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Posts Tagged ‘gang’

This list of 13 English-derived words used in Québécois French is, of course, nowhere near exhaustive. Even if you choose not to use these words yourself, do learn to understand them to increase your understanding of spoken French.

Caveat lector:

The words below are informal usages in Québec. If you’re required to use standard language (e.g., on a French exam), avoid using these words unless you know what you’re doing. That said, these words are fine to use during informal conversations with francophone friends. For each word, I’ve provided an equivalent in standard Québécois French (SQF) for the times when you need or want to avoid using a colloquial, English-derived one.

1. TOUGH

Pronounced as though written toffe; can be used as an adjective or noun. C’est tough à faire. It’s tough to do. C’est tough à accepter. It’s tough to accept. As a noun, tough means tough guy. Lui, c’t’un tough. He’s a tough guy. (C’t’un is a contraction of c’est un. It sounds like the French word un preceded by st, as though it were st’un.) There’s also the verb tougher, which sounds like toffé. Tougher means to tough out, to put up with. J’ai toughé ça deux mois. I toughed it out for two months. I put up with it for two months. SQF: dur (instead of tough), un dur (instead of un tough) and supporter or endurer (instead of tougher).

2. ROUGH

Rhymes with tough; in other words, it sounds like roffe. J’ai eu une adolescence pas mal rough. I had a pretty rough adolescence. (The part that means pretty here is pas mal. Say these two words together; they form a set expression.) SQF: dur.

3. TOUNE

Feminine noun meaning song, tune. ‘Est tellement bonne, c’te toune-là. That’s such a good song. (‘Est is a contraction of elle est; it sounds like è. C’te is a contraction of cette; it sounds like the French word te with an s sound at the beginning of it, as though it were s’te.) SQF: une chanson.

4. CUTE

Adjective pronounced as though it were spelled kioute. C’est tellement cute! That’s so cute! Y’est tellement cute, ton chien. Your dog’s so cute. (Y’est is a contraction of il est; it sounds like yé.) SQF: mignon.

5. FULL

Adverb meaning very, so. Pronounced like the French word foule. C’est full cute! That’s so cute! C’est full malade! That’s so amazing! The use of full is more typical of younger speakers. SQF: tellement.

6. WEIRD

Adjective pronounced as in English and meaning the same thing. C’t’assez weird, ton affaire. What happened (is happening) to you is pretty weird. Your situation is pretty weird. That’s pretty weird what’s going on (for you). (C’t’assez is a contraction of c’est assez. It sounds like assez preceded by st, as though it were stacé.) SQF: bizarre.

7. GANG

Feminine noun pronounced as in English; used to refer to a group of friends, co-workers. Amène ta gang! Bring your friends along! J’aime ça, sortir en gang. I like going out with friends. Aller souper avec la gang du bureau. To go out for supper with my friends from work. SQF: (mes, tes…) amis, (mes, tes…) collègues.

8. GAME

Pronounced as in English; can be used as an adjective or feminine noun. As a feminine noun, it means the same thing as match, which also happens to be from English. Grosse game à soir! Big game on tonight! As an adjective, it means willing. Es-tu game? You game? You up for it? SQF: un match, une partie (instead of une game); être d’accord (instead of être game).

9. FUN

Masculine noun pronounced as though written fonne. C’est l’fun! This is fun! It’s fun! C’t’un gars l’fun. C’t’une fille l’fun. He’s a fun guy. She’s a fun girl. When used adjectively, fun is preceded by le, which contracts to l’. (C’t’un and c’t’une are contractions of c’est un and c’est une. They sound like the French words un and une preceded by st, as though they were st’un and st’une. Gars rhymes with the French words pas, cas, bas. Don’t pronounce the rs.) On va avoir du fun! We’re gonna have fun! SQF: amusant (as an adjective); s’amuser or avoir du plaisir (instead of avoir du fun).

10. JOB

Feminine noun used literally in the sense of job and also in certain colloquial expressions. Une job d’été. A summer job. J’ai perdu ma job. I lost my job. Ça va faire la job! That’ll do the job! That’ll do the trick! SQF: un emploi, un travail; ça fera l’affaire (instead of ça va faire la job).

11. NAPKIN

A feminine noun meaning napkin, serviette. Amène des napkins! Bring some napkins! Napkin is pronounced as in English, but shift the stress to the final syllable instead. In the plural napkins, the final s isn’t pronounced. SQF: une serviette.

