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Posts Tagged ‘moé’

In #1015, you saw some different ways of asking for coffee and food items in French at Tim Hortons.

At a different restaurant, I was reminded of another way sometimes used to order food when I heard a woman say:

Donne-moé don’ […].

For example, donne-moé don’ un muffin. This is good to know if you’re working the cash and serving francophones. Donne-moé is a colloquial variation on donne-moi. Don’ is in fact donc, but the c isn’t pronounced.

You may remember I’ve mentioned before that nobody expects a learner or non-native speaker to say moé. I usually even discourage it — not because moé is wrong, of course, but because a learner’s use of it may strike some native-speakers as bizarre or even comical.

As a learner, you can go with some of the ways in #1015 instead; the easiest way is to just say the item followed by s’il vous plaît, for example: Bonjour, le trio Big Mac, s’il vous plaît. (Un trio is what a meal is called at McDonalds, i.e., a combo.)

It turns out donne-moé don’ is in fact already on OffQc — even I don’t remember what’s here sometimes! — in this video from the Listen to Québécois French section.

The speaker says:

Donne-moé don’ un gratteux à trois piasses.

Un gratteux is a scratch-n-win lottery ticket. Un gratteux à trois piasses is a ticket that costs three dollars to buy, where piasses is a colloquial equivalent of dollars.

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In entry #710 about the pronunciations pis, moé, and toé, I put up an example that happened to use the word drette in it:

Tantôt, j’étais au Subway, pis y’a un monsieur qui s’est étouffé avec son 6 pouces au thon drette à côté de moi.

Earlier on, I was at Subway [a fast-food restaurant], and there was a man who choked on his 6-inch tuna [sandwich] right next to me.

(source: Axe du Mad)

What does drette mean?

Drette is an informal québécois pronunciation of droit. In the example above, drette is the part that means “right” in the English translation.

drette à côté de moi
= juste à côté de moi
= right next to me

Tourne à drette.
= Tourne à droite.
= Turn right.

C’est drette là.
= C’est juste là.
= It’s right there.

Drette là may also be used informally in the sense of tout de suite, immédiatement.

In a Kijiji posting online, someone was trying to get rid of some furniture. The title of the ad was:

Faut que ça parte genre drette là!
It’s gotta go like right now!!

In that example, genre is the part translated as “like.”

In another online posting, someone had an apartment up for rent. The title of the ad was:

Appart à louer presque drette là!
Apartment for rent almost right away!

The final t in appart is pronounced. It’s an informal short form of appartement.

Drette is never used in formal language. It’s at the same level of language as words like moé, toé and icitte. Even if all Québécois understand what drette means, this doesn’t mean that everybody will use it.

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Mes Aïeux

Mes Aïeux (click on the image to go to the official site)

On the OffQc Facebook page, Ken asked about a few pronunciations he heard in a modern folk song called Dégénérations by the group Mes Aïeux. In one part of this song about generational degeneration (which you can listen to below), the lyrics go like this:

Et pis toi, ma p’tite fille, tu changes de partenaire tout l’temps
Quand tu fais des conneries, tu t’en sauves en avortant
And as for you, young girl, you’re always sleeping around
Whenever you mess up, you just get out of it by aborting

Ken asked about the word pis, and also wanted to know why toi gets pronounced as toé (or twé) in the song.

You’ll hear pis a lot when people speak French casually. It sounds as if it were written pi, or like the English word “pee.” It can mean “then” or “and” depending on how it’s used. Pis derives from puis.

I found a blog post in which the author wrote a fictional piece (or at least I hope it’s fictional) about saving some guy from choking on his 6-inch tuna sub at a Subway restaurant. He uses the word pis in his writing:

Tantôt, j’étais au Subway, pis y’a un monsieur qui s’est étouffé avec son 6 pouces au thon drette à côté de moi.
Earlier on, I was at Subway [a fast-food restaurant], and there was a man who choked on his 6-inch tuna [sandwich] right next to me.

J’me suis d’abord placé devant lui pis je l’ai entouré de mes mains pis je l’ai serré contre moi.
First I stood in front of him, (and) then I grabbed hold of him, (and) then I pulled him in towards me.

[Quotes by Gran Talen in Sauver une vie grâce à mon collier pur noisetier]

So, when Mes Aïeux sing et pis toi in the lyrics above, we can translate it as “and as for you” (i.e., and now, turning our attention to you…). But Ken notes that they don’t actually sing it as et pis toi — they sing it as et pis toé.

If you listen to traditional québécois music, you’ll often hear moi and toi pronounced as moé and toé in the songs. You might also sometimes hear these pronunciations in conversations. If you came across moé pis toé in French, it means moi et toi.

Is there a difference between moi/toi and moé/toé?

Yes, there’s a difference. They mean the same thing, but some people in Québec may tell you that moé and toé are “incorrect.” These pronunciations are often typically associated with the working class.

As a learner of French, should you use moé and toé when you speak?

Probably not. The Québécois will know that you’re not a native speaker of French, and these pronunciations will almost certainly sound out of place if you use them. (This is maybe similar to the English word “ain’t.” You’d probably find it strange to hear a non-native speaker of English use it.)

This doesn’t mean that moé and toé are “bad” pronunciations. But I do think it’s best to leave moé and toé to the native speakers and just stick with moi and toi yourself.

As for pis, you can probably get away with using that one, even as a non-native speaker of French, because it’s just so very prevalent in conversations. Save it for informal conversations though, and keep listening to French so that you can hear how and when it’s used.

On the other hand, if you’re singing québécois trad music (and I know some of you are), moé and toé will probably sound very appropriate in that context because of the folkloric effect they produce.

In fact, in the Mes Aïeux folk song below, it’s probably moi and toi that would sound out of place!

Enjoy…

You can find the lyrics to the song through Google with the search terms paroles mes aïeux dégénérations.

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In 19-2, Ben and his blonde Catherine are in a fight. He’s recently discovered that she’s been taking la pilule behind his back — which explains why she’s not getting pregnant despite their efforts.

When Ben finally confronts Catherine about her deceitfulness, she storms off to the bedroom and locks the door. Ben bangs angrily on the door, telling her to open so that they can talk. He screams things like:

Parle-moé!
Talk to me!

and

Ouvre la porte pis parle-moé!
Open the door and talk to me!

and

Ouvre la crisse de porte!
Open the fucking door!

Later in the episode, we see that they’ve finally calmed down and are talking to each other. Ben wants to know why she doesn’t want a baby (and future) with him. He wonders aloud:

Qu’est-ce que j’ai fait de pas correct?
What did I do wrong?

Ben tries to accept the fact that a woman he’s spent two thirds of his life with doesn’t want to bear his child.

Realising they’ve reached the end of their relationship, Ben rhetorically asks what they’ll become now… roommates? fuck friends? des colocs? des fuck-friends?

A few notes: Ben pronounced qu’est-ce que j’ai fait de pas correct as qu’est-ce que j’ai faite de pas correc. Following the normal rules of French, the plural s is silent in both colocs and fuck-friends. In French, the stress in fuck-friend falls on the word friend.

[Language from 19-2, season 2, episode 3, Radio-Canada, Montréal, 11 February 2013.]

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