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Posts Tagged ‘là’

During a French conversation in Montréal, one guy asked another if he had time to accompany him somewhere. His friend said yes because he wasn’t in a rush. Let’s look at how he said in French I’m not in a rush.

To say in a rush, he used the adjective pressé. In its full form, we can say I’m not in a rush as je ne suis pas pressé.

But I’m sure you’ve already guessed that this isn’t quite how he pronounced it. Here’s what he really said: j’pas pressé, là.

J’pas pressé is a contraction of je ne suis pas pressé. First, the ne is dropped, leaving us with je suis pas pressé. The remaining je suis can then contract to j’su’ pas (sounds like chu pas) or even further to j’pas (sounds like ch’pas). A contracted j’ makes the French ch sound before p; that’s why j’pas sounds like ch’pas.

J’su’ pas pressé, là.
J’pas pressé, là.

The  here doesn’t necessarily translate to any word in particular in English. It just helps to add a sort of nonchalance, a sort of hey, I’m not in a rush, so why not? feel to what he’s said.

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During a conversation, someone said:

[bla bla bla bla bla]… et là, mon téléphone sonne.

You’ll find it really useful to learn how to use like this. It means then here. (This is not the same that you read about recently in #1029.)

When you’re recounting past events in a conversation, you can use the expressions et là or, more informally, pis là the way English says and then. In the example above, the verb is in the present tense, but it’s understood that the events occurred in the past.

[bla bla bla bla bla]… et là, mon téléphone sonne.
[blah blah blah blah blah]… and then, my phone rang.

Et là and pis là both mean the same thing. Pis là sounds as if it were written pi là. Pis is a spoken contraction of puis.

You can also say on its own without et or pis before it.

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On his TV show, Ricardo said this about something he had just cooked in front of his TV audience:

Ça, pour moi, là, c’est vraiment super.

What’s the doing in there?

This doesn’t mean there. We might be able to translate it instead as well in this example.

Ça, pour moi, là, c’est vraiment super.
This [what I made], to me, well, it’s really great.

As you listen to French, you’ll be hearing used very frequently like this. It often comes at the end of statements, but not always — in the example above, it’s in the middle.

Ben, je sais pas, là.
Well, I dunno.

Faque qu’est-ce qu’on fait, là?
So what’re we gonna do then?

Moi là, j’aime pas ça.
Yeah well, me, I don’t like that.

Ben, c’est comme tu veux, là.
Well, whatever you want.

You’ll probably want to resist the urge to find a direct equivalent into English. The more you listen to spoken French, the less mysterious this use of  will seem to you — and you’ll probably want to start using it yourself!

This  is a very characteristic feature of the French spoken in Québec, so don’t be afraid to try popping it in every once in a while into your own French. Your Québécois listeners will love it. 😀

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Montréal

Montréal

During a conversation, I was reminded of the importance and frequency of the expression faque là. You’ll want to make sure you understand this expression if you don’t already.

Faque is a contraction of ça fait que. Faque means so, like alors, and it’s an informal usage.

Faque can be pronounced with one syllable (as faque) or two (as fa/que). The person who used the expression faque là that inspired this post always pronounced faque with one syllable.

Faque c’est ça.
So there you go.
So there you have it.
So that’s how it is, etc.

Faque qu’est-ce qu’on fait?
So what are we going to do?

As for là, it can be used in the sense of now.

Là, tu vas m’écouter.
Now you’re gonna listen to me.

Là, chu tanné!
Now I’m fed up!

Viens-t’en là, là.
Come right now.

When used with past time, though,  means then.

Là, y m’a dit : …
Then he said to me: …

Là, j’ai eu une idée.
Then I got an idea.

In conversations, you’ll often hear accompanied by faque and used with past time, the same way so then is used in English.

Faque là, y m’a dit : …
So then he said to me: …

Faque là, j’ai eu une idée.
So then I got an idea.

You’ll also hear pis là very frequently, where pis is a contraction of puis. We can translate pis là as and then, or more informally as an’ then.

Pis là, y m’a dit : …
And then he said to me: …

Pis là, j’ai eu une idée.
And then I got an idea.

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Here’s a very short video from the SAAQ (Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec) warning of the dangers of sending textos au volant, text messages while driving. (Le volant is the steering wheel.)

There’s little spoken word in the video, but you’ll still review a few things from colloquial language. This video has been added to the Listen to Québécois French section.

T’es là?
Are you there?

Oui
Ça va?
Yes
How are you?

m’ennuie
t’es où?
bored
where are you?

pas loin
j’arrive
not far
almost there

Quand t’es là…
When you’re here (eyes on phone)…

… t’es pas là.
… you’re not there (eyes on road).

es-tu là?!?
are you there?!?

T’es là? is an informal equivalent of tu es là? and es-tu là? Remember that tu es generally contracts to t’es in informal language, which sounds like té. You’ll hear the speaker say t’es when he says quand t’es là, t’es pas là.

The texted message m’ennuie is short for je m’ennuie.

T’es où? is an informal equivalent of où es-tu? Informal language avoids the inversion after question words like où, comment, pourquoi, etc., so you’re much more likely to hear t’es où? in spoken language than où es-tu?

Listen to the vowel sound used in  and pas when the speaker says quand t’es là, t’es pas là. We’ve heard this vowel sound in a few different videos lately, including this one where Korine Côté says Montréal, je suis là! and this one where the speaker says on a pas d’chat.

At the end, the texted message es-tu là? can also be heard in spoken language as t’es-tu là? (Both are possible in spoken language.) In es-tu là?, tu is the second-person singular tu meaning you. But in t’es-tu là?, the second-person singular isn’t tu but t’. Tu in t’es-tu là? is an informal yes-no question marker.

Es-tu là?
Are you there?

T’es-tu là?
You’re-(yes/no) there?

All three of these questions ask “are you there?”:

Es-tu là?
T’es là?
T’es-tu là?

“Where are you?” in informal language is:

T’es où?

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