12. TATTOO

Masculine noun pronounced as though written tatou. J’ai un tattoo su’l’mollet. I’ve got a tattoo on my calf. (Su’l’ is a contraction of sur le. It’s pronounced exactly as written, as sul.) SQF: un tatouage.

13. SHIFT

Masculine noun, pronounced as though spelled chiff. It sounds much like the way an anglophone would say shiff, not sheef. Shift de jour, shift de soir, shift de nuit, day shift, evening shift, night shift. J’travaille su’l’shift de soir. I work on the evening shift. (Su’l’ is a contraction of sur le. It’s pronounced exactly as written, as sul.) Shift is sometimes analysed by francophones as being the French word chiffre. This is because shift and chiffre are both pronounced as chiff, at least in colloquial language. This means that, in informal writing written off the cuff (e.g. a text message), you might see chiffre de jour, chiffre de soir, chiffre de nuit, but it’s still pronounced chiff. SQF: un quart (quart de jour, quart de soir, quart de nuit).

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The OffQc guide 1000 Québécois French will help you to increase your vocabulary and knowledge of essential, everyday expressions. It’s a condensed version of the first 1000 posts on OffQc; you can use it to become acquainted with the most important Québécois French vocabulary and expressions for the first time, or to review a large amount of material in less time.

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There’s an ad running on the radio (from a restaurant, I think — I only caught part of it) where the speaker invites listeners to bring all their friends along. She says an equivalent of:

Bring the gang along!

Can you guess how she said this in French?

Métro Place-des-Arts, à Montréal [février 2016]

Métro Place-des-Arts, à Montréal [février 2016]

She said:

Amène ta gang!
Bring the gang along!

Gang is a feminine noun; it follows English pronunciation. Here, it’s used in the sense of a group of people (usually friends, co-workers, etc.).

Amener is often used in the sense of to bring. We saw other examples of amener here in #872, where I posted some overheard language said by a group of women in their 60s in a food court.

Amène une chaise.
Bring a chair.

Amène-moi un biscuit.
Bring me a cookie.

*

OffQc guides for sale

All are available here in the OffQc store

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On a wall in a shopping centre in Montréal, I came across these blocks of text providing reasons to go shopping there. Let’s look at two of them.

 

C’est la fête de ma blonde.
It’s my girlfriend’s birthday.

Sushi avec la gang du bureau.
Sushi with the office crew.

Fête can be used to refer to a birthday. C’est ma fête aujourd’hui, for example, means it’s my birthday today. C’est la fête de ma blonde means it’s my girlfriend’s birthday, where une blonde is a girlfriend. Un gâteau de fête is a birthday cake. Bonne fête! Happy birthday!

Une blonde is a girlfriend, and un chum is a boyfriend. Blonde and chum might also be used to refer to a spouse. On the Wikitionnaire page for blonde, we find this usage note:

Traditionnellement, au Québec, les mots chum et blonde servent à désigner l’ami et l’amie de cœur, par opposition à mari/femme, époux/épouse ou conjoint/conjointe pour les couples mariés. Toutefois, depuis les années 1990, il est fréquent d’entendre des couples mariés utiliser les mots chum et blonde pour désigner le conjoint. Ce phénomène est attribuable à une image «vieux jeu» du mariage et à une volonté de ne pas révéler clairement si le couple est officiellement marié ou non. Cet usage est assez fréquent mais critiqué par certains qui le voient comme une dévalorisation du mariage.

In short, it says that chum and blonde were traditionally used to refer to boyfriends and girlfriends; however, since the 1990s, some married couples may also use them to avoid revealing their marital status or because other terms, like mari and femme, strike them as sounding old-fashioned. Some people see this usage as a corrosion of values regarding marriage.

Gang here is a feminine noun pronounced like its English equivalent. It can be used to refer to a group of friends (e.g., sortir avec la gang). La gang du bureau is an informal way to refer to one’s office co-workers.

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You know those sponsored ads that show up in your Facebook feed (do I even need to ask)? I’ve pulled seven comments left on those ads by other people for us to look at. Might as well turn those ads into something we can learn from.

I haven’t changed any of the words; the only changes I’ve made are to spelling and punctuation, or I may have included only part of a comment if it was long.

1. On an ad from Zoosk, an online dating site, we find this comment:

C’est d’la marde, ça.
This is shit. It’s garbage.

