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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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?

Ça va?
How are you?

t’es où?
where are you?

pas loin
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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Here’s an excellent video where Pénélope McQuade speaks slowly. She talks about a teacher she once had and why she appreciates her. Apart from all the vocab, three interesting things to listen for:

1. là-dedans

Listent to how she pronounces là-dedans at 0:44. It sounds like lad-dan, in two syllables. We looked before at how has two different pronunciations depending on how it’s used.

If you don’t remember what they are, you can review that here and here.

2. qu’on avait

When Pénélope says qu’on avait at 1:07, you’ll really hear the liaison. It doesn’t sound like qu’onn / avait; no, it sounds like qu’on / n’avait. That’s because with the liaison, the normally silent or nasalised letter of the first word transfers to the beginning of the next word.

So, you don’t say vouz / avez; you say vou /z’avez. You don’t say lez / autos; you say lé / z’autos. If you pause where you see “/”, you’ll hear the difference. Pénélope pauses between qu’on and avait, allowing the liaison to really be heard.

3. attitude

When she says attitude at 1:55, you’ll also really hear the tsitsu!

(Remember what that is? The tsitsu is a made-up word used on OffQc meant to help you remember that t is pronounced ts before the French i and u sounds. Similarly, the dzidzu reminds you that d is pronounced dz before the French i and u sounds.)

Attitude, then, sounds like a-tsi-tsude. You can’t help but hear the tsitsu when Pénélope says this word in the video; it’s very clear. Maybe you’ll want to try to listen for other examples of the tsi, tsu, dzi and dzu sounds in this video.

Moi, j’étais une étudiante qui ne comprenait pas le système d’autorité. J’ai été élevée dans une maison avec des parents qui m’ont enseigné l’égalité, l’autonomie — physique et intellectuelle. Donc, j’étais une étudiante qui remettait beaucoup en cause le système établi, et la professeure qui m’a démontré qu’effectivement la relation entre un enseignant et son élève devrait d’abord et avant tout être une relation égalitaire pour que les deux puissent s’en bénéficier et grandir là‑dedans (0:44), elle s’appelait Antoinette Taddeo. C’était au secondaire.

C’était une ancienne soeur qui avait défroqué, donc elle-même un peu en révolte contre un certain système. Mais ce qui est intéressant ce qu’elle nous responsabilisait sans avoir à mettre en pratique son autorité. On avait tellement envie de gagner son respect qu’on avait (1:07) une conduite morale et éthique quasi irréprochable, et c’était quelqu’un qui respectait énormément ses étudiants, qui leur donnait une confiance même quand les élèves n’avait pas cette confiance-là en eux-mêmes. Donc, je peux juste respecter quelqu’un qui arrivait à voir à travers nous.

Elle avait vraiment cette capacité-là d’aller chercher chaque personne, et le potentiel de chaque personne et je me suis jamais sentie jugée par elle. Moi, j’étais une élève qui était très provocatrice, qui était une grande gueule, qui aimait choquer pour choquer, et où d’autres professeurs se rebutaient, étaient plutôt réfractaires à mes comportements, mon attitude (1:55), elle a cherché à voir plus loin et à utiliser cette originalité, cette marginalité que j’avais et la mettait en valeur ou m’aidait à la mettre en valeur à travers de l’écriture, par exemple.

Donc, je remercie Antoinette Taddeo d’avoir réussi à ce que finalement je finisse par m’enseigner moi-même certaines grandes leçons de la vie. Alors, pour moi, un enseignant, une enseignante qu’on aime, c’est quelqu’un qui nous enseigne plus que juste la matière, qui nous enseigne aussi à faire confiance aux autres, à se trouver à l’intérieur de soi-même pour trouver des solutions, à se dépasser. Donc, c’est sûr que, y’a [il y a] des choses qu’on apprend là pis qu’on développe qui vont rester avec nous pour toujours.

I was a student who didn’t understand the authority system. I was raised in a home with parents who taught me equality, independence — both physical and intellectual. So I was a student who really challenged the established system, and the teacher who really showed me that the relationship between a teacher and student should be first and foremost one of equality so that both can benefit from it and grow (inside of it) was called Antoinette Taddeo.

This was in secondary school. She was an ex-nun who’d left the sisterhood, so, in a way, even she was challenging a certain system. But what’s interesting is that she taught us responsibility without having to exert her authority. We wanted to earn her respect so much that we almost always behaved morally and ethically, and she was someone who greatly respected her students, who gave them confidence even when those same students didn’t have confidence in themselves. So, I can only respect someone who really managed to relate to us.

She was really good at relating to individuals, understanding an individual’s potential, and I never felt judged by her. As a student, I was a troublemaker, a big mouth, someone who liked to get a rise out of people, and someone for whom other teachers were put off, who disliked my behaviour, my attitude. She tried to see beyond that to put my originality and difference to use, to value it or rather to help me value it, through writing, for example.

So, I thank Antoinette Taddeo for getting me to end up teaching myself certain important life lessons. So, for me, a teacher that you like is someone who teaches more than just the subject at hand, who teaches us to trust others, to find ourselves so that we can find solutions, to outdo ourselves. So, it’s really stuff that we learn and then develop that stays with us for the rest of our lives.

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In the video from entry #961, we heard pas de chat (three syllables) pronounced as pas d’chat (two syllables).

There are two things to look at here from pas d’chat.

In spoken language, de can contract to just a d sound even before a consonant. In pas d’chat, first say pas with a d sound on the end of it, then say chat.

If you can adopt this, you’ll make your French sound a little more natural.

Try saying these, but when you do, contract the de as was done in pas d’chat:

pas de temps
pas de nouvelles
pas de question
pas de problème
pas de compte

The second thing to point out is the vowel sound in pas and chat. Listen again if you have to. The way the vowel is pronounced in these two words is used frequently in the French of Québec. You’ll hear it at the end of these words, for example: bas, cas, cadenas, and sometimes in ça and là.

Why only sometimes in ça and and not always?

We looked at the two different pronunciations of ça and here.

In the following examples, ça rhymes with pas and chat from the Martin Matte video in #961:

j’aime ça
c’est quoi ça?
fais pas ça!

But in the next examples, where ça is the subject, it sounds like the possessive adjective sa (like in sa maison):

ça s’peut pas
ça fait mal
ça commence

As for là, it rhymes with pas and chat from the Martin Matte video in #961 when used like this:

j’aime ça, là
je sais pas, là
pis là, chu parti
viens t’en là, là!
là, chu tanné!

But when is joined to an adverb with a hyphen, it sounds like the definite article la (like in la maison):

là-dessous, etc.

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