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Posts Tagged ‘j’vas’

Here are three expressions that have come up in conversations recently, and which are usually underused or unknown by learners of French.

1. DE BONNE HEURE

De bonne heure means early. Arriver de bonne heure, to arrive early. Se lever de bonne heure, to get up early.

Y’est d’bonne heure un peu, mais j’vas fêter ça quand meme.
(=Il est de bonne heure un peu, mais je vais fêter ça quand même.)
It’s a bit early, but I’m gonna celebrate it anyway.

Y’est d’bonne heure sounds like yéd / bonne / heure. The conjugation j’vas rhymes with pas. The j and v are said together, with no vowel sound between, as jva. J’vas is a colloquial form of je vais.

2. ÇA M’TENTE PAS

We’ve looked often at this expression, but there’s a very good reason — it’s frequently used in conversations, and you need to know it. Instead of saying j’veux pas all the time, you can try to work in ça m’tente pas.

Des fois ça m’tente pas.
(=Des fois [parfois] ça ne me tente pas.)
Sometimes I don’t want to.

Ça m’tente pas d’sortir.
(=Ça ne me tente pas de sortir.)
I don’t wanna go out.

To pronounce ça m’tente, imagine the m as being on the end of ça instead: çam / tente / pas. The same goes for pas d’sortir; imagine the d as being on the end of pas instead: çam / tente / pad / sortir.

3. FAUDRAIT BEN QUE

Here’s a colloquial expression that might be used in place of j’devrais, tu devrais, etc. It’s a short form of il faudrait bien que. It means (I, you…) really should (do), (I, you…) really must be (doing). This expression is followed by the subjunctive.

Ça m’tente pas trop, mais faudrait ben qu’j’me lève.
(=Ça ne me tente pas trop, mais il faudrait bien que je me lève.)
I don’t really wanna, but I really should get up.

Ben sounds like the French word bain. Ben qu’ sounds like bain with a k on the end of it. In j’me, the j and m are said together, with no vowel sound in between: faudraitbaink / jme / lève.

Faudrait ben qu’tu’m’racontes ça.
(=Il faudrait bien que tu me racontes ça.)
You really gotta tell me all about it.

You’d say this last one as: faudrait / baink / tum / racontes / ça. Of course, you’ll remember that the t of tu in fact sounds like ts when pronounced by the Québécois (like the ts in the English words cats, bats, hats): faudrait / baink / tsum / racontes / ça.

With these expressions in mind, can you say the following in French?

I don’t really want to leave early.
I really should do that, even if I don’t wanna.
I really gotta start getting up early.

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Lots of contractions in this post — learn how words contract in spoken Québécois French (with audio): read Contracted French

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“I’m gonna check [that] this evening.” A man said an equivalent of this in French. Can you guess how? Make an attempt before reading on.

Square Dorchester, à Montréal [février 2016]

Square Dorchester, à Montréal [février 2016]

Did your attempt sound like the following?

Je vais vérifier ça ce soir.

It’s correct, but it’s not what he said. Let’s look at how he did.

Maybe you know that, in conversational French, ce soir is often said instead as à soir.

Je vais vérifier ça à soir.

And maybe you know also know that vérifier is often said informally as checker.

Je vais checker ça à soir.

Maybe you know too that je vais is often said as j’vas in spoken French, where vas rhymes with pas.

J’vas checker ça à soir.

But did you know that je vais and j’vas might also be said as m’as in conversations? M’as rhymes with pas.

M’as checker ça à soir.

That’s exactly how the man said it.

M’as comes from s’en aller. In the same way that je vais can be conjugated colloquially as je vas (which contracts to j’vas), the first-person conjugation je m’en vais can be conjugated colloquially as je m’en vas (which contracts to j’m’en vas).

Je m’en vas
contracts to j’m’en vas, which
contracts to m’en vas, which
contracts to m’as.

M’as is an informal usage. You’re not required to use it yourself (nobody expects non-native speakers to use it), but do be sure to understand it.

You can stick with je vais when you need to use prescribed French (in French class, in writing, etc.), but you might want to give j’vas a try from time to time to give your French a colloquial feel — when speaking with francophone friends, for example.

You’ll know if and when you can use m’as when you reach a high level of mastery in French.

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During a conversation, a guy said a French equivalent of “I’m gonna wait a little bit.” But when he said it, he used a number of pronunciations typical of spoken language.

Here’s what he said: j’vas attend’ un p’tit peu. (This means the same thing as je vais attendre un petit peu.) A bit of explanation is necessary here! Let’s start at the beginning.

The guy didn’t say je vais; he said j’vas. Vas rhymes with pas. In j’vas, je has contracted to j’. To pronounce j’vas, just put the French j sound on the front of vas and say it all in one syllable. J’vas is a spoken form often heard in conversations.

Next, let’s look at attend’. In fact, this spelling with the apostrophe is never used. I’ve just used it here to signal that the infinitive attendre was pronounced without its re ending. Careful, though, attend’ doesn’t sound like attend; it sounds like attende. This dropping of the re ending isn’t unique to attendre. It can happen with all the infinitives using the re ending. Vendre, battre, mettre, etc., can drop down to vend’ (vende), batt’ (batte), mett’ (mette). In writing, this dropping of the re is never shown. Even in informal writing, the full spelling is used — vendre, battre, mettre, attendre.

Un petit peu was pronounced as un p’tit peu. If you visualise the p’ as coming at the end of un instead, I think you’ll find it easier to pronounce. Do you remember that t, when it’s followed by the French i sound, is pronounced like the ts in the English word cats? unp tsi peu Now say it fast.

Get operational quickly in conversational Québécois French! An overview of the most important features of spoken language that you need to know — $10

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