Posts Tagged ‘métro’

Métro Pie-IX (Montréal)

Métro Pie-IX (Montréal)

Here are a few more colloquial usages pulled from comments on Facebook. The first two are more typical of younger to middle-aged speakers.

1. C’est weird.

That’s weird.

  • Weird follows English pronunciation.

2. Pis là, je me suis dit whatever!

And then I thought ‘whatever’!

  • Pis là sounds like pi là. Pis is an informal contraction of puis. Pis means and here, and means then.
  • Je me suis can contract informally to j’me su’.
  • Dit sounds like dzi. When d appears before the i sound, it sounds like dz.

3. Je trouve ça vraiment tannant.

I think that’s really annoying.

  • Je trouve can contract informally to j’trouve, which sounds like ch’trouve.

By the way, I heard some newcomers to the country pronounce métro Pie-IX (see the image above) incorrectly as pi-iks. In fact, the correct pronunciation is pi-neuf, pi-9. It’s named after le pape Pie-IX.

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Here’s a challenging video with lots of informal language featuring a comedian from Québec called Korine Côté.

This video is part of a series in which Québécois personalities were asked to talk about their region of Québec.

Here, Korine extols the virtues of her region — Montréal.

The text is transcribed in French and translated to English. In the English translation, I’ve included contextual notes. After it, there’s a list of vocabulary with definitions.

There are three things in particular that I’d like to draw your attention to:

1. sur la

You’ll hear Korine pronounce the words sur la as s’a in a few spots in this video when she says s’a rue, which means sur la rue. This is an informal usage.

If you bought the OffQc Québécois French book 1000, you’ll find examples of the informally contracted s’a in numbers 415, 542, 550 and 848 (in case you’d like to hear it after having read those examples).

2. passer

When Korine says y’a une ambulance qui passe, listen to how she pronounces passe. This is the â sound that I’ve written about extensively on OffQc. It’s a very distinguishing feature of Québécois French. You’ll hear Korine pronounce it much like powss. The infinitive passer uses the same sound.

3. il y en a qui

In a few spots, Korine uses the expression il y en a qui, which she pronounces informally as y’en a qui. This is a very important expression to learn, which means there are people who, some people might…

On the first go, try listening without following the transcript to see how much you understand. You can follow along with it on subsequent listens.

[0:10] Ma région? C’est une ville, fa’que… hein!

[0:16] Montréal, ville de liberté. Y’en a p’t’-êt’ qui vont dire qu’on est individualistes pis qu’on s’sacre de tout l’monde, ben c’est vrai. Tu peux ignorer des itinérants sans jamais te sentir mal. Tu peux te faire tapocher en pleine rue tranquille sans qu’personne vienne te déranger.

[0:30] Tu peux t’commander d’la bouffe 24 heures sur 24… pas toi, hein?

[0:35] Ici, tu peux faire le tour du monde avec ta carte Opus. Pis en plus avec not’ quartier chinois, là, on possède la Chine!

[0:41] On a plein d’affaires que vous avez pas… un aéroport, une équipe de hockey, des BIXI, des comédiens qui s’promènent s’a rue, des deux et demie à côté d’la 40 à 1400 piasses. Bon, y’en a qui vont te dire que cher à payer, là, mais croiser Stefie Shock s’a rue, ç’a pas d’prix.

[0:54] Ça sera pas long, y’a une ambulance qui passe.

[0:57] Eh câlisse, les travaux, hein? Vos yeules!!!

[1:00] Y’en a qui vont dire que Montréal, c’est bruyant, là. Moi, j’m’en sacre, je fais de l’acouphène.

[1:04] On a un stade, un métro, des autoroutes pis plein d’ponts. OK, y sont brisés, mais on les a.

[1:09] Nous, on a La Ronde. Pas besoin d’attendre que la Beauce Carnaval débarque avec ses manèges rouillés pis tout usés, non! Nous autres, nos manèges rouillés pis usés sont là à l’année!

[1:18] Nous autres, on a pas ça, un accent. Non. On a raison. On est plus. Fa’qu’on gagne. Hein! Fait chier! Des fois, c’t’un accent français. C’est pour faire beau.

[1:29] Nous autres, on a pas besoin de dire ça, la phrase «aller en ville». On est d’jà là.


My region is a city, so… ha! (Take that!) (She’s bragging that Montréal is considered to be an entire region, not just a city.)

Montréal, city of freedom. Some people might say we’re individualists and that we don’t give a damn about anybody — well, it’s true. You can ignore the homeless without ever having to feel bad (about it). You can get beaten up in peace in the middle of the street without anybody coming to bother you.

You can order food 24 hours a day… but not you, right? (She’s joking that only other people would order food at all hours of the day and night… and not you, who’s better than that.)

