Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘dog’

I saw a sign today using the verb se ramasser here in Montréal, so let’s review this verb. First things first: pronunciation.

The verb ramasser is pronounced ramâsser. That â sound in there comes close to how “aww” sounds in English. It’s only the second a that’s pronounced “aww,” not the first one.

You may remember that ramasser was included in this list of 50 words using the â sound in Québec but not written with the accented â.

Ramassez!

Ramassez!

In entry #664, we saw a little sign on a tree that told dog owners to pick up their dog crap from the street. The sign says:

Ramassez, câlisse!
Pick it up, for fuck’s sake!

OK, no, it doesn’t. It just says ramassez! They’re much more polite than me.

In entry #437, the mother in the television show Les Parent is tired of her sons’ messiness.

She uses the verb se ramasser when she says:

Ce que je vous dis souvent aussi c’est de ranger pis de vous ramasser.
What I often also tell you is to tidy up and to pick up after yourselves.

Ranger means “to tidy up.” But se ramasser is “to pick up after oneself.”

If you heard a parent say ramasse-toi to a child, the parent has said “pick up after yourself.”

On se ramasse tous ensemble

The sign that I saw today in Montréal encourages residents of the city to come together and clean up after ourselves in public places (streets, sidewalks, alleys, etc.). The sign says:

On se ramasse tous ensemble
Let’s pick up after ourselves all together

The sign says that we can sign up for the corvée. Une corvée is work carried out in public. The work is voluntary. In the case of this corvée in particular, we’re dealing with une corvée de propreté where residents come together to clean up.

If you live in Montréal, you know that the streets here look pretty nasty after all the snow has melted away in the spring…

Read Full Post »

In entry #753, we saw six different expressions used in Québec containing the words chien or chienne.

One of the expressions we saw in that entry was avoir du chien. Here’s what you read in that post about this expression:

If you’ve “got dog,” it’s because you’re determined. You’ve got personality. You’re a go-getter.

Ces deux jeunes-là ont du chien et réalisent de grandes choses.
Those two young people are go-getters and are doing big things.

Elle a du talent et du chien.
She’s got talent and determination.

In the comments section, RogerDog commented that he had seen a sign in Montréal promoting the comedy M. Peabody et Sherman, and that the expression avoir du chien was used on it.

I came across the sign too, so I took a photo. It says:

Une comédie qui a du chien

The expression works well here because one of the characters is a dog.

There are probably different ways to translate this, but if we want to hint at dogs, maybe we can say:

Une comédie qui a du chien
A comedy with bite

I wonder what the English version really says outside of Québec. Has anybody seen a poster for it?

_ _ _

By the way, the expression avoir du chien means something different in France. The site linternaute.com defines the French use of avoir du chien as meaning “to be beautiful,” when speaking of a woman.

But it goes on to say that a woman qui a du chien is more than just belle; she also has ce petit truc en plus that makes her completely irresistible.

Read Full Post »

I came across the ad in the first image in a public space in Montréal. It’s from a mobile phone company called Fido, who always use dogs in their ads. This one says:

On a du flair pour les bonnes affaires
We’ve got flair for good deals

There’s wordplay here because the text reminds us of the French verb flairer, which is something that dogs do: “to sniff.”

Le chien policier a flairé 50 kilos de pot.
The police dog sniffed out 50 kilos of pot.

The t in pot in the sense of marijuana is pronounced. It sounds like potte.

This ad from Fido reminded me of six expressions used in Québec related to dogs (and bitches):

1. ton chien est mort
2. avoir du chien
3. fucker le chien
4. avoir la chienne
5. donner la chienne
6. c’est chien

Ton chien est mort. You’re shit outta luck!

1. ton chien est mort

If your dog is dead, it’s because your chances of achieving something have all gone out the window.

Imagine you’re a guy who really wants to go out with a certain girl you’ve been interested in for a long time. Just when you’ve finally worked up the courage to ask her out, you discover she’s begun going out with a guy a thousand times more attractive than you… Fuhgeddaboudit, guy. Ain’t gonna happen. Your dog is dead. Ton chien est mort. You no longer stand a chance!

You can also say mon chien est mort and son chien est mort.

2. avoir du chien

If you’ve “got dog,” it’s because you’re determined. You’ve got personality. You’re a go-getter.

Ces deux jeunes-là ont du chien et réalisent de grandes choses.
Those two young people are go-getters and are doing big things.

Elle a du talent et du chien.
She’s got talent and determination.

3. fucker le chien

Fucker le chien?This expression literally means “to fuck the dog.”

The idea behind this expression is to waste time or go around in circles trying to accomplish something.

