Posts Tagged ‘dzidzu’

During a conversation, a man said in French an equivalent of:

They’re talking nonsense.

To say to talk nonsense, he used the expression dire n’importe quoi. Knowing this, can you now guess how he said it in a colloquial style?

He said:

I’ disent n’importe quoi.

I’, which sounds just like the French letter i, is a contraction of ils. In informal writing, this contraction is more often spelled y.

Do you remember that dire is pronounced by the Québécois as dzir? That’s because the letter d is pronounced dz when it comes before the French i and u sounds. Dire, then, sounds like dzir, and disent sounds like dziz.

N’importe quoi has four syllables — n’im / por / te / quoi. The final e of n’importe is heard.

To say that’s nonsense!, you can say:

C’est n’importe quoi!

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Imagine someone were complaining about a situation. You, unable to do anything about it and frustrated by the person’s complaints, might say to him in English in an indignant tone, “what do you want me to say?”

During a conversation, a guy said an equivalent of this in French to the person with whom he was speaking.

Can you guess how?

Make an attempt, and will look at the answer below. (Clue: More literally, he said the equivalent of “what do you want me to say to you?”)

Rue Sainte-Catherine, à Montréal [février 2016]

Does what you guessed sound something like this?

Qu’est-ce que tu veux que je te dise?

It’s correct, but it’s not quite how he said it. Before we look at how he did say it, let’s look at the expression vouloir que (+ subjunctive) because it’s important to learn.

I want you to leave.
Je veux que tu partes.

I want him to redo it.
Je veux qu’il le refasse.

I want you to be there.
Je veux que tu soies là.

He wants me to learn French.
Il veut que j’apprenne le français.

In sum, to say in French I want you to (verb in infinitive form), you literally say the equivalent of I want that you (verb in subjunctive form).

Let’s go back to our sentence from above.

Qu’est-ce que tu veux que je te dise?

Dise is in the subjunctive.

Remember, though, that this isn’t quite how the guy said it, so let’s look now at how he really did.

In spoken language, je te can contract to j’te. It sounds like ch’te, where the ch sounds like the ch of the French words chaise, choix, tache, etc. To pronounce j’te, then, put the ch sound immediately in front of the word te.

Qu’est-ce que tu veux que j’te dise?

In spoken language, there are times when you might notice that que is omitted. In this case in particular, the guy omitted both instances of que.

Qu’est-ce tu veux j’te dise?

Qu’est-ce on its own without que sounds like quèss, or like kess using an anglicised spelling.

Maybe you’ll remember that the letter d sounds like dz (like the dz sound of the English word lads [i.e., ladz]) when it comes before the French i and u sounds. Dise, then, is in fact pronounced dziz. And maybe you’ll also remember that t sounds like ts (like the ts sound of the English word cats) when it comes before the French i and u sounds. Tu, then, is in fact pronounced tsu.

Using a more phonetic spelling, here’s how what the guy said actually sounds:

Quèss tsu veu ch’te dziz?

And that’s how the guy said it.


To read a condensed version of the French language explored in the first 1000 posts of OffQc, you might like to get a copy of 1000: Québécois French.

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Here’s another example sentence taken from 1000, which has 1000 examples of things you can hear people say in French conversations in Québec:

C’est n’importe quoi!
That’s nonsense! Whatever!

This expression isn’t limited to the French of Québec.

It can also be shortened to just:

N’importe quoi!

The final e of n’importe is pronounced, so n’importe has three syllables (n’im/por/te).

Tu dis n’importe quoi.
You’re saying nonsense.

Écoute-les pas, i’ disent n’importe quoi.
Don’t listen to them, they’re saying nonsense.

You’ll remember that the Québécois pronounce the letter d like dz before the French i sound, so disent from the example above sounds like dziz.

If you want to make your French sound more Québécois, you’ll definitely want to adopt this dz sound. It’s described in the 1000 PDF along with all the example sentences. You can buy it here.

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Here are 3 examples of French using swear words heard in Québec. They’re taken from Facebook comments.

