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Posts Tagged ‘Montréal’

When paying for an item in a store in Montréal, I asked the cashier if they accepted my credit card. He said yes, and that they accepted all credit cards. Then he said:

On est équipés pour veiller tard!

What did he mean by that?

Let’s look first at what this means literally before trying to understand what he really meant.

The verb veiller means to stay up (i.e., to not sleep). For example, j’ai veillé jusqu’à minuit means I stayed up until midnight. Veiller tard means to stay up late. Literally, then, équipé pour veiller tard means equipped to stay up late.

In its most literal sense, the expression équipée pour veiller tard refers to a woman with large breasts, so much so that she’s “equipped to stay up late” (it’s sexual innuendo; you’ll be kept “busy” in bed until the early hours with that person). Elle est équipée pour veiller tard!

More broadly, you can also hear the expression used in reference to anybody who’s sexually endowed or seductive. This TVA article describes a frog as being une grenouille équipée pour veiller tard because of what appears to be its large penis. The expression also exists in the form amanché pour veiller tard, where amanché means fitted out, decked out, etc.

This expression doesn’t stop there, though. It’s also used in a broader, non-sexual sense of fully equipped — and that’s what the cashier meant when he used this expression. Because they accept all credit cards, they’re “fully equipped.” On est équipés pour veiller tard! (Even though the sense is non-seuxal here, the original meaning of the expression still comes to mind, and so its use is comical.)

I even managed to spot a form of this expression used on a sign in a Montréal bus shelter. The sign reads:

S’équiper pour veiller tard

What’s being advertised here is a bus pass called soirée illimitée, which allows for unlimited use the duration of one night (from 18h to 5h). This time, there’s word play going on here: we can understand s’équiper pour veiller tard as meaning equip yourself to stay up late, because with this pass you really will be equipped to veiller tard.

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Michael asks who in Québec rolls their Rs.

Up until the first half of the 1900s, the rolled R was the norm in Québec, especially in Montréal. (Montréal was the region most associated with the rolled R.) Québec City, though, used a non-rolled R.

The rolled R began to disappear from the Montréal area in the second half of the 1900s. It was replaced by the non-rolled R of Québec City. The non-rolled R is now the norm throughout Québec. (source)

You might still sometimes hear an older speaker in Montréal roll his Rs today.

The same source linked above suggests where the two different Rs came from: the rolled R of Montréal probably came from the regional varieties of French spoken in France, whereas the non-rolled R of Québec City probably came from the Paris region.

If you listen to some videos in the archives of Radio-Canada from the 1960s, you’ll hear the rolled R:

Jean Drapeau (Wikipédia)
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OffQc guides for sale

All are available here in the OffQc store

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I posted some pre-winter images to the OffQc Facebook page recently, but I wanted to put them here on the blog too, for your reference. They’re images of a few aspects typical of Montréal at this time of year.

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This first image was taken on 19 November at 4 o’clock in the afternoon (16:08, to be precise), on Sainte-Catherine at McGill College. November is the month where you think it’s 10 at night, then look at the clock and see it’s only 5. On the bright side, the temperature was mild when I took this photo: 13 degrees.

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This second image is of driveways fitted with white, plastic shelters along their length. Homeowners have these shelters installed to prevent snow from accumulating on the driveway — no tiring shovelling at 5 in the morning before going to work because of an overnight snowstorm.

You can drive your car right into the shelter and leave it parked underneath, or you can continue into the garage. In an attempt to minimise visual pollution, only white (i.e., snow-coloured) shelters are permitted in Montréal. These shelters are practical, but they’re also disliked by people who find them to be an eyesore.

A general name in French for a car shelter is un abri d’auto, but the term un abri Tempo is frequently used instead, where Tempo is the name of a car shelter manufacturer.

In the image above, you can see these shelters have been installed in front of virtually every house on the street. Everybody in the neighbourhood is ready for the snow.

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zervice? oufert?

zervice? oufert?

The advert on the back of this Montréal bus says that parts and service is open until 11:30… well, sort of:

Zervice et pièces oufert jusqu’à 23 h 30

Can you guess why service and ouvert are spelled zervice and oufert?

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In this post, I’ve taken some usages heard in Québécois French that were said by a woman in her 70s in Montréal.

  • faire peinturer

She was talking about getting a room in her house painted; faire peinturer means to have painted, to get painted (by someone else), for example faire peinturer les murs, to get the walls painted. If you look up the verb to paint in the dictionary, you’ll probably find peindre instead. Québécois usage prefers peinturer.

  • quand qu’y’a fermé la porte

Y’a is an informal pronunciation of il a, but there’s also a que slipped in here that maybe you weren’t expecting; it means when he shut the door. You’ll often hear que inserted after quand like this in colloquial language. Another example: quand qu’y’a fini, when he finished.

  • dans ma chambre de bain

She referred to her bathroom as une chambre de bain. In the Grand dictionnaire terminologique, we read something interesting about this term:

Chambre de bains (ou chambre de bain) est souvent présenté comme un calque de l’anglais à éviter, alors qu’il s’agit plutôt d’un terme d’origine française. Le mot chambre était déjà utilisé en ancien français pour désigner une pièce quelconque de la maison.

Par ailleurs, on trouve chambre de bains et chambre de bain chez des auteurs français du XIXe siècle. Ce terme est toujours utilisé dans certaines aires francophones. On en trouve des traces en France et en Belgique, et il est encore en usage au Québec et en Suisse. Il est toutefois en perte de vitesse dans ce dernier pays.

[chambre de bains | chambre de bain] Au Québec, il est surtout relevé dans des contextes de langue courante, tandis que salle de bains et salle de bain sont employés dans toutes les situations de communication.

Chambre de bains (ou chambre de bain) is often considered an anglicism to be avoided, whereas it is in fact originally a French term. The word chambre was already in use in Old French to designate any room of a house [as opposed to pièce].

Furthermore, chambre de bains and chambre de bain were used by certain French authors in the 19th century. This term is still in use in some French-speaking areas. There are still traces of it in France and Belgium, and it is still in use in Québec and Switzerland. It is, however, falling out of use in Switzerland.

In Québec, chambre de bains and chambre de bain are mostly used in colloquial language situations, whereas salle de bains and salle de bain are used in any language situation.

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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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I spotted this Pages Jaunes ad in Montréal, which reads:

Rosemont compte 18 déménageurs. Et beaucoup trop d’escaliers pour s’en passer. There are 18 moving companies in Rosemont. And far too many staircases to be able to do without (the movers).

Un déménageur is a mover.

Rosemont is a neighbourhood in Montréal.

As for les escaliers, if you’ve visited Montréal, then you know there are lots of them here and that they’re very much part of the city’s look.

Screenshot of Google results showing outdoor staircases in Montréal

Screenshot of Google results showing outdoor staircases in Montréal

What does the expression se passer de mean? It means to do without, to go without. S’en passer then is to do without it/them, etc.

Je ne suis plus capable de me passer de mes verres de contact.
I can’t do without my contact lenses anymore.

Ça fait deux jours que je dois m’en passer.
I’ve had to go without (it, them) for two days.

Remember that passer is pronounced with â, as if it were written pâsser. You can hear the conjugated form passe pronounced here when Korine Côté says y’a une ambulance qui passe, there’s an ambulance going by.

Back to the ad, it’s saying that there are so many staircases in Rosemont that you’ll want to take advantage of the movers located there.

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