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Posts Tagged ‘job’

I was asked to explain the difference between the French equivalents of to be bored and to miss (someone), using the verb s’ennuyer.

Je m’ennuie means I’m bored.
Je m’ennuie au travail. I’m bored at work.
Je m’ennuie avec elle. I’m bored (when I’m) with her.

If you put de after s’ennuyer, you get the expression to miss (someone).

Je m’ennuie de toi means I miss you.
Je m’ennuie de vous autres. I miss you guys.
Je m’ennuie de Québec. I miss Québec City.

I was also asked about the adjective plate in relation to all of this:

If something bores you, you can describe it as being plate in informal language.

T’es plate! You’re no fun! You’re boring!
C’est plate! This is boring!
C’est ben plate à soir! Things are so boring tonight! (Ben means very and sounds like the French word bain; it’s a contracted form of bien.)
J’ai une job plate de bureau. I’ve got a boring office job.

Note: plate means boring, not bored. So if you’re bored, don’t describe yourself as plate. It’s the thing that causes the boredom that’s plate.

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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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In this Huffington Post Québec article, a man talks about how he had to take care of his little sister when growing up because of the negligence of his parents. In his words, he used to feed her (lui faire à manger), check her homework (checker ses devoirs)«je faisais la job d’un parent».

We’ve seen before how la job can be used informally to talk about employment, in the sense of un emploi. But la job can also be used in a broader non-employment sense, like here, when the man said he used to do la job d’un parent, the job of a parent.

You’ll also hear the verb checker fairly frequently in spoken language, like here in checker ses devoirs, to check her homework.

But getting back to job, what’s the difference between la job and le job, and are both used in Québec?

European usage knows only le job.

Québécois usage is a little more complex:

In conversations, you’ll hear job used spontaneously in the feminine. In writing, you’ll come across both. When the writer wants to remain faithful to normal, spoken language, the feminine form will be used; this might include, for example, Facebook posts and tweets. Otherwise, the masculine form might be preferred (it’s not a rule!), such as in advertising or the media. That said, it isn’t impossible to come across the feminine form in advertising or the media (see image below, from #714).

No matter what, though, job is always an informal usage, whether it’s masculine or feminine.

By the way, you can’t just change la job to le job to “convert” it to French (from France) usage. For example, the Québécois expression ça va faire la job means that’ll do the job, that’ll do the trick. You can’t just change this to ça va faire le job and expect that to be the European usage. That’s because this is a Québécois-specific expression using only the feminine form. (A possible equivalent not using la job is ça fera l’affaire.)

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A short Facebook update by Rabii Rammal reminds us of both Québécois vocabulary and good manners on this brutal winter day:

Ce soir après la job, stationne pas ton char dans la place que ton voisin a déneigée. C’est pas très gentil.

This evening after work, don’t park your car in the spot that your neighbour had to shovel. That’s not very nice.

la job
job, work

[ne] stationne pas
don’t park

ton char
your car

la place
place, spot

déneiger
to clear away the snow

When a snowplough comes along, it dumps mounds of snow around cars parked in the street, blocking them in. Owners then have the pleasure of having to dig their car out with a shovel. These are the parking spots that Rabii asks neighbours not to steal after work (wouldn’t it be nice).

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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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