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Posts Tagged ‘expression’

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…

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I went digging around the online version of Urbania for some expressions that you might like to learn. I’ve picked 7 and included some notes below.

1. On n’a pas besoin de gars pour se faire du fun!

= We don’t need guys to have ourselves some fun!

The author of this quote joked that girls who are secretly sad about being single say this to each other during girls’ night out on Valentine’s Day.

Gars is pronounced gâ. The final rs is not pronounced in gars. If you pronounce the rs, you’ll end up saying garce, which means “bitch” in French.

Other examples using le fun: j’ai eu du fun (I had fun), c’est le fun (it’s fun), une journée le fun (a fun day).

2. Avec le recul, j’ai honte en taaaaaa…

= Looking back, I’m embarrassed as hellllll…

The author of this sentence was talking about the embarrassment he felt when thinking back to something silly he had posted on Facebook.

The expression en ta is a shortened version of en tabarnak.

Another example: ça va mal en ta (things are damn awful).

3. à chaque fois qu’on voit une pitoune dans une pub de char

= every time there’s some hot chick in a car ad

Even though une pitoune is a very attractive girl, this word won’t be taken as a compliment by females. It’s similar to referring to a female as “a (hot) chick.”

The word pub is short for publicité. It can refer to ads on television or in print.

Words you’ll come across for “car” in Québec include: une auto, un char, une voiture.

Rather than just chaque fois (every time), you’ll hear people say à chaque fois very frequently.

4. Tu te flattes la bedaine.

= You pat your belly.

If you’ve got a belly, tu as de la bedaine. If it’s a really big one, tu as une grosse bedaine!

If someone’s got no shirt on, you can use the expression être en bedaine to describe what he’s wearing (nothing but his belly!).

Flatter means to pat, stroke.

5. Té crissment épuisée.

= Yer goddamn exhausted.

In entry #727 about two vulgar words for penis and vagina in Québécois French, you read an example of the verb s’en crisser (to not give a fuck, to not give a shit, etc.), which was je m’en crisse. In today’s example, we discover the related word crissment (or crissement).

is an informal reduction of tu es. This informal pronunciation is probably more often spelled t’es, but here we discover té, which means the same thing.

Épuisée is the feminine form of this adjective.

6. quelqu’un qui fourre le système

= someone who screws the system, who fucks the system

The author of this expression was putting forth his opinion about the difference between people who receive welfare out of a genuine need and those who milk the system for all it’s worth:

[…] il y a une GROSSE différence entre quelqu’un qui a besoin d’aide et quelqu’un qui fourre le système.

There’s a HUGE difference between someone in need and someone who fucks the system.

_ _ _

Références

1-2. Jordan Dupuis, « Le monde selon J : La Saint-Valentin sur Facebook », Urbania, 17 février 2014.

3. Pascal Henrard, « Y a-t-il trop de féministes dans Urbania? », Urbania, 12 février 2014.

4-5. Véronique Grenier, « Amour », Urbania, 12 février 2014.

6. Jonathan Roberge, « Enlève ta banane de sur ma face », Urbania, 7 février 2014.

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Something that’s tricoté serré in the French of Québec is “tight knit” or “close knit.”

Tricoter to means “to knit,” and serré means “tight.”

But like its English equivalent, the expression tricoté serré also has a figurative meaning where it refers to strong bonds between people.

What kinds of things can be tricoté serré?

une communauté tricotée serrée
a tight-knit community
(its residents care about and support one another)

une famille tricotée serrée
a tight-knit family
(the family members are very close to one another)

And in the photo that I took above of a newspaper ad, apparently a couple in a relationship can also be tricoté serré:

un couple tricoté serré
a tight-knit couple

The company in this ad is promoting a special offer on two mobile phones for couples tricotés serrés, who undoubtedly rack up the minutes by giggling together on the phone for hours.

The two lovers in the ad are also wearing the same knitted sweaters, which hints at the literal meaning of the expression tricoté serré.

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Click on image for full size

The STM has posted new rules in the métro in an attempt to get us barbarians to behave like civilised human beings when using public transport.

Some rules tell us what to do (green), whereas others tell us what not to do (red). It’s like being in school again!

I found the rules that I saw in the métro posted on the STM website in a section called Bien voyager ensemble.

I’ve put all the rules together in a single image that you can use to learn vocab and expressions in French. Under each rule there’s a short explanation from the STM on why they’ve included it.

Click on the image to see it in full size.

Descendre par la porte arrière
Use the back door to get off

Laisser sortir avant d’entrer
Let others get off before boarding

Sortir avec son journal
Take your newspaper with you

Avoir son titre en main
Have your fare ready

Céder son siège
Give up your seat

Bien tenir son cellulaire
Hold on to your cell phone

Appeler pour de l’assistance
Call for assistance

Prendre ses aises
Make yourself comfortable

Imposer sa musique
Force your music on others

Prendre toute la place
Take up too much space

Retarder tous les autres
Hold everybody else up

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This ad comes from a website where job offers are posted: jobgo.ca.

I first came across this ad in the métro in Montréal (but I borrowed the image above from their website).

