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Posts Tagged ‘j’pas un cowboy’

1. In the last entry, we saw how je suis en can contract to j’t’en, where j’ makes a ch sound (ch’t’en).

We’ve seen je suis reduced to just a ch sound before in Lisa LeBlanc’s song J’pas un cowboy (official video on YouTube here). J’pas is a contraction of je (ne) suis pas, and it sounds like ch’pas.

2. In a radio ad, I heard a woman say prendre une marche avec mon chum, to take a walk with my boyfriend.

The expression prendre une marche is a calque of the English expression to take a walk (and felt to be incorrect by certain people for that reason).

3. Parle-moi can be negated informally as parle-moi pas. Parle-moi pas comme ça. Don’t talk to me like that.

The same goes for dis-moi ça (dis-moi pas ça), demande-moi (demande-moi pas), dérange-moi (dérange-moi pas), etc.

4. Learn the phrase on peut-tu…? It means can we…?, is it possible to…? The tu here signals that this is a yes-no question. On peut-tu aller le voir? Can we go see him, it? On peut-tu arrêter de chiâler? Can we stop complaining?

5. OK, not Québécois French, but still of interest — Montréal’s got a street name change in the city centre, boulevard Robert-Bourassa.

If you’re new to OffQc, check out C’est what? 75 mini lessons in conversational Québécois French for an overview of important features of spoken language. (You can buy and download it here immediately.)

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Pu capab' !

Pus capab’, moé !

Moi là, l’hiver, pas capable!

Literal translation:
Personally, the winter, not capable!

Huh??
Not capable of what?
Not capable of standing the winter, of course!

Moi là, l’hiver, pas capable!
Personally, I can’t stand the winter!

The le in capable often drops in colloquial speech: capab’. It sounds like capabe.

Moi là, l’hiver, pas capab’!

Honnêtement là, c’te fille-là, pas capab’!
Honestly, I can’t stand that girl!

C’te is an informally contracted form of cette. To understand what c’te sounds like, first say te. Now put an s sound at the beginning of it: ste.

People also say chu pas capab’. Remember, chu is an informally contracted form of je suis. So chu pas capab’ is a contracted form of the much less informal sounding je ne suis pas capable.

Chu pas can contract even further to ch’pas. Maybe this contraction will remind you of Lisa LeBlanc’s song J’pas un cowboy, where j’pas is pronounced ch’pas. I’ll use the spelling ch’pas here because it’s more phonetic, but remember that you might read j’pas instead in authentic texts.

L’hiver, ch’pas capab’.
I can’t stand the winter.

C’te fille-là, ch’pas capab’.
I can’t stand that girl.

J’aime tous mes voisins. Y’a juste toi que ch’pas capab’.
I like all my neighbours. You’re the only one I can’t stand.

Ouch!

If pas capab’ means “can’t stand it,” then pu capab’ means “can’t stand it anymore.” Remember, pu is an informally contracted form of plus, which means “no more.” It’s also often spelled pus (don’t pronounce the s).

C’te fille-là, pu capab’.
I can’t stand that girl anymore.

Ch’pus capab’ d’habiter au centre-ville.
I can’t stand living downtown anymore.

Honnêtement là, l’hiver, ch’pu capab’.
Honestly, I can’t stand the winter anymore.

Lots of contractions in this post! If you can manage them, you’ll go a long way in making your French sound more natural.

If these contractions are still too challenging for you, don’t stress out about it. Keep listening to lots of spoken French and you may just find that you start using them without having to think too much about it.

Image credit: Watyrfall

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«Tu files pas, tu m'appelles, OK?» [heard in 19-2]

«Tu files pas, tu m’appelles, OK?» [heard on the TV show 19-2]

In today’s entry, let’s focus our attention on the informal verb feeler heard in Québécois French.

We’ve seen the verb feeler come up in a few entries lately, so I’ve pulled together all examples of it on OffQc to see them here in one spot.

The verb feeler (sounds like filé) means “to feel” — we’ll see in what ways below — and is an informal usage only, borrowed from English.

Because this verb is largely an oral usage and not permitted in the standard form of French used in Québec, you’ll see different spellings applied to it when it manages to show up in writing. For example, you might see the first-person present tense spelled as je feel (and j’feel), je file (and j’file) and sometimes as je feele (and j’feele).

The informally contracted j’ sounds like ch before the letter f. So j’feel sounds like chfile.

In fact, the verb feeler isn’t a strictly québécois usage because, in entry #805, la Néo-Brunswickoise Lisa LeBlanc uses it in her song J’pas un cowboy when she sings these lyrics:

1. J’feel toute seule en calvaire.
I feel lonely as hell.

In the description of that same entry, we also saw:

2. J’feel pas ben.
I don’t feel good.

In entry #525, we looked at these examples of feeler:

3. Y file pas ce soir.
He doesn’t feel good this evening.

4. J’file pas fort ce matin.
I don’t feel great this morning.

Those last two sentences could also be said as:

5. Y file pas à soir.
6. J’file pas fort à matin.

That’s because à matin and à soir exist alongside ce matin and ce soir in Québec. The more formal the language is, the more likely you are to encounter the forms using ce.

In entry #748, we saw faire feeler cheap:

7. Tu m’as fait feeler cheap.
You made me feel bad (about myself).

In entry #155, we saw this example of feeler taken from a television series from Québec called 19-2:

8. Tu files pas, tu m’appelles, OK?
(If) you don’t feel good, you call me, OK?

The French word si (if) wasn’t used here, but it’s understood. Also, in this scene from 19-2, the character was emotionally down rather than physically ill.