You’ll hear shit called marde very frequently in Québec!

If it’s crap, c’est d’la marde.

2. On an ad for a 5 km run from Color Vibe, held in different countries around the world, a Facebook user who wanted to participate named a friend in a comment and asked her:

T’es-tu down?
You down? You game?
Do you wanna go?
Do you wanna do this?

We’ve seen in other posts on OffQc that down can be used in the sense of feeling down (depressed). Chu down depuis hier, I’ve been (feeling) down since yesterday. Y’a pogné un down, he’s (feeling) down.

In this Facebook example, down means “to be willing” or “to be up for it” or, like the other informal québécois word that’s been coming up on OffQc lately, game.

T’es-tu game? T’es-tu down?
T’es-tu down pour demain?

This question uses the informal yes-no tu in it. The part that means “you” in this question is the t’. The tu is the part that signals to us that it’s a yes-no question.

3. Then there was this comment on an ad from CarrXpert promoting their body shop repairs:

Fini CarrXpert pour moi, une belle job de cochon sur mon auto.
Never again CarrXpert for me, (they) messed up my car good.

The word job in Québécois French is usually a feminine word in colloquial conversations. Job can refer to employment (for example: j’ai lâché ma job, I quit my job), but not in this example: here, it’s used in the sense of work that was carried out on a car.

4. On an ad from Keurig (they make single-serving coffee brewers that use small disposable cups), a commenter points out the negative effects of their coffee brewer on the environment:

Bravo pour faire plus de déchets! Je préfère ma vieille machine et composter ma mouture sans déchets! Gang de paresseux!
Bravo for making more waste! I prefer my old machine and composting my grounds without making waste! Bunch of lazy people!

The French word gang as used in Québec sounds much like its English equivalent. It’s a feminine noun. It can mean “gang” just like in English (like a street gang), but it’s even more often used in the general sense of a bunch of people — nothing to do with crime.

Ma gang de bureau, my friends from the office, my office group. Gang de caves! Bunch of idiots! Toute la gang est invitée, the whole gang is invited, all you guys are invited.

C'est du pink slime.

C’est du pink slime.

5. In a McDonald’s ad for the quart de livre (quarter pounder) showing an image of a horribly pink, uncooked hamburger patty being weighed on scale (to prove it really does weigh a quarter pound), we find this comment:

Quart de livre de marde rose et blanche.
Quarter pound of pink and white shit.

There’s that marde again!

6. Then there was also this comment on the same McDonald’s ad:

C’est dégueu. T’as-tu vu la couleur?
That’s disgusting. Did you see the colour?

And there’s that informal yes-no question marker again too. The part that means “you” in this question is the t’. The tu signals that it’s a yes-no question.

Dégueu is a short form of dégueulasse.

7. And this comment, again on the same McDonald’s ad:

Moi, du McDo, c’est pas mal fini.
For me, (eating) McDonald’s, it’s pretty much over.

Pas mal is an expression meaning “pretty” or “pretty much.” C’est pas mal cher. It’s pretty expensive. Y’est pas mal cute, lui. He’s pretty cute. J’ai pas mal de livres dans ma chambre. I’ve got quite a few book in my room.

Don’t pause between pas and mal. Say those two words together because they form an expression: c’est / pas mal / cher.

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1. C’est d’la marde, ça.

2. T’es-tu down?

3. Fini CarrXpert pour moi, une belle job de cochon sur mon auto.

4. Bravo pour faire plus de déchets! Je préfère ma vieille machine et composter ma mouture sans déchets! Gang de paresseux!

5. Quart de livre de marde rose et blanche.

6. C’est dégueu. T’as-tu vu la couleur?

7. Moi, du McDo, c’est pas mal fini.

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Je tripe fort sur les orignaux de jardin!

Je tripe fort sur les orignaux de jardin!

Review time!

Here are 51 example sentences to file away in the folder marked Québécois French in your head. Note: Some of these sentences are for a mature audience only and blah blah blah, this is OffQc.

Credit where credit is due — a very large number of these example sentences are heavily inspired by Maude Schiltz and the colloquial language found in her book Ah shit, j’ai pogné le cancer (tome 1).

I’ve included notes where I thought it would be helpful.

All of these example sentences feel like the sort of things you could say in everyday language situations with people you know well. These are not examples of formal language.

