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Posts Tagged ‘faque’

Here are 10 of the most googled French usages that led readers to OffQc this year. Do you know them all?

VOYONS DON’

When feeling taken aback by something, you can say voyons don’. (Don’ is in fact donc, but the c is silent here.) You can also say ben voyons don’ for more effect. (Ben sounds like bain; it’s a contraction of bien.) Voyons don’ is similar to the way you might say oh come on in English. For example, maybe you’ve just spilled your coffee for the second time today. Voyons don’! Come on! Or maybe a friend is getting back together with a terrible ex. Ben voyons don’! Oh come on!

FAQUE

Whether it’s pronounced with one syllable (as fak) or two (as fa-que), this means so, just like the French word alors. Faque qu’est-ce qu’on fait à soir? So what’re we gonna do tonight? Faque c’est ça! So there you have it! So there you go! Because of its resemblance to the English F word, a friend from Central America asks me if it’s rude to say faque. Nope! You can faque all you like.

TABARNOUCHE

You know how in English people say things like shoot, dang, crikey, cripes, etc., to avoid using the original swear word it comes from? Same thing with tabarnouche — it’s a toned-down version of the vulgar Québécois tabarnak. C’est un bon produit, mais tabarnouche! C’est super cher. It’s a good product, but jeez! It’s super expensive.

BEN LÀ

Here’s another thing you can say when you’re surprised, taken aback. Picture it — a mother has just told her son he can’t go out and play because he’s got homework to do. He says: Ben làààà! Oh come oooon! Nooo! Or maybe you’ve just found out that everyone at work got a pay increase but you. Ben là! What the? For real?

C’EST CORRECT

When you want to say it’s/that’s fine, it’s/that’s ok in French, you can say c’est correct. Maybe your partner just burnt the toast, but you don’t mind. C’est correct, là! C’est pas grave. It’s fine! It’s no big deal. Note that correct is pronounced informally as correc’ in spoken language, without the final t.

C’T’EN PLEIN ÇA

If a friend made a comment and you wanted to show your entire agreement, you might say c’t’en plein ça! Exactly! Spot on! C’t’en is a contraction of c’est en. It sounds like en with an st sound attached to the front (st’en). C’est en, on the other hand, sounds like cé t’en.

C’EST PAS ÉVIDENT

Not limited to Québécois French, this expression simply means it’s not easy, it’s complicated. Apprendre cinq langues en même temps, c’est pas évident! Learning five languages at once isn’t easy!

C’EST PLATE

You just got a parking ticket? C’est plate. Broke up with your girlfriend? Ah c’est plate. You can use c’est plate (or c’est platte) in the same way you might say in English that stinks, that’s sucks, that’s too bad.

C’EST-TU

In spoken language, tu can serve the same purpose as est-ce que. C’est-tu, then, means the same thing as est-ce que c’est. This tu is not the second-person singular meaning you; instead, it’s used to form a yes-no question in informal language. C’est-tu correct? Is it/that okay? C’est-tu normal? Is it/that normal?

T’ES MALADE

This literally means you’re sick, you’re ill (where t’es is a contraction of tu es sounding like ), but you’ll also hear t’es malade used informally in the sense of you’re crazy. T’es malade, toi! You’re crazy!

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I grabbed a handful of usages that have appeared on OffQc since post #1000 and put them in a cloud. Can you explain to yourself how each one might be used? You can click on the image for a larger version.

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By “informal,” I mean a word or expression far more likely to be found in normal, spontaneous, everyday language — between friends and family, for example — than in high literature or business correspondence or news reports.

In many posts on OffQc, you’ve no doubt noticed that I very often say that such-and-such a word or expression is an informal usage. Maybe you’ve even begun to wonder if all Québécois words and expressions are informal…

They’re not. There are many words and expressions unique to Québec that you’re just as likely to hear in everyday, spontaneous language as you are in a televised news report or formal language, in the same way that words like téléphone and café can cross language levels.

Below are some examples of both informal and level-neutral Québécois French.

Informal (between friends, for example)

  • pogner, to grab, catch
  • checker, to check
  • c’est-tu…?, is it…?, is that…?
  • capoter, to flip out
  • m’as, I’m gonna (+ infinitive)
  • c’est don’ bin cute!, is that ever cute!
  • pis là, and then
  • faque, so
  • enweille!, come on then!
  • un char, car

Level-neutral (not limited to one language level)

  • un cégépien, cégep student
  • faire l’épicerie, to go food shopping
  • magasiner, to shop, shop around for
  • une tête-de-violon, fiddlehead
  • la poudrerie, blowing snow
  • un melon d’eau, watermelon
  • une pourvoirie, grounds where you can hunt, fish, trap
  • à l’arrêt, at the stop sign
  • un téléroman, soap opera
  • un REER, retirement investment, pronounced ré-èr

It’s true that a lot of the language on OffQc falls more in the informal category than the level-neutral one. I do this because this is the language that’s more difficult to learn.

Informal words and expressions are less likely to appear in dictionaries and learning materials than the level-neutral ones. Informal usages are also sometimes “hidden” from learners by language instructors who judge them negatively or, outside of Québec, may be unknown to them if they aren’t familiar with the Québécois variety of French.

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Montréal

Montréal

During a conversation, I was reminded of the importance and frequency of the expression faque là. You’ll want to make sure you understand this expression if you don’t already.

Faque is a contraction of ça fait que. Faque means so, like alors, and it’s an informal usage.

Faque can be pronounced with one syllable (as faque) or two (as fa/que). The person who used the expression faque là that inspired this post always pronounced faque with one syllable.

