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Posts Tagged ‘j’t’en’

Can you say the five English sentences below in an informal style of French? Say your answer aloud, applying whatever informal contractions are possible.

In the answers below, I’ve given both an informal, spoken version and a version without contractions so that you can see the difference between the two.

Say in French

  1. I’m not kidding you.
  2. Now I’ve had it! (use tanné in your answer)
  3. You’re not serious?! (as in: Are you for real?!)
  4. Ha! That’s a good one!
  5. We’re gonna talk about that.

Answers

The versions typically heard in spoken language are in blue.

1. I’m not kidding you. Je ne te niaise pas, which can be heard in spoken language as j’te niaise pas. The contracted j’te sounds like ch’te.

2. Now I’ve had it! Là, je suis tanné!, which can be heard in spoken language as là, j’su’ tanné! The contracted j’su’ sounds like chu.

3. You’re not serious?! Tu n’es pas sérieux?!, which can be heard in spoken language as t’es pas sérieux?! The contracted t’es sounds like té.

4. Ha! That’s a good one! Ha! Elle est bien bonne, celle-là!, which can be heard in spoken language as Ha! ‘Est ben bonne, celle-là! The contracted ‘est sounds like è. Ben sounds like the French word bain.

5. We’re gonna talk about that. On va parler de ça, which may also be heard in spoken language as on va parler de t’ça. De t’ça sounds like de with a t sound on the end, followed by ça. Ça in de ça and de t’ça rhymes with the words pas and chat in this video.

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Another example of French overheard in Montréal today; someone said in French the equivalent of “I’m on break” (as in a break at work).

Do you know how the person might have said this informally in French?

First thing to know: to be on break is être en pause.

This gives us je suis en pause.

Do you remember how je suis en can be pronounced informally? It can contract to j’t’en, which sounds like ch’t’en. (The ch sounds like ch in chaise.)

This happens when je suis contracts to j’s’, which sounds like ch. Between the ch sound and en, a t sound then got slipped in to ease pronunciation.

So the speaker said:

J’t’en pause.
(sounds like ch’t’en pause)

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Yesterday we looked at how je suis can contract when the next word begins with a vowel. For example, je suis en maudit can contract to j’t’en maudit, where j’t’en sounds like ch’t’en.

Let’s look at another informal contraction containing je now.

Je me suis can contract to j’me su’s (sounds like jme su).

J’me su’s posé une question.
I asked myself a question.

C’est bon, que j’me su’s dit.
It’s good, I said to myself.

J’me su’s payé la traite.
I treated myself.

J’me su’s couché tard.
I went to bed late.

Review. Say what all of the following are informal contractions of:

  • j’t’en (sounds like ch’t’en)
  • j’t’à (sounds like ch’t’à)
  • j’t’un (sounds like ch’t’un)
  • j’t’allé (sounds like ch’t’allé)
  • j’pas (sounds like ch’pas)
  • j’me su’ (sounds like jme su)

Answers

  • je suis en
  • je suis à
  • je suis un
  • je suis allé
  • je (ne) suis pas
  • je me suis

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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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We’ve seen how je suis can contract to what sounds like chu at the informal level of language. But when the next word after chu begins with a vowel, an additional change can occur.

The expression en maudit, for example, means mad as hell, pissed off. Je suis en maudit. I’m mad as hell. I’m pissed off.

But when we apply an informal pronunciation to je suis en maudit, it can sound like ch’t’en maudit. What’s going on here?

The ch sound in ch’t’en is a contraction of je suis. Then a t sound is slipped in before en, which begins with a vowel.

So that’s how je suis en can end up being pronounced as ch’t’en, which you might see written informally as j’t’en.

Can you now say how the following might sound informally?

Je suis en train de…
I’m in the process of…

Je suis en forme.
I’m in shape.

Je suis en burn-out.
I’m burnt out. (Burn-out is pronounced as in English but with the stress on the last syllable.)

Je suis à boutte!
I’ve had it!

Quand je suis arrivé à Montréal…
When I arrived in Montréal…

Je suis allé fumer une cigarette.
I went to smoke a cigarette.

Answers
ch’t’en train de
ch’t’en forme
ch’t’en burn-out
ch’t’à boutte
quand ch’t’arrivé
ch’t’allé fumer

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