There’s an exception though, and that’s number 33. This example sentence isn’t strictly informal.

Are you getting excited? I am! We’re only a few posts away from #800, which means post #1000 will soon be poking its head on the horizon!

1. Je tripe fort sur les orignaux de jardin!
I’m totally crazy about garden moose!

Or should that be “garden meese”?
The singular of orignaux is orignal.

2. Y a été assez poche avec moi.
He was pretty bad to me.

Y a is an informal way of saying il a.
Y a sounds like yâ.

3. Là, ça va faire!
OK, that’s enough!
Right, enough is enough!

means “now,” but “now” doesn’t sound right in the translation here.

4. J’ai pris mes cliques pis mes claques.
I grabbed all my stuff.

Pis is pronounced pi.
Pis means “and” here.
You can use this expression when getting all your stuff together to move out quickly or when you’re being kicked out, for example.

5. J’ai sacré mon camp.
I got the hell outta there.

Camp is pronounced like quand.

6. Je commence à badtriper là-dessus.
I’m starting to freak out about it.

Badtriper is pronounced bade-tripé.
Use badtriper to talk about freaking out in a bad way (stress, worry, etc.).

7. C’t’une joke, capote pas!
I’m just kidding, calm down!

C’t’une is an informal pronunciation of c’est une.
C’t’une sounds like stune.
Use capoter to talk about losing one’s calm.

8. Je tripe là-dessus solide.
I’m totally crazy about it.

9. Chu down depuis hier.
I feel down since yesterday.

Chu is an informal pronunciation of je suis.
Down
is pronounced like its English equivalent.

10. Y mérite que je le câlisse là.
He deserves for me to fuckin’ dump him.

Y is an informal pronunciation of il.

11. Chu sorti avec ma gang de bureau.
I went out with my group from the office.

Chu is an informal pronunciation of je suis.
Gang
sounds like its English equivalent.

12. C’est ben correct si t’aimes pas ça.
It’s perfectly fine if you don’t like it.

Correct is pronounced informally as correc.

13. On s’est quitté sur une note poche.
We left each other on a bad note.

14. J’ai pogné mon chum à cruiser des filles.
I caught my boyfriend going after girls.

Cruiser is pronounced crouzé.

15. Ça, c’est le boutte le fun!
That’s the fun part!

Boutte is an informal pronunciation of bout.

16. Je file tout croche.
I feel bad. I don’t feel well.

17. J’ai pété une sale coche.
I lost my temper big time.

Péter is pronounced pèté.

18. J’ai tripé en crisse.
I had a hell of a great time.

19. Je trouve que c’est de la bullshit.
I think that’s bullshit.

Bullshit is pronounced boulechitte.

20. Y pogne avec les filles.
He’s lucky with girls. Girls find him hot.

Y is an informal pronunciation of il.

21. Le timing a pas été bon.
The timing wasn’t good.

22. J’ai de la misère à le croire.
I’m having a hard time believing him.

23. J’ai fait freaker tout le monde.
I freaked everybody out.

Freaker is pronounced friquer.

24. J’ai pogné un down.
I’m feeling really down.

Down is pronounced like its English equivalent.

25. T’es vraiment magané ce matin.
You’re in really rough shape this morning.

T’es is an informal contraction of tu es.
T’es
sounds like té.

26. J’ai la chienne de me faire mal.
I’m terrified of getting hurt.

27. Y est carrément épeurant, ce gars-là.
He’s downright scary, that guy.

Y est is an informal pronunciation of il est.
Y est sounds like yé.
Carrément is pronounced cârrément.
Gars is pronounced gâ.

28. T’es cheap en maudit, toi!
You’re so damn cheap!

T’es is an informal contraction of tu es.
T’es
sounds like té.
Cheap here is used in the sense of not liking to spend money.

29. Tu te fais bullshitter solide.
You’re getting played solid, lied to big time.
He (she, they, etc.) is totally bullshitting you.

Bullshitter is pronounced boulechitté.

30. Je file cheap en maudit.
I feel so damn bad.

Cheap sounds like its English equivalent.
Cheap here is used in the sense of feeling like a low-life.

31. C’est pour le fun!
It’s just for fun!

32. Chu raqué et j’ai mal à la gorge.
I’m sore all over and I have a sore throat.

Chu is an informal pronunciation je suis.