Maudit que t’es beau!
Damn you’re good-looking!
Damn you look good!

C’est pas d’sa faute si c’est un esti d’cave.
It’s not his fault if he’s a fucking idiot.

Maudite marde.
Holy shit. Damn it.

Do you remember how to pronounce maudit like the Québécois? The letter d sounds like dz when it’s followed by the French i sound. (It’s like the dz sound in the English word lads.) So maudit sounds like [modzi], and maudite sounds like [modzit].

In English, you say a fucking idiot, but in French it’s un esti de cave, with de placed between esti (fucking) and cave (idiot). You can’t say un esti cave. In our example above, the de is contracted informally to d’.

C’est un esti d’cave from the example can contract even further: c’t’un esti d’cave, where c’est is reduced to just a st sound before un.

C’est pas d’ma faute means it’s not my fault.

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Here are 5 photos I found lurking on my phone waiting to be commented and put on OffQc! You can click on all the images for the large version.

1. Dans les allées, utilisez un panier

Literally, this means: in the aisles, use a cart, but what we’re meant to understand here is that, while shopping in the store, you shouldn’t place products in your reusable bags; you should place them in a shopping cart. This is to prevent theft.

une allée
aisle (in a shop)

un panier
shopping cart

2. Veuillez garder votre chien en laisse

I saw this sign on the front door of a pet shop. Une laisse is a leash, so management are telling us to keep dogs on a leash when in the shop.

être en laisse
to be on a leash

3. Partagez le plaisir en jouant au tic tac toe avec un ami

This photo is of the side of a box of timbits (small doughnut balls sold at Tim Hortons). The English on the other side of the box read: Share the fun and play tic tac toe with a friend.

A reader of OffQc asked a while back what tic tac toe was called in French, so I took a photo when I saw this.

jouer au tic tac toe
to play tic tac toe

4. Hot-dogs, tout garnis

Over on the right in smaller text are the words tout garnis. A hot-dog that’s tout garni has all the toppings on it.

Another word for hot-dog is roteux, which is an informal usage. Although the term chien-chaud exists (literal translation of hot dog), its use is rare nowadays.

I did manage to catch a photo of the old sign at Chien-chaud Victoire in Montréal before it was finally taken down several years ago.

un hot-dog
a hot dog

tout garni
the works

5. Au diable l’hiver…

This photo was taken in April, just after winter had ended. It’s the front window of a clothing shop, and the words mean to hell with winter, or literally to the devil (with) winter.

au diable l’hiver
to hell with winter

Remember this list of 50 words using the â sound but aren’t actually spelled with the accented â? We could add diable to it. That’s because the a in diable sounds somewhere between the English aw and ow, which is the sound made by â in Québécois French.

If you don’t what â sounds like, you’ll hear Martin Matte pronounce it in this video when he says j’me fâche and tasse-toi. You’ll hear this sound very frequently when listening to French spoken by the Québécois.

But that’s not all…
Diable has a few more things of note in the pronunciation department. One of them is that the d in this word sounds like dz. That’s because d is pronounced dz before the French i and u sounds. (If you say the English words lads, pads and fads aloud, you’ve just pronounced the dz sound. These words sound like ladz, padz and fadz.) This means mardi sounds like mardzi, dur sounds like dzur, and diable like dziâble.

Hold on, not finished yet…
The le ending, like in table or possible, is often not enunciated in informal language. That’s why table can be pronounced informally as tab’, possible as possib’, and diable as dziâb’.

Oh! Just one more thing…
You may hear diable pronounced as ’iâb’ (sounds like yâb), where, in addition to the dropping of the final le, the initial d (or the initial dz sound) also drops. You may hear this pronunciation, for example, in Québécois folk music or folk tales. A similar thing happens when bon Dieu is pronounced as bon ’ieu (sounds like bon yeu). There’s a song by Les Colocs called Bonyeu that you can look for. «Bonyeu, donne-moé une job, faut que j’fasse mes paiements…»

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