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Posts Tagged ‘là’

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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I watched the first 10 minutes of an episode of 30 vies on tou.tv and picked some French for us to look at.

Each example of French below was said by a character on the show. If you want to find them on the show, the episode details are at the end of the post. After each quote, I’ve included the time where it appeared.

You can watch 30 vies on tou.tv if you’re in Canada.

Là, tu fais ça ou tu disparais de ma vie. C’est-tu clair?
Now you’re gonna do it or you get out of my life. Is that clear?
(0:22)

We’ve been seeing in the last few entries that often means “now.” Here’s another example of it. Here, it means more “now” in the sense of “right so,” as a way of signalling that the other person ought to listen up. The speaker used it to lead into her nasty comment.

We’ve also got c’est-tu clair? in this quote. Remember, the informal tu transforms c’est clair into a yes-no question. C’est clair. C’est-tu clair?

The question c’est-tu clair? here is really a warning. It’s like asking “is that understood?” in an authoritative way.

— Ça parle de toi en masse.
— Qui ça?
— People are totally talking about you.
— Who?
(6:55)

A student at school told his classmate: ça parle de toi en masse. The subject ça here just means “people” or “they.” It’s like the subject on. The expression en masse means something like “big time” or “totally.”

Notice that his classmate responded with qui ça? to ask who. You’ll also hear people say où ça? to ask where, for example: –Viens-tu avec moi? –Où ça?

J’en peux p’us. J’sus à boutte!
I can’t take it anymore. I’ve had it!
(7:53)

J’en peux p’us is a shortened, colloquial way of saying je n’en peux plus. Plus here is pronounced plu, but sometimes plus gets shortened to the pronunciation pu, which I’ve spelled above as p’us. It’s because the L dropped.

J’sus (pronounced chu) means je suis. J’sus à boutte literally means “I’m at the end,” because boutte means bout, but its figurative meaning is “I’ve had it.” You’ll notice that bout is sometimes pronounced boutte in Québec, especially in informal expressions like the one here; être à boutte, to have had it, to be fed up.

The character who said j’sus à boutte didn’t pronounce it as chu à boutte though. She pronounced it instead as chtàboutte. She shortened chu to ch and slipped in a T sound between ch and à (ch-t-à boutte).

_ _ _

Quotes taken from:
30 vies, saison 5, épisode 24
16 octobre 2014, Radio-Canada

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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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You can’t pass for a native without mastering the québécois verb niaiser!

You’ve seen this verb before in “Everything you ever wanted to know about the québécois verb niaiser.” Here are some new examples for review. Using the phonetic alphabet, niaiser is pronounced [njɛze], which sounds like nyèzé.

1. Je te niaise pas, je te parle sérieusement.

This is taken from an interview by Les Francs Tireurs. It means: “I’m not kidding you. I’m being serious.” We can tell that the person was speaking informally because, instead of je ne te niaise pas, he left out ne and said je te niaise pas.

In fact, what he most likely said was j’te niaise pas, which sounds like ch’te niaise pas. When je and te come together, they often contract and the j makes a ch sound.

The same goes for the je te combination je te parle sérieusement, which you may hear pronounced as j’te (ch’te) parle sérieusement.

2. Arrête de me niaiser là, c’est pas drôle!

This means: “Stop messing with me, it’s not funny!” It comes from a book called Fais-moi confiance by Andréanne Parenteau.

This example also includes the famous québécois , which you can explore in “Everything you ever wanted to know about the québécois use of .”

3. Niaise pas avec les gars en uniforme!

This example comes from a blog. It means “Don’t mess with guys in uniforms!” Remember, the letters rs in gars aren’t pronounced, so gars sounds like gâ.

This is also an example of dropping ne in an informal style because the author wrote niaise pas instead of ne niaise pas.

4. J’ai niaisé pendant deux mois.

This example comes from a comment left online. In full, the commenter wrote: J’ai niaisé pendant deux mois et demi avant de me trouver une job, “I did absolutely nothing for two and a half months before I found a job.” In this example, niaiser is used in the sense of goofing around, doing nothing.

During conversations, you’ll hear job in the feminine in Québec: une job.

5. Ils m’ont fait niaiser trois semaines pour rien! Câlisse.

This example comes from an online forum. It means: “They made me wait three weeks for nothing! Fuck.” Here, faire niaiser is used in the sense of making someone wait. This example also includes câlisse, which equates to saying “fuck” in Québec. You can also now review the expression je m’en câlisse.

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You’ll find lots of examples on OffQc of how is used in Quebec French. In this entry, I’ll pull together the most important ones that you want to know.

is a little word, but the Québécois give it a good workout. You won’t go long without hearing it.

One way you’ll hear used is in the sense of “that” when placed after a noun.

à ce moment-là
at that moment

C’est quoi c’t’affaire-là?
What’s that thing?

You’ll also hear used in the sense of “there.”

Mets-toi là.
Go there, go stand there, etc.

là-bas / là-haut
down there / up there

With a look of surprise, maybe you’ll hear someone exclaim:

Mais qu’est-ce tu fais là?! (Mais quesse tu fais là?!)
What the heck are you up to (there)?!

In spoken French, will frequently be tacked onto the end of a sentence. It can sometimes be translated with “oh” in English.

Arrête, là!
Stop it, will you! Oh, stop it!

Ben, là!
Oh, come on!

Tu vas capoter, là!
You’re totally gonna love it!

J’allais oublier, là…
Oh, I almost forgot…

Je sais pas, là.
I dunno. Oh, I dunno.

Ça va faire, là!
OK, that’s enough! Cut it out!

Sometimes you’ll hear used to express an opinion with moi là.

Moi là, j’m’en câlice!
Personally, I don’t give a fuck!

You’ll also hear take on the meaning of “now” (with the present tense) or “then” (with the past tense).

Ça finit LÀ!
End it now! This is where it ends!

Et là, on ajoute le beurre.
And now we add the butter.

Là, tu parles!
Now you’re talkin’!

Pis là, j’ai perdu mes clés.
And then I lost my keys.

If you hear repeated with the first more heavily stressed, it can take on a more urgent meaning, like “right away.”

Viens-t’en là là! (Come right away!)
Là là? (What, right now?)
LÀ là! (Yeah, right NOW!)

Or consider this example, where we can imagine a speaker who has just lost his temper:

OK, là là, j’suis tanné! (OK, là là, chui/chu tanné!)
OK, so now I’m fed up!

But not all là là‘s are created equal. Just because you hear two ‘s together, it doesn’t automatically mean “right away” in all cases:

Mets-toi là, là.
(Just) go there; (just) go stand there, etc.

The first means “there,” and the second one is an example of added to the end of a sentence.

That’s it, là! I suggest that you listen to a lot of spoken French so that you can hear the rhythm of sentences using là, tone of voice, and the pronunciation of in Québec.

Related reading:
Everything you ever wanted to know about the québécois verb POGNER
Everything you ever wanted to know about the québécois verb NIAISER
Everything you ever wanted to know about the québécois adjective NIAISEUX

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