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Posts Tagged ‘hair’

If you’ve already bought and read the OffQc guide C’est what?, then you know the answer to this question.

J’haïs ça, l’hiver.
I hate winter.

That’s how someone said it in a conversation. Let’s take a closer look at this.

The verb haïr means to hate. Haïr sounds like a / ir, with two syllables. I hate, then, is j’haïs. It has two syllables and sounds like ja / i.

(In fact, another conjugation exists: je hais, which sounds like je / è. You’re not very likely to hear that in a conversation, but you can come across it in writing.)

In j’haïs ça, l’hiver, what’s the ça doing in there?

We can say that ça means it here. J’haïs ça, l’hiver is like saying I hate it, winter or winter, I hate it. It’s possible to say j’haïs l’hiver, but that ça is very often heard in spoken language.

You’ll also hear ça used with aimer. J’aime ça, l’hiver!

You can read more about the contents of C’est what? here, or you can buy it in the OffQc store here.

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Here’s a summary of the informal language covered in this post:

  • chus pressé
  • tu penses-tu que…?
  • y’a aucun problème
  • a me dit que…
  • kess tu (veux, fais…)?

On 12 February 2014 in the Montréal edition of the Métro newspaper, comedian Alexandre Barrette wrote an article describing an experience of getting his hair cut at the salon.

He was on a tight schedule, so he didn’t have much time to get his hair done. The hairstylist, who he described as very zen (elle est très zen), was much too slow cutting his hair for his liking.

Alexandre used a lot of informal language in his article, which we can take a look at now.

As Alexandre begins to get frustrated with the hairstylist’s slowness, he tells her that he’s in a rush and hints at whether or not she can speed things up:

… chus pressé. Tu penses-tu qu’on est capables de faire ça en 25-30 minutes?

Je suis pressé. Penses-tu qu’on peut faire ça en 25-30 minutes?

I’m in a rush. D’ya think we can do this in 25-30 minutes?

On OffQc, I’ve usually adopted chu as the spelling for the informal pronunciation of je suis. Alexandre spelled it with an s instead. Chu and chus mean the same thing (je suis), and they both sound like chu.

He also asked tu penses-tu que…? That’s a yes-no question using that informal yes-no question word again. This question means the same thing as est-ce que tu penses que…? and penses-tu que…?

When the hairstylist answers Alexandre’s question, she says:

Y’a aucun problème. On va faire ça rapidement.

Il n’y a aucun problème. On va faire ça rapidement.

There’s no problem. We’ll do this quickly.

Y’a is an informal way of saying il y a.

Despite what the hairstylist says, she doesn’t do things quickly at all. Alexandre then tells us that she wanted to wash his hair. He writes:

A me dit avec douceur : «Viens, avant, on va aller te laver les cheveux.»

Elle me dit avec douceur : «Viens, avant, on va aller te laver les cheveux.»

She says to me softly: “Come along, we’re going to go wash your hair.”

Alexandre wrote a instead of elle. This is an informal pronunciation of elle that you’ll catch people using. Try to say this: ame-dzi, with two syllables. That’s how you may hear people say elle me dit informally.

If elle is pronounced as a, it’s only when elle is a subject (like je, tu, il, elle, nous…). Nobody would ever say pour a instead of pour elle, for example. That’s because elle isn’t a subject in the phrase pour elle. The same goes for à côte d’elle, autour d’elle, avec elle, etc., where elle can only be pronounced as elle.

Alexandre jokes that the hair wash was so slow and intense that he feels raped by her (je me sens violé)! After this, he becomes even more impatient and says to himself in his head:

Kess tu comprends pas dans l’expression CHUS PRESSÉ? Le mot CHUS ou le mot PRESSÉ?

Qu’est-ce que tu ne comprends pas dans l’expression CHUS PRESSÉ [je suis pressé]? Le mot CHUS [je suis] ou le mot PRESSÉ?

What part of the expression CHUS PRESSÉ [I’m in a rush] don’t you understand? The word CHUS [I am] or the word PRESSÉ [in a rush]?

You’ll often hear the question qu’est-ce que tu…? pronounced informally as qu’est-ce tu…?, or as Alexandre wrote more phonetically: kess tu…? Two more examples: qu’est-ce tu veux (kess tu veux)? and qu’est-ce tu fais (kess tu fais)?, which mean “whaddya want?” and “whadd’re ya doin’?”

_ _ _

French quotes written by: Alexandre Barrette, «Expérience capillaire», Métro, Montréal, 12 février 2014, p. 16.

Alexandre Barrette, site officiel

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