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Posts Tagged ‘Kéven Breton’

In his article on Urbania entitled Le Canadien, la société pis moi, Kéven Breton writes:

Parce que quand le Canadien gagne, je me réjouis, je high-five à qui mieux mieux. Je saute, je suis bien. Je flotte.

We’ve seen before how the Montréal Canadiens are very often referred to in the singular in French: le Canadien. So when Kéven says quand le Canadien gagne, it means when the Canadiens win.

What I really wanted to draw your attention to though was the verb gagner. You’ll hear the infinitive form gagner pronounced with the â sound, as if it were written gâgner. As an approximation, it sounds like “gone yay.” This is also how the past participle gagné is pronounced.

But what about the conjugated form gagne in Kéven’s quote quand le Canadien gagne?

In gagne, there are two things to point out. The first is that it doesn’t use the â sound like gagner does. It’s pronounced with an a, as written. The second thing to note is how the gne ending sounds. You’ll often hear this ending pronounced spontaneously like an ng sound. This means you’ll hear the conjugated form gagne sound like the English word gang.

On this page from Université Laval, you’ll hear examples of words with the gne ending pronounced like this. You can listen to a recording of the words vigne, cygne and ligne, which sound like ving, sing and ling.

Quote by
Kéven Breton in “Le Canadien, la société pis moi,” Urbania, 21 April 2015

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More Urbania!

Keven Breton writes about the consequences of having fingers that don’t bend and, as a result, are stuck in the “fuck you” position.

I don’t know what it’s like to have fingers that don’t bend. I only know what it’s like to have an ankle and toes that don’t bend.

Since being hit by a vehicle that ran over my foot, my fourth toe sits partially atop my big toe. (It’s not so much the “fuck you” position as it is the “what the fuck” position.)

So I read Keven’s blog post with great interest — and then I came across some vocab that you might like to know.

In his blog post, Keven writes about the time he came back from the store with a beer, the beer that would make his journée poche all better.

Once home, he begins to clean la slush off the wheels of his wheelchair. He does this on the rug so that he doesn’t get the floor dirty.

But then he spills his beer all over the floor anyway — il renverse la bière drette dessus.

une journée poche
a crappy day

la slush, la sloche
slush (dirty, soupy snow)

drette dessus
right on it, right on top of it

J’ai renversé la bière drette dessus means I spilled the beer right on it. Chu tombé drette dessus means I fell right on it. T’as mis le doigt drette dessus means you hit the nail on the head (literally, you put your finger right on it). Drette dessus is an informal usage.

Keven Breton’s blog posts on Urbania can be found here. If you want to check out the blog posts from all Urbania authors, that’s here. Urbania blog posts are refreshingly different, and the writing often contains elements of informally spoken language.

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Keven Breton, Ces doigts qui ne plient pas, Urbania, 27 January 2015.

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In #863, we found the adjective rendu in a text written by Kéven Breton about wheelchair accessibility. The wording was:

Ah ouais c’est accessible chenous monsieur! Vous avez juste à passer par l’arrière, dans la petite ruelle qui pue le cadavre. Y’a une petite porte en métal, à côté des vidanges. Cognez, on va aller vous ouvrir! Pis rendu là, y’a juste deux petites marches!

Yeah sure, we’re accessible here, sir! You just have to go around the back into the alley that smells like a dead body. There’s a small metal door beside the garbage. Knock, and we’ll let you in! Then after that (at that point), there are only two small steps!

[Kéven Breton, Vie nocturne : tous ces bars qui ne veulent pas de moi, Urbania, 7 octobre 2014.]

Maybe you’ve been hearing the adjective rendu a lot as you listen to francophones from Québec speak, which wouldn’t be surprising because it’s used frequently.

There’s an expression in particular using rendu that we can look at: c’est rendu que. In the examples below (all found online somewhere), we can say that c’est rendu que means “it’s to the point where.”

Mais là, c’est rendu qu’il fait 3-4 parfois 5 cacas par jour.
But now it’s to the point where he’s going poo 3-4 sometimes 5 times a day.

Là, c’est rendu que j’ose même plus regarder mon père dans les yeux.
Now it’s to the point where I don’t even dare look at my father in the eyes.

Là, c’est rendu que je me fais réveiller de deux à quatre fois par semaine par des gens qui font sauter des feux d’artifice.
Now it’s to the point where I’m woken up two to four times a week by people setting off firecrackers.