A variation on this expression is fourrer le chien. The verb fourrer also means “to fuck.”

Fucker is pronounced foquer.

J’ai fucké le chien dans ma jeunesse.
I did fuck-all in my youth.

J’ai fucké le chien pour modifier mon mot de passe.
I had a fuck of a hard time trying to change my password.

J’ai fucké le chien avec ça pendant deux mois.
I had a fuck of a hard time with that for two months.

4. avoir la chienne

Une chienne is the female form of chien. So, this expression literally means “to have the bitch.” If you’ve got the bitch, it’s because you’re terrified, frightened.

This expression has in fact already appeared twice on OffQc.

In entry #225, a character called Brigitte from the television show 30 vies tells a colleague she must get tested for cancer. She admits to being terrified:

J’ai tellement la chienne.
I’m so terrified.

In entry #238, we saw that a newspaper headline read:

Les libraires ont la chienne
Booksellers are terrified

The newspaper article was about how booksellers are terrified at the idea of becoming irrelevant due to the advent of the iPad.

5. donner la chienne

This is similar to number 4; donner la chienne means to terrify, to frighten.

Ça me donne la chienne.
It frightens me.

Les hôpitaux me donnent la chienne.
Hospitals terrify me.

6. c’est chien

In this expression, chien means méchant.

C’est chien de dire ça, mais c’est vrai.
It’s a nasty thing to say, but it’s true.

C’est vraiment chien ce que t’as fait.
What you did was really mean.

C’est vraiment chien ce que je vais dire, mais…
What I’m about to say is really nasty, but…

Read Full Post »

Here are 5 new items for you to learn in French:

  • 3 colloquial French expressions overheard in Montréal
  • 2 images related to dogs seen in Montréal

1. Hier y’a fait chaud en tabarouette!

It was darn hot yesterday!

A man said this the day after the temperature had warmed up a little. He exaggerated though by saying that it was really hot the day before, even if the temperature wasn’t in fact hot (it was just warmer than usual).

Y’a is an informal pronunciation of il, so y’a fait chaud is a colloquial pronunciation of il a fait chaud.

Tabarouette sounds like ta-bar-wett. The expression en tabarouette makes the adjective that comes before it stronger. Tabarouette derives from the québécois swear word tabarnak, but tabarouette is a non-offensive version of it (like “darn” instead of “damn”).

C’est cher en tabarouette!
It’s darn expensive!

Tabarouette!
Darn! Holy cow!

2. Qu’est-ce tu fais à soir?

Whaddya doin’ tonight?

The girl that said this didn’t ask qu’est-ce que tu fais à soir?, she asked qu’est-ce tu fais à soir? She dropped the word que. This often happens during informal French conversations before the word tu. Qu’est-ce on its own without the que sounds like kess.

Remember, tu in Québec sounds like tsu.

Qu’est-ce tu fais?
(kess tsu fè)
What’re you doin’?

Qu’est-ce tu veux?
(kess tsu veu)
Whaddya want?

Qu’est-ce t’en penses?
(kess tan pense)
Whaddya think (about that)?

À soir means the same thing as ce soir. In most forms of writing, it’s better to use ce soir. In regular conversations, you’ll hear both ce soir and à soir.

3. Ah ok, là j’comprends!

Ah ok, now I understand!
Ah ok, now I get it!

Maintenant isn’t the only way to say “now” in French. In Québec, is very often used instead. Sometimes you’ll even hear it repeated for extra effect.

Là là, chu tanné!
Now I’m really fed up!
Now I’ve really had it!

Chu is an informal pronunciation of je suis.

Votre animal fait un effort4. Votre animal fait un effort, faites le vôtre!

If your animal can make an effort, so can you!

This funny sign in Montréal asks dog owners to make an effort (i.e., pick up after their dog) after their dog has “made an effort” (i.e., gone poo).

Merci de ramasser
Thank you for picking up (after your dog)

Remember, ramasser in Québec is pronounced ramâsser. The accented â sounds something like “aww.”

If the word contains â, that’s easy: say “aww.” But some words take the “aww” sound even if they aren’t written with the accent. Here’s a list of 50 French words pronounced with the “aww” sound but not written with the accented â.

Remember, it isn’t necessary for you to pronounce â as “aww” to make yourself understood. If you pronounce â like a regular a sound, everybody will understand you. At the very least, learn to hear the difference between the â and a sounds so that you recognise the word that people are saying.

Nouvelle aire d'exercice canin5. Nouvelle aire d’exercice canin

New dog exercise area

A little farther down the street, I spotted another sign related to dogs.

This sign tells us that in May 2014 the fenced off area will become a zone for dogs to run around in.