Faque c’est ça.
So there you go.
So there you have it.
So that’s how it is, etc.

Faque qu’est-ce qu’on fait?
So what are we going to do?

As for là, it can be used in the sense of now.

Là, tu vas m’écouter.
Now you’re gonna listen to me.

Là, chu tanné!
Now I’m fed up!

Viens-t’en là, là.
Come right now.

When used with past time, though,  means then.

Là, y m’a dit : …
Then he said to me: …

Là, j’ai eu une idée.
Then I got an idea.

In conversations, you’ll often hear accompanied by faque and used with past time, the same way so then is used in English.

Faque là, y m’a dit : …
So then he said to me: …

Faque là, j’ai eu une idée.
So then I got an idea.

You’ll also hear pis là very frequently, where pis is a contraction of puis. We can translate pis là as and then, or more informally as an’ then.

Pis là, y m’a dit : …
And then he said to me: …

Pis là, j’ai eu une idée.
And then I got an idea.

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Here’s some more overheard French today. Everything below was heard in Montréal.

Y’a eu un accrochage.

There’s been an accident.

This is what someone said when two cars bumped into each other. Un accrochage is a small accident, a fender-bender.

Il y a eu was pronounced informally as y’a eu.

— Ça va, toi?
— Oui, toi?

— How are you?
— Good, and you?

— You doing good?
— Yeah, and you?

When you ask someone ça va?, the answer will usually be oui, toi?

Ça va? is a yes-no question (unlike comment ça va?); that’s why you can answer with oui.

Y’est pogné là-d’dans.

He’s caught up in it.

If you’re caught up or stuck in a certain situation, you might say informally that you’re pogné là-dedans.

The gné ending of pogné sounds like nyé. Pogné sounds like ponnyé, or [pɔɲe] in IPA. There are lots of examples of pogner in the latest OffQc guide 1000.

Il est was pronounced informally as y’est, which sounds like yé. You can understand là-dedans (pronounced here without the second syllable) as meaning in it.

Fa’ que c’est c’que j’ai faite.

So that’s what I did.

So is very often said as faque. It might be pronounced with one syllable as fak, or with two as fa-que. The speaker of this example pronounced it with two syllables.

C’que is a contraction of ce que. It sounds like skeu.

The past participle fait was pronounced as faite, with the final t. (It sounds like fètt.) This is a feature of informal language.

C’est là où on en est.

That’s where things stand (for us). That’s where we’re at. That’s where we’ve ended up.

Remember, because of the liaison, on en est is pronounced on n’en n’é.

Ça fait super mal.

It hurts so much.

The person who said this emphasised how much it hurt by using the word super. This is an informal usage.

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J’crois que j’ai utilisé toutes mes journées de maladie, faque j’vais caller morte. I think I’ve used up all my sick days at work, so I’m gonna call in dead.

If only!

The expression utiliser une journée de maladie means “to use a sick day (at work),” which is calqued on the English equivalent. We can also say this expression as prendre un congé de maladie.

Faque means alors, “so.” It comes from a reduction of (ça) fait que.

Caller (pronounced câllé; the â makes an “aww” sound) derives from the English verb “call.” Caller as used in this meme is strictly an informal usage.

Caller morte (to call in dead) is not a frequently used expression in Québec. Despite the Québécois’ reputation of having a laid-back attitude to life, not even here is it common to call in dead at work! The expression is just used for comic effect. It’s based on the equally informal expression caller malade (to call in sick).

Don’t confuse the informal caller with the verb caler. Not only are these two verbs pronounced differently (caler doesn’t use the â sound), they don’t mean the same thing. Example: caler une bière, to down a beer, to chug a beer. Caler une bière is a Québécois expression.

Image source: quebecme.me

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Update:

To make this meme sound even more like colloquially spoken French, we could change j’vais to j’vas (sounds like jvâ). This alternate conjugation is frequently heard in the spoken French of Québec.

You’ll also hear m’as (sounds like ). It means the same thing as j’vas/j’vais (m’as caller morte, I’m gonna call in dead).

An alternate and more spontaneous sounding wording:

J’pense que j’ai pris toutes mes journées de maladie, faque m’as caller morte / faque j’vas caller morte.

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Lisa LeBlanc

Lisa LeBlanc (click to go to her website)

In entry #795, we looked at the chorus of Lisa LeBlanc’s song Câlisse-moi là. One thing we didn’t look at is her use of the word so.

Listen again (video below). A few times, you’ll hear her sing so câlisse-moi là. That so means exactly what you think it does; it means “so” and obviously comes from English.

Some francophones in Canada say so in French. Lisa LeBlanc is from the province of New Brunswick, and so is used in her variety of French.

Some francophones in the province of Ontario also say so in French. In Ontario, the farther away you get from Québec, the more likely you are to hear so. The closer you are to Québec, the more likely you are to hear faque instead.

That’s because, you’ll remember, the Québécois say faque. If Lisa LeBlanc were from Montréal, she’d have sung faque câlisse-moi là instead, or even better faque câlisse-moé là because this is trash folk.

Faque is a contraction of ça fait que. Sometimes you’ll hear it pronounced with two syllables like fa–que, other times with one syllable like fak.

If Lisa LeBlanc had used faque in her chorus, she’d have certainly sung it with one syllable. Listen to the song again, and try replacing so with faque while you sing along.

But once you’ve tried it, go back to singing so câlisse-moi là. Lisa LeBlanc’s French is so delicious that we don’t want to change her lyrics and make them all, you know, standard or something by saying faque câlisse-moé là

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