Interestingly, those three examples above began with là, which means “now.” This helps to insist on the change in the situation. Not all sentences using c’est rendu que begin with though. Here are a few last examples:

C’est rendu que je me mets toujours à douter de moi.
It’s to the point where I always start doubting myself.

C’est rendu que je n’aime plus sortir avec mon chum.
It’s to the point where I don’t like going out with my boyfriend anymore.

C’est comme une drogue les Olympiques. C’est rendu que je regarde les reprises des reprises!
The Olympics are like a drug, to the point where I watch reruns of reruns!

As you listen to French, see if you can catch examples of  used in the same way as in the examples above. is very frequently used in the sense of “now.”

Là, c’est rendu que…
Pis là, c’est rendu que…
Mais là, c’est rendu que…

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On Urbania, Kéven Breton writes about the challenge of getting into different bars in Montréal on his wheelchair, in Vie nocturne à roulettes : tous ces bars qui ne veulent pas de moi.

He says some bars pass the test, and others don’t.

And then there are the bars in between… a sort of fake kind of accessible, as in:

Ah ouais c’est accessible chenous monsieur! Vous avez juste à passer par l’arrière, dans la petite ruelle qui pue le cadavre. Y’a une petite porte en métal, à côté des vidanges. Cognez, on va aller vous ouvrir! Pis rendu là, y’a juste deux petites marches!

Yeah sure, we’re accessible here, sir! You just have to go around the back into the alley that smells like a dead body. There’s a small metal door beside the garbage. Knock and we’ll let you in! Then after that, there are only two small steps!

We first looked at Kéven’s use of chenous (chez nous) in #861. Maybe you’ll remember that chez nous can mean “at my place” in Québec, just like chez moi. For example, a person who lives alone might say chez nous to talk about his place, instead of chez moi. And even if you live alone, he might say chez vous to talk about your place, instead of chez toi.

In the example above, we really can understand chez nous to refer to more than one person though. Chez nous here (or chenous) refers to the bar and its employees.

Kéven also used vidanges in his text: à côté des vidanges, or “next to the garbage.” Elsewhere on OffQc, we’ve see the term un sac à vidanges, which is a garbage bag.

Learn the verb cogner! Every learner of French learns to say frapper à la porte for “knock on the door,” but have you learned cogner à la porte too? You need to!

You’ll hear the Québécois use the adjective rendu a lot too. We won’t look at all the uses of rendu here, just the one in the example above. Broadly speaking, rendu means “arrived” or “become.” Using “arrived,” we can say that rendu là means “arrived there” — or in more natural-sounding English: “at that point.”

Finally, the word cadavre… This word can be added to the list of 50 words pronounced with the â sound in Québec but not spelled with the accented â. That’s because cadavre is pronounced cadâvre. Only the second a is pronounced â, not the first one. You can hear it pronounced on this Wiki page, near the bottom.

Kéven also wrote y’a a couple times instead of il y a. If you listen to a lot of spoken French, you know that the most normal way of pronouncing il y a during regular conversations is certainly y’a. The negative form is y’a pas.

You can continue reading Kéven’s text on your own, discover more vocabulary and understand how Kéven feels about accessibility in Montréal bars. (You’ll also find an example of pogner in there, when Kéven says pogner le métro, or grab the métro.)

Summary

chez nous can mean chez moi
chez vous can mean chez toi
à côté des vidanges, beside the garbage
un sac à vidanges, a garbage bag
cognez!, knock!
cogner à la porte, to knock at the door
pis rendu là, then at that point, then after that
cadavre is pronounced cadâvre
y’a is an informal pronunciation of il y a
pogner le métro,
to grab the métro

P.S. Pogner and cogner rhyme. Be sure not to pronounce the g in these words. They sound like ponnyé and connyé.

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Quote by Kéven Breton in Vie nocturne : tous ces bars qui ne veulent pas de moi, on Urbania, 7 October 2014.

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Kéven Breton writes about how autumn is the perfect season to be boring and stay home in La saison parfaite pour être plate (The perfect season to be boring), which appeared on Urbania.

Kéven admits to liking when someone cancels plans at the last minute because then, as he says, je peux rester chenous. I can stay home.

Chenous? It’s an informal way of saying chez nous and, in this example, it’s synonymous with chez moi.

But why didn’t Kéven say chez moi if he was only talking about himself?

The plural forms are often used like this — chez nous, chez vous, chez eux instead of chez moichez toi, chez lui/elle.

If you hear someone say chez nous, or like Kéven said, chenous, it doesn’t necessarily mean that person lives with someone…

je veux rester chenous
I want to stay home, chez moi

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