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Posts Tagged ‘là’

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-dedans
là-dessus
là-dessous, etc.

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In the video below, which is a car ad featuring Martin Matte, you’ll hear features of spoken language used in Québécois French that have come up in recent posts.

Give it a listen. It’s short (30 seconds). The text is transcribed below, with notes. There are a few examples of the â sound, so listen for it.

This will be added to the Listen section, along with the other clips.

Avance! Là, là, là, là. Le nouveau CRV est assez remarquable. C’est un véhicule inspiré par la liberté, conçu pour rouler dans de grands espaces — sauf quand t’es pris quelque part!

Moi, c’est rare [que] j’me fâche, mais là, là, c’est… Tasse-toi, grosse vache! Dégage! Ça fait une heure et demie que j’attends, . T’es pas toute seule, hein?

Move [advance]! Ay, ay, ay. The new CRV is pretty remarkable. It’s a vehicle inspired by freedom, made to drive in open spaces — except when you’re stuck somewhere [i.e., in traffic]!

I don’t usually get angry, but this time, I’m… [but now, it’s…]. Get out of the way, you fat cow! Move! I’ve been waiting for an hour and a half. You’re not the only one here, uh?

Pronunciation and usage notes

c’est un, pronounced cé t’un
espaces, pronounced espâces, with â
t’es, informal contraction of tu es, sounds like
rare, pronounced râre, with â
j’me, informal contraction of je me
fâche, pronounced with â
mais là, là…,
 but now… (but this time…)
tasse-toi, pronounced tâsse-toi, with â
là,
often heard at end of sentences in informal language
t’es pas, informal contraction of tu n’es pas, sounds like té pas

Related:
Ôte-toi de d’là, from entry #949

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A reader of OffQc asks how to pronounce because he’s been hearing two pronunciations of it. In fact, it’s not just that has two pronunciations but also ça. Let’s look at how they’re pronounced in this post.

(Below, IPA stands for International Phonetic Alphabet. In French, it’s called the alphabet phonétique international, or API.)

What are the two ways that is pronounced?

1. la (or [la] in IPA)
Rhymes with ma, ta, sa.

2.  (or [lɑ] in IPA)
Rhymes with bas, cas, pas.

In là-dessus, là-dessous, là-dedans, etc. (where is joined by a hyphen to an adverb), it’s pronounced the first way — like [la].

Elsewhere, is pronounced the second way — like [lɑ]. In the following, is pronounced [lɑ]: Moi là, j’pense que… Pis là, y’est parti. Je sais pas, là! C’est juste là, devant toi.

ÇA

Ça also has two pronunciations. What are they?

1. ça (or [sa] in IPA)
Rhymes with ma, ta, la.

2. çâ (or [] in IPA)
Rhymes with bas, cas, pas.

When ça is used as a subject, it’s pronounced the first way — like [sa]. Ça fait mal. Ça s’peut pas! Ça commence aujourd’hui.

Elsewhere, ça is pronounced the second way — like []. C’est ça qui est ça! Pourquoi t’as fait ça? Quand ça? J’aime pas ça. C’est comme ça.

We can continue looking at this in future posts.

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In Ne touche pas mon bébé (a blog post on Urbania), Jonathan Roberge writes about his strong dislike of strangers’ touching his baby in public without his permission.

Jonathan describes a stranger — an elderly woman — who not only kissed his baby on the mouth, but did so without his permission. He says:

Pis là, elle a fait le move qui m’a rendu vraiment inconfortable. Elle lui a donné un bisou… sur la bouche.

An’ then, she did something (made the move) that made me really uncomfortable. She gave him a kiss… on the mouth.

We’ve seen many times that pis (a reduction of puis) is used in the sense of “and” in Québécois French.

What Jonathan has done here though is use it alongside to form a usage that you’ll hear very often in French conversations: pis là.

Pis là is used when recounting events. It means “and then.” First she did this, pis là she did that, pis là she said this, pis là she said that…

Pis là is an informal use. You can try using it to add a natural sound to your spoken French. Francophones use it all the time when speaking colloquially.

[Quote written by Jonathan Roberge in « Ne touche pas mon bébé » on Urbania, 10 October 2014.]

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