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The STM is Montréal’s public transportation provider (bus and métro).

In French, the name is feminine: la STM.

Here are 3 things for you to learn in French that I’ve heard said by ruffled STM employees recently.

1. Madame, avec le carrosse!

Madame, with the baby carriage!
(i.e., hey you, with the baby carriage!)

This was shouted angrily by an STM employee in the Montréal métro.

The employee was angered by something a lady pushing a baby carriage had done, so she came running out of her ticket booth and yelled this before the lady could walk off.

I don’t know what the lady had done wrong, but I noticed her baby carriage was empty. Maybe she forgot the bundle of joy at the turnstile or something.

2. Let’s go! Let’s go!

Let’s go! Let’s go!
(i.e., hurry the fuck up, people!)

As people boarded the bus at a busy métro station, this was said by an STM employee standing on the pavement beside the bus door.

This employee was encouraging people to get on the bus faster. There was a long queue of people waiting to get on, and some people were taking their sweet time boarding the bus (as usual).

Obviously this expression is English, but you’ll definitely hear it in French too.

3. Déplacez-vous vers l’arrière, s’il vous plaît!

Please move to the back of the bus!
(i.e., will you people stop blocking the door goddamnit!)

An exasperated driver had to yell this a few times when riders of the bus kept crowding the front portion of the bus. There was room at the back of the bus for more standing passengers.

Sometimes when you board a bus, you’ll have to push your way through a wall of stubborn people all huddled together near the front door.

P.S. My respect to STM employees. I’d get pretty exasperated too if I were one.

Image: Wikipedia

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Here’s some more everyday French overheard in Montréal for you to learn.

1. Elle cherche la chicane.

She wants to a pick a fight.

I overheard a woman say this to her friend. Une chicane is a fight or argument, so chercher la chicane is to go looking for a fight, or to pick a fight with someone.

A quarrelsome person cherche toujours la chicane.

2. C’est à quelle heure, l’autobus?

What time does the bus come?

A lady arriving at a bus stop asked this of a young girl who had already been waiting for a while.

3. Vous avez une très belle chemise!

That’s a really nice shirt!

Here’s a phrase you can use as a conversation starter with someone.

An employee in a shop said this to me when I was wearing my favourite shirt.

4. Un commis à la quincaillerie, merci!

A clerk in hardware, please!

Speaking of employees, this was announced over the loudspeaker by a Canadian Tire employee who was looking for un commis (clerk) in the hardware department.

Commis is pronounced commi. And don’t pronounce those Ls in quincaillerie. The caille part of quincaillerie rhymes with the French word faille.

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