Posts Tagged ‘gentil’

1. GARS (guy, bloke)

The masculine gars rhymes with the French words pas, cas, tas. In other words, don’t pronounce the rs on the end of gars. If you do, you’ll end up saying garce instead, which is a word for bitch.

2. TABARNAK! (fuck!)

It bears repeating because it’s a common misconception: the Québécois don’t swear by saying tabernacle; they swear by saying tabarnak. The swear word tabarnak comes from tabernacle, yes, but tabernacle is reserved for referring to an actual tabernacle. Pay close attention to the differences between the two words: tabernacle and tabarnak. The swear word tabarnak has an a in the middle (not an e), and there’s no le on the end.

3. LYS (lily)

French words are replete with silent letters, but lys isn’t one of them. The final s is indeed pronounced in lys. What’s more, with the way the vowel i is pronounced by Québécois speakers in this word, you’ll notice lys sounds rather like liss (i.e., to rhyme with the English words hiss and miss). So it’s fleur-de-lisss, not fleur-de-liii.

4. BARIL (barrel)

The final L of baril is silent — in Québec, at any rate.

Here are more words whose final L is silent:

5. PERSIL (parsley)
6. NOMBRIL (bellybutton)
7. SOURCIL (eyebrow)
8. FUSIL (firearm)
9. GENTIL (kind, nice)
10. OUTIL (tool)

The final L of sourcil isn’t pronounced, but the final L of this word is heard:

11. CIL (eyelash)

And finally:

12. GENTILLE (nice, kind)

The masculine gentil ends in a silent L, but how’s the feminine form pronounced? The ille part of gentille sounds just like the ille part of the French word fille.


Learn how words contract in spoken Québécois French (with audio): read Contracted French

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Here are a few more examples of French overheard in Montréal today, and that I’ve managed to remember long enough to create a new post! 😀

Y’a-tu une caisse pop?

Is there a (Desjardins) credit union (around here)?

A man who passed by in his car asked me this.

Y’a-tu is an informal equivalent of est-ce qu’il y a? You’ll remember that y’a is a spoken pronunciation of il y a. The tu after it turns it into a yes-no question.

Caisse pop is an informal abbreviation of caisse populaire. Desjardins is a caisse populaire.

Attention à gauche!

Look out on your left!

A man on a bike yelled this just before passing by some people walking on a bike path. He said à gauche because he was coming up quickly from behind the walkers and intended to pass on their left.

It’s also possible to say just à gauche! or attention!

Jus d’ananas

Pineapple juice

The final s in ananas isn’t pronounced — anana.

The letter a appears three times in ananas — you’ll probably hear the last a pronounced like the vowel sound heard in the word bas in this video (at 0:15) or in the words pas and chat in this video (at 0:20). The other two sound like the vowel sound in la, sa, ta, etc.

T’es ben fin.

That’s really nice/kind of you.
(literally, you’re really nice/kind)

Fin is often used in the sense of nice or kind, like gentil. The feminine form is fine. T’es, an informal contraction of tu es, sounds like té. Ben, from bien, rhymes with fin. (A better spelling would be bin, which is phonetic, but I use ben here because it’s the more common spelling.) Ben means really here.

If this had been said to a woman, it would be t’es ben fine.

Even though fin and fine resemble English words, they’re not — pronounce them as French words. As for gentil, remember that the final L isn’t pronounced. In the feminine form gentille, the final ille sounds the ille in fille. Be careful not to use that ille sound in the masculine gentil, which just ends in an i sound.

C’est gentil, merci!
That’s kind of you, thanks!

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While Christmas shopping, I ended up in a bookshop. I browsed books I like and got nothing accomplished.

There’s always the morning of the 24th, right?

While there, the titles of three books for young people caught my eye.


1. Mon frère est gentil mais… tellement traîneux!

Author: Josée Pelletier

The expression laisser traîner (quelque chose) means “to leave (something) lying around.” Someone who’s traîneux is messy and leaves stuff lying around.

2. Ma sœur est gentille mais… tellement texto!

Author: Josée Pelletier

Un texto is a “text message.” Ma sœur est tellement texto, my sister’s “all text message.” She’s obsessed with texting.

3. Mon grand-père est gentil mais… tellement flyé!

Author: Reynald Cantin

Flyé means eccentric, out of the ordinary, wild. The fly part is pronounced like the English word “fly.” This informal adjective can describe people and anything that’s “out there,” like ideas, plans, etc.

Do you know how to pronounce gentil and gentille? Remember, there is no L sound in either of these words.

Gentil rhymes with menti.

The tille part of gentille rhymes with fille.

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