33. Le brigadier scolaire a fait traverser des écoliers.
The crossing guard helped some schoolchildren to cross.

34. Le français québécois, c’est tripant!
Québécois French is such a blast!

35. On m’a booké un rendez-vous.
They booked me an appointment.

Booker is pronounced bouké.

36. Y a pogné le creux de la vague.
He’s down in the dumps.

Y a is an informal pronunciation of il a.
Y a sounds like yâ.

37. Arrête de m’écoeurer avec ça.
Stop nagging me about that.
Stop driving me nuts about that.

38. La semaine s’annonce rough.
Looks like a rough week ahead.

Rough is pronounced roffe.

39. T’es full pas de classe, toi.
You’re so unclassy.

T’es is an informal contraction of tu es.
T’es
sounds like té.
Full sounds like foule.

40. Je file pas ben pantoute.
I don’t feel good at all.

41. Shit, tu viens de passer sur la rouge!
Shit, you just went through a red (light)!

Sur la is often pronounced informally as s’a.

42. Peux-tu checker ça avec ton patron?
Can you check that with your boss?

Checker sounds like the English word “check” followed by é.

43. Es-tu game de faire ça demain?
Are you up for doing it tomorrow?

Game sounds like its English equivalent.

44. T’es aussi ben de l’appeler aujourd’hui.
You better call him today.

T’es is an informal contraction of tu es.
T’es
sounds like té.

45. Crisse-moi patience!
Leave me the hell alone!

46. Ces produits sont pleins de chnoute.
These products are full of crap.

47. Le médecin m’a gelé ben comme faut.
The doctor drugged me up good.

Ben comme faut is an informal way of saying bien comme il faut.

48. Chu vraiment tanné d’entendre ça.
I’m really sick of hearing that.

Chu is an informal pronunciation je suis.

49. Des livres, j’en ai un char pis une barge.
I’ve got heaps and heaps of books.

Pis is pronounced pi.
Pis means “and” here.

50. C’est un crisse de gros cave.
He’s a huge goddamn idiot.

Don’t mistakenly pronounce cave like an English word.
Cave is a French word and rhymes with bave.

51. On l’a pogné à se crosser sur la job.
They caught him jerking off on the job.

Sur la is often pronounced informally as s’a.

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un gros party à la maison avec la gang du bureau

The OQLF’s name in full is Office québécois de la langue française. Have you ever wondered about the meaning of the masculine word office?

Office is a French word, but it looks just a little like the English word “office,” doesn’t it? The French word office doesn’t come from the English word “office,” though. The OQLF would never dare use an English word in its name!

The French word office comes from Latin, and the English word “office” comes from French.

In the OQLF’s name, office means “bureau” or “agency.” Office québécois de la langue française means “French Language Bureau of Québec” or “French Language Agency of Québec.”

Don’t confuse the French words office and bureau. When you’re talking about the office at the company you work for, use bureau.

Je dois aller au bureau.
I have to go to the office.

Lui, c’est un collègue de bureau.
He’s an office co-worker.

J’ai fait un gros party à la maison avec la gang du bureau.
I held a big house party with my friends from the office.

Remember, la gang in Québec is pronounced like its English equivalent “gang.” In France, gang sounds like “gong,” is masculine, and isn’t used in the sense of a group of friends, like in Québec.

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Lucas wrote to me asking if the word gang is masculine or feminine in the French of Québec.

In spontaneous speech, it’s feminine: une gang. The pronunciation of gang in Québec sounds like its English equivalent “gang.” (In France, it sounds like “gong” and is masculine.) In the plural gangs, the s is silent.

If you come across the masculine form in Québec, it will probably be in writing rather than everyday speech.

If you’re interested in checking out an online dictionary of French produced in Québec, take a look at the dictionnaire Usito. You can sign up for a free 30-day trial version.

In this dictionary, we find lots of examples of how gang is used in the French of Québec, for example:

gangs de rue, street gangs
gang de motards, biker gang

… informally in the sense of “bunch”:

une gang de jeunes, a bunch of young people
une gang de touristes, a bunch of tourists
quelle gang de cochons!, what a bunch of pigs!

… in the sense of a group of friends:

il sort avec sa gang tous les soirs, he goes out with his friends every night

We also find the expressions en gang and toute la gang. For example, you can say things like une sortie en gang (an outing with friends) and une photo de toute la gang (a photo of the whole gang).

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