Here (in Montréal), you can travel the world with your Opus card. (The Opus card is a credit-card shaped bus and métro pass.) What’s more, with our Chinatown, we own China! (We’ve got all of China right here!)

We’ve got all kinds of things that you don’t… an airport, a hockey team, BIXI bikes (these are pay-per-use bikes), actors walking in the streets, studio apartments next to (highway) 40 for 1400 dollars (a month). (La 40 is une autoroute, or highway. The part of autoroute 40 that passes through Montréal is known as la Métropolitaine.) Fine, some people might tell you that’s a lot of money to pay, but bumping into Stefie Shock in the street? Priceless.

Hold on, there’s an ambulance going by.

Ah goddammit, construction, huh? Shut up!!!

Some people might say Montréal is noisy, (but) I don’t give a shit (because) I’ve got tinnitus.

We’ve got a stadium, the métro (subway, tube), highways and lots of bridges. OK, they’re broken (the bridges), but still — we’ve got them.

Montréal’s got La Ronde. We don’t need to wait for Beauce Carnaval to show up with their rusty, worn-out rides — nope! Our rusty, worn-out rides are there all year long! (Beauce Carnaval rents out amusement park equipment, like rides; they were interested in the mayor of Québec City’s idea to install une grande roue.)

(In Montréal,) we don’t have an accent. No. We’re right. There’s more of us. So we win… huh! Bloody hell! Sometimes it’s a French accent (that we do). Just to sound nice.

(In Montréal,) we don’t need to say “I’m going to the city/going downtown.” We’re already there.


Vocabulary notes

  • faque, so (can be pronounced with two syllables as fa/que, or with one like fak)
  • y’en a p’t’-êt’, some (people) might (contraction of il y en a peut-être)
  • pis, and (sounds like pi; contraction of puis)
  • se sacrer de, to not give a shit/damn about
  • ben, well (sounds like bin; contraction of bien)
  • tapocher, to beat up
  • se faire tapocher, to get beaten up
  • la bouffe, food
  • des affaires, stuff, things
  • qui s’promènent, who walk (contraction of qui se promènent)
  • s’a rue, on/in the street (s’a rue is an informal contraction of sur la rue)
  • un deux et demie, this is an apartment with a kitchen (+1), a living room/bedroom all in one room (+1) and a bathroom (+0.5); it’s a contraction of un (appartement) deux (pièces) et demie; a one-bedroom apartment is un trois et demie (kitchen +1, living room +1, bedroom +1, bathroom +0.5)
  • une piasse, dollar, buck
  • y’en a qui vont, some people will, are gonna (contraction of il y en a qui vont)
  • ç’a pas d’prix, it’s priceless (contraction of ça n’a pas de prix)
  • y’a, there is, there are (contraction of il y a)
  • qui passe, that’s passing by (listen to how Korine pronounces passe; it uses the â sound: pâsse)
  • câlisse, fuck, shit, godammit (câlisse is vulgar language)
  • travaux, construction
  • vos yeules!, shut up! (vos yeules is said to more than one person, whereas ta yeule is the singular form; yeule is an informal pronunciation of gueule, which can also be used: vos gueules!, ta gueule!)
  • j’m’en sacre, I don’t give a damn/shit (s’en sacrer means to not give a damn/shit about it)
  • acouphène, tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • plein d’ponts, lots of bridges (plein de means loads of, lots of)
  • y, informal pronunciation of ils
  • brisé, broken, out of order
  • manèges rouillés, rusty (amusement park) rides
  • usé, worn-out
  • à l’année, all year long
  • fa’qu’on gagne, so we win (contraction of ça fait qu’on gagne)
  • fait chier!, sounds typically French
  • faire beau, to sound nice, look nice, come across nice
  • d’jà, contraction of déjà

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Taking in the (pre-)springtime sun in Montréal

Taking in the (pre-)springtime sun in Montréal

While on the métro, I grabbed a copy of the Métro newspaper sitting on a seat next to me. This sentence caught my eye in one of the articles:

On a déjà de la misère à sortir de notre entrée, tellement les gens conduisent vite.

The article was about changes that will be made to the Pie-IX and Sherbrooke intersection in Montréal. Some residents in the area are unhappy about how the changes will affect the traffic levels in their neighbourhood.

In the quote above, one of the residents noted that it’s already difficult to get out of their driveway without things being made worse by the changes.

On a déjà de la misère à sortir de notre entrée.
We already have trouble getting out of our driveway.

The expression avoir de la misère (à faire quelque chose) means to have trouble (doing something). It’s a Québécois usage.

Une entrée, that’s a driveway.