In entry #796, we saw a few more examples of feeler:

9. Je file tout croche.
I feel bad. I don’t feel good.

10. Je file cheap en maudit.
I feel so damn bad (e.g., for something said or done).

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

You’ll notice in 3, 5 and 8 there’s no word to describe the person’s state, like ben. It’s just the verb followed by pas (y file pas, tu files pas, j’feel pas, etc.). If someone “doesn’t feel,” it’s understood the person “doesn’t feel good.”

With your friends from Québec, there’s no problem using these examples. You wouldn’t want to use them in more formal writing and speaking situations though, or in front of particularly persnickety persons or frustratingly fussy French profs. (You’ll forgive me for my horrible alliterations because I’m writing this at 5 o’clock in the morning.)

If you needed to avoid these examples, you could say things like:

Je me sens mal.
Ça [ne] va pas.
Je [ne] me sens pas bien.
Je vais mal.
Je me sens malade.
Je suis malade…

Here are four more example sentences for good measure!

12. J’feel pas assez pour fêter avec vous autres.
I don’t feel good enough to celebrate with you guys.

13. J’file pas ben ben aujourd’hui.
I’m not feeling so hot today.

14. Désolé, mais j’feel pas ton texte.
I’m not “feeling” what you wrote (e.g, article, essay).
What you wrote isn’t doing it for me.

15. Je commence à pas ben feeler.
I’m starting to not feel good.

Image credit: Leonid Mamchenkov

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(official site)

César asks if I can write a little about Acadian French and Chiac on OffQc.

I haven’t spent enough time around speakers of Acadian French to be able to do here what I do with Québécois French. But what if we took a look from time to time at some of Lisa LeBlanc’s music? In this way, maybe you can infer certain things about Lisa LeBlanc’s variety of French without me having to explicitly say things like “this is Acadian.”

First, let’s return to Lisa LeBlanc’s song Câlisse-moi là. (You can read what câlisse-moi là means here.) We’ll look at another song of hers farther down.

In this song, you’ll very clearly hear the “aww” sound made by the accented â when Lisa pronounces the word câlisse. This sound is also used in Québec. It’s the sound you’ll hear in words like pâtes, fâché and ramasser.

There are three things in this song that strike me as less Québécois and more the variety of French spoken by Lisa LeBlanc, who, remember, is not from Québec but New Brunswick:

1. so
2. j’te bette
3. rolled r

1. so

We looked at Lisa’s use of the word so in her chorus here. Remember, the Québécois say faque instead of so, or at least this is the case in cities like Montréal and Québec. You can also hear so among franco-Ontarian speakers who live farther away from the borders of Québec.

2. j’te bette

In one line, Lisa sings: j’te bette que t’es pas game, or “I bet (you) that you’re not game.” Here, game means “willing,” and this informal usage is also used in Québec. On the other hand, I’d say that the verb most frequently used in Québec in the sense of “to bet” is gager. In Québec, you could say: j’te gage que t’es pas game.

3. rrrrr

Listen to how Lisa pronounces words like rut, vrai and peureux. Can you hear her rolled r? In Montréal, that rolled r used to be in common use up until about the middle of the 1900s. The rolled r today, in Montréal, is associated with older speakers. From what I understand, the rolled r is standard in Acadian French.

Here’s another song by Lisa LeBlanc that you might like: J’pas un cowboy.

Let’s look at these four parts of her song:

1. j’pas
2. pogner
3. tavarne
4. but j’feel

1. j’pas

If you’ve been reading OffQc for a while, you know very well that je suis often contracts to chu. Je ne suis pas un cowboy can be said informally as chu pas un cowboy.

Lisa takes the contraction one step further and pronounces je suis just as a ch sound, which is shown in the title of her song as j’. The j’pas in her title (which means je [ne] suis pas) sounds like chpâ. This can also be heard in Québec.

2. pogner

In one line, Lisa sings about a cowboy hat. She says: pis un chapeau que j’ai pogné à St-Tite, or “and a hat that I picked up in St-Tite.”

St-Tite is in Québec. Every year, there’s a western festival held there.

If you’ve been following along with OffQc for a while, you must be experts in the verb pogner by now, especially in the book title Ah shit, j’ai pogné le cancer written by Maude Schiltz.

The verb pogner, used very frequently in Québec, usually takes on the sense of “to catch.” Here, in this song, we can say it means “to pick up.”

3. tavarne

Listen to how Lisa pronounces taverne. It sounds like tavarne, right? Pronouncing ar instead of er is often associated with older speakers in Québec. For example, to the ears of someone from Montréal, la porte varte est ouvarte (meaning la porte verte est ouverte) sounds rural or spoken by an older person.

The exception, in Québec, is with vulgar words, which conserve the ar sound in all age groups, like marde, tabarnak and viarge.

When Lisa says tavarne (taverne), it rhymes with farme (ferme) in the line before it. It’s unclear to me if this pronunciation is standard in her variety of French, or if she’s chosen this pronunciation as a stylistic element to sound more folksy. I can’t comment on the social perception of the ar sound (as opposed to er) in Acadian French. If you know something about this, feel free to comment.

4. but j’feel

Lisa says: but j’feel toute seule en calvaire, or “but I feel as lonely as hell.” In Québec, “but” is definitely said as mais. This line would sound perfectly québécois said instead as: mais j’feel toute seule en calvaire.

The verb feeler (also spelled as filer) comes to French via English, and is only used informally. J’feel cheap. I feel bad. I feel like a low-life. J’feel pas ben. I don’t feel good.

We saw in entry #803 (Ma vie, c’est de la marde) the expression en esti, where the comic strip character says: il fait beau en esti, or “it’s fucking nice out.” The expression en calvaire works the same way: j’feel toute seule en calvaire.

There are other elements for us to look at in this song, but let’s leave some stuff for future entries! 😉

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