Posts Tagged ‘laitte’

If you look up ugly in an English-French dictionary, you’ll find (amongst a few other adjectives):

laid (m.) and
laide (f.).

As an approximation, the feminine form laide sounds like the English word led; the masculine form laid sounds like led without the d on the end.

But there’s also another way to say ugly, which can be heard in colloquial language: laitte (also spelled laite), which sounds like the English word let.

Y’est ben laitte, ton dessin!
Your drawing’s really ugly!

Y’est is a contraction of il est; it sounds like yé. Ben is a contraction of bien; it sounds like the French word bain. Ben means really here.

T’es don’ ben laitte!
You’re so ugly!

T’es is a contraction of tu es; it sounds like té. Don’ is a phonetic spelling of donc, where the c is silent. Don’ and ben together before an adjective is stronger than just ben on its own. (It’s also possible to just say t’es ben laitte, of course.)

C’est trop laitte comme nom!
That’s such an ugly name!

We also saw an example of laitte in a past post. An author said that, on the sidewalks of Québec during moving season, there’s plein de vieux divans à motifs laittes (lots of old sofas with ugly designs).

Remember, laitte is a colloquial form. It’s fine during informal conversations, but not on your French exam (not unless, of course, you’re writing informal dialogue or otherwise know what you’re doing such that you can break the rules).

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On Urbania, Lysandre Nadeau writes about the approach of moving season — moving into a new apartment with a new coloc, that is. She writes:

Le soleil est enfin arrivé au Québec. Pis quand il se pointe, pas ben ben longtemps après, les gens déménagent. Eh oui, dans quelques semaines, le monde vont commencer à faire leurs boîtes.

pis quand il se pointe, and when it shows up
pas ben ben longtemps après, not too long afterwards
le monde vont commencer à, people are going to start to
faire leurs boîtes, to pack their boxes

Ben is an informal contraction of bien meaning really here. It sounds like bain. The author has doubled it for effect: pas ben ben longtemps après, literally not really really a long time afterwards.

Why has she used the plural vont with the singular noun le monde? Le monde vont commencer à faire leurs boîtes. It’s a feature of informal language where le monde, meaning people, is analysed as a plural noun like les gens.

Pis means and here. It’s pronounced pi and comes from puis. It’s similar to the way and in English can contract to an’ or ‘n’.

She continues:

Il va y avoir des gros camions partout dans les rues pis plein de vieux divans à motifs laittes sur les trottoirs.

plein de, lots of
vieux divans, old sofas
à motifs laittes, with ugly designs

Laitte is an informal pronunciation of laid that you’ll hear used spontaneously in conversations.

The author uses a few more words from conversational language:

Un nouvel appartement signifie aussi peut-être : un nouveau coloc. J’en ai eu en masse dans ma vie, des l’funs pis des pas l’funs.

un nouveau coloc, a new roommate, flatmate
en masse, lots, heaps
j’en ai eu en masse, I’ve had lots of them
des l’funs pis des pas l’funs, fun/great ones and not-so-fun/great ones

Coloc is a short form of colocataire. Locataire is a renter, so a colocataire is a “co-renter,” someone you share your apartment with. Coloc is used informally.

What does the first en mean in j’en ai eu en masse? It means of them here. In English, you can say I had many, but you can’t in French. In French, you have to say I had many of them, where the of them is said as en. J’en ai eu en masse, of them have had heaps.

Fun is a bit funny in that it uses the article le in front of it, even when used adjectively. Des gars le fun, fun guys. Unlike the author, I’m not sure I’d have put an s on fun in des l’fun pis des pas l’fun.

Source: All quotes written by Lysandre Nadeau in “Le guide de la pire personne en colocation,” Urbania, 22 May 2015.

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