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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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Check out the text on this sign in a Montréal street promoting a beer:

Pas besoin d’avoir 56 sortes de verres, est bonne direct dans bouteille.
No need for 56 kinds of glasses, it’s good straight from the bottle.

Hmm. Aren’t there are few words missing in the French text?

Why does it say est bonne instead of elle est bonne? Where’s the subject?

And why does it say dans bouteille instead of dans la bouteille? Where did the la go?

Did they run out of room on the sign? No, it’s got nothing to do with that.

The authors have chosen to use an informal style of French here. It sounds the way someone might say it in a real conversation.

elle est bonne
‘est bonne (informal usage)

dans la bouteille
dans’ bouteille (informal usage)

What’s going on in those informal versions? Contractions, that’s what!

When elle and est come together, you’ll notice they sometimes contract to ‘est. It sounds like è.

Similarly, when dans and la come together, you’ll notice they tend to contract to dans’.

T’es dans’ marde!
[tu es dans la marde]
You’re screwed now!

Y m’a ri dans’ face.
[il m’a ri dans la face]
He laughed in my face.

‘Est don’ ben belle.
[elle est donc bien belle]
She’s so pretty.

There’s one more bit of text down at the bottom of the sign:

La bière sérieuse qui se prend pas au sérieux.
A serious beer that doesn’t take itself seriously.

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