Magasiner : 6 heures
Gagner sa vie : 100 000 heures
AIME TA JOB.

Shopping: 6 hours
Earning a living: 100 000 hours
LOVE YOUR JOB.

There are two québécois usages in this ad.
Can you identify them?

1. The first québécois usage is magasiner. This verb means “to shop,” and it’s not used anywhere else in the French-speaking world. Similarly, the masculine noun magasinage means “shopping.” The people who do the shopping are called un magasineur or une magasineuse.

Spelling tip: These words derive from magasin, so they’re always spelled with an s (magasiner, magasinage, etc.) and never a z (magaziner, magazinage). They aren’t spelled with a z because they don’t derive from magazine.

magasiner en ligne
to shop online

faire un peu de magasinage
to take in a bit of shopping

magasiner un nouveau lit
to go shopping for a new bed
to shop around for a new bed

2. The second québécois usage is ta job. Elsewhere in the French-speaking world, job is masculine. Job is sometimes masculine in Québec too, particularly in writing. The feminine usage is much more of a spoken form. So, it’s kind of interesting to see the feminine form used in the ad above, rather than the masculine one.

Here’s an informal expression heard in Québec using la job:

Ça va faire la job!
That’ll do the job!
That’ll do the trick!

A related word is une jobine, which refers informally to smaller projects, temporary work, summer jobs, etc.

On the United Way Ottawa website, there’s a testimonial from a guy called Joshua about how the United Way helped him. He said: “(They) helped me find a job that wasn’t just a pay cheque: it’s a career.”

In the French translation of what Joshua said, we get a good sense of the difference between the words carrière and jobine: « Ils m’ont aidé à trouver une carrière, et pas juste une jobine avec un chèque de paie. »

Because job and jobine derive from the English “job,” they are pronounced with an English j sound, not a French one.

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In a conversation last week, a man in his 50s talked about his computer troubles and that he eventually got the blue screen.

Here’s just a little of what he said:

Je pèse su’l’piton une coup’ de fois… écran bleu… c’est peut-être mon disque qui a foiré…

(So) I press the button a few times… blue screen… it might be my (hard) disk that failed…

1. peser sur le piton

je pèse sur le piton
je pèse su’l’piton
(sounds like je pèse sul piton)
I press the button

In this sense, peser means the same thing as appuyer.

Piton here refers to a button that can be pressed, like on a keyboard, remote control, telephone, etc.

2. une couple de fois

une couple de fois
une coup’ de fois
(sounds like une coupe de fois)
a couple times, a few times

The expression une couple de… only survives in Québec. In the rest of the francophonie, it has fallen out of use. It will obviously remind you of the English expression “a couple (times, weeks, questions, etc.),” which came from French.

You’ll often hear couple pronounced without the -le ending in Québec, making it sound like coupe.

When couple is used in this sense, it’s feminine: une couple de fois, une couple de semaines, une couple de questions, etc.

If couple means “(romantic) relationship,” then it’s masculine: Je ne supporte pas ma belle-mère et mon couple va droit dans le mur. “I can’t stand my mother-in-law and my relationship is tanking.”

3. dzzzzz

Disque is a dzidzu word, so the d in disque makes a dz sound: dzisque.

The word for computer, ordinateur, often gets shortened to ordi during conversations (e.g., mon ordi, my computer). Both ordinateur and ordi are dzidzu words too: ordzinateur, ordzi.

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In an article from the Journal de Montréal called “Pas les moyens de rêver” (3 November 2013), journalist Richard Martineau used three French expressions that borrow a word from English:

1. gérer la shop
2. ça manque de punch
3. passer la moppe

Before the election had come to an end yesterday, Martineau argued in his article that Montréal doesn’t need an ambitious mayor with big projects in mind.

He said that Montréal needs a realistic mayor, someone who can clean up city hall and who knows how to gérer la shop, or “run the place,” like candidate Marcel Côté. The “shop” he was referring to is in fact city hall, l’hôtel de ville.

Martineau admitted that some people probably found Côté’s electoral platform to be lacklustre, ça manque de punch, but that it was also a realistic and prudent one.

Before even thinking about big projects, he said that Montréal needs someone like Marcel Côté to come in and passer la moppe et l’aspirateur dans tous les coins de l’hôtel de ville, or “mop and vacuum every corner of city hall.”

gérer la shop
to run the place

ça manque de punch
it lacks punch
it’s dull

passer la moppe
to mop up

The word shop is feminine: la shop. You may hear this word used to refer to a workshop, for example. But Martineau gave the expression gérer la shop a figurative meaning here. He wasn’t talking about a workshop; he was referring to city hall. We can probably translate the expression here as “to run the place.”

If it’s dull, if it’s got no punch, ça manque de punch. Anything boring could be described this way. A boring idea? A bland dish of food? Ça manque de punch!

The expression passer la moppe was also used figuratively here. Martineau didn’t mean that somebody needs to clean up city hall with a mop and water. He meant that someone needs to put things in order. That said, you can also hear passer la moppe used literally in the sense of washing a floor with a mop and water. When used, moppe is feminine: la moppe.

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