowel sound in beau or faux. So ôter sounds like ôté.

ôter quelque chose
to remove something

s’ôter
to remove oneself
to move (oneself) off, away, etc.

ôte-toi
remove yourself
move off
shove off, etc.

de là
from there

ôte-toi de là
get out of the way

We’ve seen before that de ça can be pronounced informally as de t’ça. It sounds like de with a t sound on the end, followed by ça.

parle pas de t’ça
don’t talk about that

Parle pas de t’ça is an informal, spoken equivalent of ne parle pas de ça.

Something similar can happen with de là, but instead of a t sound coming in between the two words like in de t’ça, it’s a d sound: de d’là. It sounds like de with a d sound on the end, followed by là.

ôte-toi de d’là
get out of the way

tasse-toi de d’là
get out of the way

Se tasser (pronounced se tâsser) also means to shove over, move off, etc. If you listen to Québécois music, maybe that last example will remind you of the song Tassez-vous de d’là by Les Colocs, which you can find on YouTube.

Of course, you may hear ôte-toi de d’là and tasse-toi de d’là pronounced as ôte-toé de d’là and tasse-toé de d’là, where toé is an informal equivalent of toi.

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Carrot slop again? ffffff... chu tanné de t'ça.

Carrot slop again? Pffffff… chu tanné de ça.

In Montréal today, a woman in her 60s said:

Je suis tannée, je suis tannée de t’ça.
I’m fed up, I’m fed up with it.

What’s de t’ça?

It’s an informal pronunciation that you’ll sometimes hear for de ça.

The de t’ part just sounds like de with a t sound on the end, followed by ça, as if it were deutt ça.

It was a woman in her 60s who said de t’ça, but it can be heard in any age group during informal conversations.

You don’t need to start saying de t’ça yourself. Just learn to recognise it. The regular de ça pronunciation works in any language situation, for example: je suis tanné de ça, or more informally: chu tanné de ça.

If you are going to use de t’ça though, keep it for informal language situations.

By the way, the woman really did say je suis, and not the informal contracted forms j’sus (chu) or j’suis (chui).

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