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Posts Tagged ‘familier’

I have no idea who this guy is.

Just another stock photo. I have no idea who this guy is.

Here’s some everyday French to learn taken from a conversation that a guy in his 30s in Montréal had with a co-worker on the phone.

We can tell from the language that this guy is on familiar terms with the person he spoke to.

One of the first things the guy asked when the other person answered the phone was:

Je dérange-tu?
Am I disturbing you? Are you busy?

Remember, the -tu in this question doesn’t mean “you.” Instead, it’s an informal yes-no question word. We reviewed this in entry #703.

Tu is always pronounced tsu in Québec, whether it means “you” or used as the informal yes-no question marker. It’s a tsitsu word!

[In the Tranches de vie video from the Listen section, the girl asks the same question but in a different way: je te dérange?]

Throughout the guy’s conversation, he used the expression fait que a lot. It’s used essentially in the same way that anglophones say “so,” or like the French word alors.

Here are a few examples of things he said using fait que:

Fait que c’est bon.
So that’s good.

Fait que c’est ça.
So there you have it.

Fait que tu peux m’appeler.
So you can call me.

Fait que je vais t’envoyer le texte.
So I’m going to send you the text.

He also asked for his co-worker’s opinion by asking:

Qu’est-ce t’en penses?
(sounds like: kess t’en penses?)
Whaddya think?

If we remove the informal contractions, we get: qu’est-ce que tu en penses? The question form qu’est-ce que often gets shortened to qu’est-ce (sounds like “kess”) before the subject tu (another example: qu’est-ce tu veux?). The combination tu en often contracts to t’en (qu’est-ce t’en penses?).

At the end of his conversation, he ended with:

OK, on se r’parle! (verb: se reparler)
OK, we’ll be in touch again!

A final note about the yes-no question marker -tu from above:

The yes-no -tu is used at an informal level of speech very frequently in Québec. This doesn’t mean that est-ce que isn’t used in Québec, however.

An example of a yes-no question that the same guy asked during his conversation using est-ce que is:

Est-ce que tu penses que tu peux faire les modifications dans le texte?
Do you think you can make the changes in the text?

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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.

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