On a déjà de la misère à sortir de notre entrée, tellement les gens conduisent vite.
People drive so fast that we already have trouble getting out of our driveway.

_ _ _


Stéphanie Maunay (11 March 2015). Le carrefour Pie-IX/Sherbrooke suscite des craintes à Rosemont. Métro (Montréal edition), p.2.

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I came across an ad in a Montréal métro station for a gym offering cardio, musculation and cours en groupe.

Part of the ad reads:

Soyez lousse dans vos jeans et dans votre budget!
Literally: Be “loose” in your jeans and in your budget!

Click on the thumbnail to see a larger version.

The idea is that if you become a member of this gym, both your jeans and your budget will finally fit.

But what about the word lousse?

Lousse derives from the English word “loose.” It’s a colloquial usage that you’ll sometimes hear in regular, everyday conversations.

In fact, maybe you’ve already heard the word lousse before in the colloquial expression se lâcher lousse (to have a great time, to let loose, s’éclater, etc.).

On s’est lâchés lousses à Québec!
We really let loose in Québec City! We had an amazing time! We went all out!

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Here’s a summary of the informal language covered in this post:

  • chus pressé
  • tu penses-tu que…?
  • y’a aucun problème
  • a me dit que…
  • kess tu (veux, fais…)?

On 12 February 2014 in the Montréal edition of the Métro newspaper, comedian Alexandre Barrette wrote an article describing an experience of getting his hair cut at the salon.

He was on a tight schedule, so he didn’t have much time to get his hair done. The hairstylist, who he described as very zen (elle est très zen), was much too slow cutting his hair for his liking.

Alexandre used a lot of informal language in his article, which we can take a look at now.

As Alexandre begins to get frustrated with the hairstylist’s slowness, he tells her that he’s in a rush and hints at whether or not she can speed things up:

… chus pressé. Tu penses-tu qu’on est capables de faire ça en 25-30 minutes?

Je suis pressé. Penses-tu qu’on peut faire ça en 25-30 minutes?

I’m in a rush. D’ya think we can do this in 25-30 minutes?

On OffQc, I’ve usually adopted chu as the spelling for the informal pronunciation of je suis. Alexandre spelled it with an s instead. Chu and chus mean the same thing (je suis), and they both sound like chu.

He also asked tu penses-tu que…? That’s a yes-no question using that informal yes-no question word again. This question means the same thing as est-ce que tu penses que…? and penses-tu que…?

When the hairstylist answers Alexandre’s question, she says:

Y’a aucun problème. On va faire ça rapidement.

Il n’y a aucun problème. On va faire ça rapidement.

There’s no problem. We’ll do this quickly.

Y’a is an informal way of saying il y a.

Despite what the hairstylist says, she doesn’t do things quickly at all. Alexandre then tells us that she wanted to wash his hair. He writes:

A me dit avec douceur : «Viens, avant, on va aller te laver les cheveux.»

Elle me dit avec douceur : «Viens, avant, on va aller te laver les cheveux.»

She says to me softly: “Come along, we’re going to go wash your hair.”

Alexandre wrote a instead of elle. This is an informal pronunciation of elle that you’ll catch people using. Try to say this: ame-dzi, with two syllables. That’s how you may hear people say elle me dit informally.

If elle is pronounced as a, it’s only when elle is a subject (like je, tu, il, elle, nous…). Nobody would ever say pour a instead of pour elle, for example. That’s because elle isn’t a subject in the phrase pour elle. The same goes for à côte d’elle, autour d’elle, avec elle, etc., where elle can only be pronounced as elle.

Alexandre jokes that the hair wash was so slow and intense that he feels raped by her (je me sens violé)! After this, he becomes even more impatient and says to himself in his head:

Kess tu comprends pas dans l’expression CHUS PRESSÉ? Le mot CHUS ou le mot PRESSÉ?

Qu’est-ce que tu ne comprends pas dans l’expression CHUS PRESSÉ [je suis pressé]? Le mot CHUS [je suis] ou le mot PRESSÉ?

What part of the expression CHUS PRESSÉ [I’m in a rush] don’t you understand? The word CHUS [I am] or the word PRESSÉ [in a rush]?

You’ll often hear the question qu’est-ce que tu…? pronounced informally as qu’est-ce tu…?, or as Alexandre wrote more phonetically: kess tu…? Two more examples: qu’est-ce tu veux (kess tu veux)? and qu’est-ce tu fais (kess tu fais)?, which mean “whaddya want?” and “whadd’re ya doin’?”

_ _ _

French quotes written by: Alexandre Barrette, «Expérience capillaire», Métro, Montréal, 12 février 2014, p. 16.

Alexandre Barrette, site officiel

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