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Posts Tagged ‘Mario Bélanger’

The CBC’s Canada Writes published an interview about OffQc today. Take a look when you get the chance. They asked me why it’s difficult to learn French the “traditional” way, how to keep your ears and eyes fresh, as well as some questions about me and the blog.

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When French borrows a word from English, it often becomes masculine in French. But when you’re listening to French spoken by the Québécois, have you noticed that some borrowed words became feminine instead?

Here are just seven of them:

  • toast
  • job
  • joke
  • pinotte
  • sandwich
  • traite
  • bullshit!

Below are examples of how you could hear these words used. The examples were all written by Mario Bélanger in his book Petit guide du parler québécois, which I reviewed in an earlier entry.

For each example, I’ve included a translation into English.

Je veux une toast et un café.
I want toast and coffee.

Tu as une job qui te plaît.
(remember: tu as contracts to t’as in conversations)
You’ve got a job that you like.

C’est pas grave. C’est juste une joke.
It’s no big deal. It’s just a joke.

J’ai le goût de manger des pinottes.
I feel like eating peanuts.

Veux-tu une sandwich au jambon?
Do you want a ham sandwich?

C’est à mon tour de payer la traite.
It’s my turn to treat.

Cette publicité, c’est de la bullshit!
(bullshit is pronounced boulechitte)
This advertisement is bullshit!

For the words job and sandwich, a masculine form exists too (la job, le job; la sandwich, le sandwich). During regular, everyday conversations in Québec, you’re more likely to hear the feminine form. The masculine form of these two words appears more frequently in writing.

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Le petit guide du parler québécoisTo give more depth to your knowledge of Quebec French vocabulary, I can suggest the Petit guide du parler québécois by Mario Bélanger, 3rd edition.

This book is the size of a paperback novel, organised by keywords in alphabetical order. The entries contain useful example sentences.

I like this book for five reasons:

1. affordable ($13)
2. pertinent choice of vocabulary
3. good example sentences
4. culture and pronunciation notes
5. easy to browse

If you’re a word nerd, I’m sure you’ll like it. It’s the sort of book that you can dip into at any point and discover something new.

For the amount of vocab included, $13 is a really good price. There are other books out there for about the same price, even cheaper ones, but the content isn’t very satisfying. The vocabulary presented in this book will be pertinent to your everyday life as a learner of French.

Two sample entries:

The keyword is in bold. The example sentence is in italics. In parentheses, an equivalent in “international” French.

COUDON adv. Coudon, c’est qui ce gars-là? (Au fait, pendant que j’y pense.) R. Déformation de « écoute donc ».

ÉPICERIE n.f. Elle profite de sa sortie pour faire l’épicerie. (Faire le marché.)

I can suggest casually browsing this book to familiarise yourself with lots of vocabulary and examples, and then complement this by listening to large amounts of spoken French from Québec.

When you’re done browsing, it becomes a good reference.

You can buy it or see a sample page here. You can also buy it in the major bookshops in Québec.

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