The masculine word air means “air.” The feminine word aire means “zone” or “area.” Maybe you’ll remember this no-smoking sign in French containing a play on the words air and aire.

Read Full Post »

Méchant beau char

Méchant beau char

In entry #684, a girl exclaimed celui-là est malade! as she pointed to a famous building made of Mega Bloks at a centre d’achats (shopping centre).

Although the literal meaning of malade is “sick,” it meant “awesome” or “amazing” when the girl used it to describe the Mega Bloks display.

Way back in entry #267, Hugo from the television show La Galère uses the word écoeurant to describe his new appart (informal word for “apartment” which sounds like the English word “apart”).

The literal meaning of écoeurant is disgusting, but this word can also take on the meaning “awesome” or “amazing.” So when Hugo says that his appart is écoeurant, he means that it’s amazing… not disgusting!

In La Galère, Hugo also says that he’s going to get une job écoeurante, “an amazing job.”

Ken asks whether méchant has this double meaning as well. Recently, I saw a sign for a lost dog in my neighbourhood. The owner of the dog was offering une méchante grosse récompense to the person who could return his dog to him.

The literal meaning of méchant is “wicked,” but, on the sign for the lost dog, it takes on a positive sense (an amazingly big reward, a wicked big reward).

Celui-là est malade!
That one’s awesome!

un appart écoeurant
an awesome apartment
(and not “a disgusting apartment”)

une job écoeurante
an amazing job
(and not “a disgusting job”)

une méchante grosse récompense
an amazingly big reward

Read Full Post »

Ramassez!I saw this sign tied around a tree in Montréal. It reminds people that the street is not a toilet for dogs:

Ramassez!
Pick it up!

Maybe you’ll remember the verb ramasser from the list of 50 French words using the â sound in Québec but written without the accent.

It sounds like ramâsser.

I dug around OffQc for some more examples of ramasser.

There’s a good one in entry #431, where the expression ramasser quelqu’un was used in the sense of picking someone up by car. It comes from a telephone dialogue in 30 vies (season 2, episode 82) between Karine and Vincent:

V — Allô?
K — Je te ramasse?
V — T’es où, là?
K — Pas loin.
V — Oui, viens-t’en.

V — Hello?
K — You want me to pick you up?
V — Where are ya?
K — Not far.
V — Yes, come.

In #437, we came across an example of se ramasser used in the sense of being tidy and picking up after oneself. Natalie from Les Parent (season 4, episode 18) reminds her son that she’s always telling him and his brothers to pick up after themselves around the house:

Ce que je vous dis souvent aussi c’est de ranger pis de vous ramasser.
What I often also tell you is to tidy up and to pick up after yourselves.

Quelqu’un qui ne se ramasse jamais is someone who never picks up after himself. He’s messy.

In the video below (transcribed in full here in the Listen section), a magician explains how to do a magic trick with a cord. He uses the verb ramasser twice.

He says:

Et là, lorsque nos bras sont croisés, il faut ramasser la corde avec chacune des mains.
And now, when our arms are crossed, we have to pick up the cord with both hands.

And then:

Avec la main droite, on ramasse la corde de l’autre côté.
With the right hand, we pick up the cord on the other side.

Read Full Post »

In entry #595, I posted a video where comedian Jean-François Mercier pokes fun at smokers by professing his love for his anti-nicotine attack dog Roxie.

Let’s look at two parts of that video, where Mercier uses language you might find difficult. I’ve reposted the video below for convenience, but you can return to the original entry for the transcription and translation into English.

1. Mercier says:
[…] tu comprends pas pourquoi qu’y’a des gens qui fument.

This means: tu ne comprends pas pourquoi il y a des gens qui fument.

Instead of il y a, Mercier pronounces this informally as y’a. This occurs very frequently in spoken French.

He also stuck in que after pourquoi. You don’t need to adopt this yourself, just recognise that sometimes you’ll hear it.

He also left out ne in his sentence, using only pas to negate. This happens very frequently in spoken French.

2. Mercier says:
[…] à cause que t’es-t-un chien.

This means: parce que tu es un chien.

À cause que means the same thing as parce que. The use of à cause que has fallen out of use elsewhere in the francophonie but you can still hear it in spoken French in Québec. It’s not used in formal language. On the other hand, parce que can be heard at all levels of language, and Mercier does in fact also say parce que in the video.

Rather than tu es, Mercier says t’es. This occurs very frequently in spoken French. You’ll also hear him say t’aurais instead of tu aurais, t’étais instead of tu étais, and t’as instead of tu as.

Mercier also slipped in a -t- liaison between es and un (t’es-t-un chien). You don’t need to adopt this feature, just recognise it.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »