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I like Lisa LeBlanc’s profile description on Twitter (@lisaleblancyo):

J’fais du Folk-Trash, j’viens d’un village de 40 personnes pi j’u tannée de chanter des chansons fi-filles.

I do trash folk, I come from a village of 40 people an’ I’m sick of singing girly-girl songs.

Le folk-trash is what Lisa LeBlanc calls her musical genre. Her music is folk, but the lyrics are bolder and… trashier.

For example, her song called Câlisse-moi là means “Fucking dump me,” and the one called Ma vie, c’est de la marde means “My life is shitty.”

We’ve seen hundreds of times on OffQc that pis is very frequently used as a synonym of et. Pis is a contraction of puis. It’s pronounced pi, and that’s exactly how Lisa LeBlanc has chosen to spell it here.

Unlike et though, pis is an informal usage only. We can say pis is just as informal sounding (and just as normal sounding) as English’s “and” contracted to “an’.”

What’s that j’u in there? It means je suis. We’ve also seen many, many times on OffQc how je suis can contract informally to j’suis, which sounds like chu or chui. Lisa LeBlanc has chosen to spell it as j’u here, but it sounds like chu.

Do you wonder where the ch sound in chu comes from? When je suis contracts to j’suis, the j’s is pronounced ch.

The informally contracted j’s always sounds like ch, which is also why je sais contracted to j’sais sounds like ché.

Every self-respecting learner of Québécois French must master the expression être tanné de! It means “to be fed up with,” “to be tired of,” “to be sick of,” “to have had enough of.”

The expression être tanné de can be followed by a noun or a verb: Chu tannée de chanter des chansons fi-filles. Chu tannée des chansons fi-filles.

Remember that tannée is the feminine form; the masculine form is tanné.

One last word to look at from the description: fi-fille. If Lisa LeBlanc’s music is trash folk or du folk-trash, then it’s definitely not gonna sound all prissy with sappy love songs and shit. I mean, just fuckin’ câlisse-moi là, right?

The fi part of fi-fille is a shortening of fille. If we wanted to translate fi-fille very literally, we’d get gi-girl or gi-girly. Nobody says that in English though, so fi-fille means “prissy,” “girly-girl” or just “girly.”

If you had trouble understanding Lisa LeBlanc’s profile description at the beginning of this post, read it again now:

J’fais du Folk-Trash, j’viens d’un village de 40 personnes pi j’u tannée de chanter des chansons fi-filles.

Now go read or reread all the posts on OffQc related to Lisa LeBlanc or discover her trashy, anti-fi-fille music on her website!

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We’ve seen in past entries how sur le and sur la have a tendency of contracting during everyday conversations in French.

sur le can become
su’l

sur la can become
s’a

This means you might hear, for example, sur le bord pronounced as su’l bord. Do you remember the expression c’est s’a coche? This is an informal way of saying that something is amazing, the best. The s’a in this expression is a contraction of sur la.

One contraction that we haven’t looked at much and also using sur is the contraction formed when sur and les come together:

sur les can become
s’es

I’ll put you to the challenge of learning to hear the contracted form s’es in Lisa LeBlanc’s song J’pas un cowboy.

Listen to this part of the song (video below), which begins at 1:14:

J’ai pas de belt avec un fusil
But j’ai un beau coat de cuir

Avec des franges s’es manches pour que ça seye crédible

I don’t have a belt with a gun
But I’ve got a nice leather coat
With tassels on the sleeves to make it authentic

s’es manches
= sur les manches

pour que ça seye crédible
= pour que ça soit crédible

Lisa LeBlanc may be from New Brunswick, but the contracted form s’es can also be heard in Québec when people speak French informally.

You don’t need to start using these informal contractions yourself, but you do need to be able to recognise them.

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(official site)

César asks if I can write a little about Acadian French and Chiac on OffQc.

I haven’t spent enough time around speakers of Acadian French to be able to do here what I do with Québécois French. But what if we took a look from time to time at some of Lisa LeBlanc’s music? In this way, maybe you can infer certain things about Lisa LeBlanc’s variety of French without me having to explicitly say things like “this is Acadian.”

First, let’s return to Lisa LeBlanc’s song Câlisse-moi là. (You can read what câlisse-moi là means here.) We’ll look at another song of hers farther down.

In this song, you’ll very clearly hear the “aww” sound made by the accented â when Lisa pronounces the word câlisse. This sound is also used in Québec. It’s the sound you’ll hear in words like pâtes, fâché and ramasser.

There are three things in this song that strike me as less Québécois and more the variety of French spoken by Lisa LeBlanc, who, remember, is not from Québec but New Brunswick:

1. so
2. j’te bette
3. rolled r

1. so

We looked at Lisa’s use of the word so in her chorus here. Remember, the Québécois say faque instead of so, or at least this is the case in cities like Montréal and Québec. You can also hear so among franco-Ontarian speakers who live farther away from the borders of Québec.

2. j’te bette

In one line, Lisa sings: j’te bette que t’es pas game, or “I bet (you) that you’re not game.” Here, game means “willing,” and this informal usage is also used in Québec. On the other hand, I’d say that the verb most frequently used in Québec in the sense of “to bet” is gager. In Québec, you could say: j’te gage que t’es pas game.

3. rrrrr

Listen to how Lisa pronounces words like rut, vrai and peureux. Can you hear her rolled r? In Montréal, that rolled r used to be in common use up until about the middle of the 1900s. The rolled r today, in Montréal, is associated with older speakers. From what I understand, the rolled r is standard in Acadian French.

Here’s another song by Lisa LeBlanc that you might like: J’pas un cowboy.

Let’s look at these four parts of her song:

1. j’pas
2. pogner
3. tavarne
4. but j’feel

1. j’pas

If you’ve been reading OffQc for a while, you know very well that je suis often contracts to chu. Je ne suis pas un cowboy can be said informally as chu pas un cowboy.

Lisa takes the contraction one step further and pronounces je suis just as a ch sound, which is shown in the title of her song as j’. The j’pas in her title (which means je [ne] suis pas) sounds like chpâ. This can also be heard in Québec.

2. pogner

In one line, Lisa sings about a cowboy hat. She says: pis un chapeau que j’ai pogné à St-Tite, or “and a hat that I picked up in St-Tite.”

St-Tite is in Québec. Every year, there’s a western festival held there.

If you’ve been following along with OffQc for a while, you must be experts in the verb pogner by now, especially in the book title Ah shit, j’ai pogné le cancer written by Maude Schiltz.

The verb pogner, used very frequently in Québec, usually takes on the sense of “to catch.” Here, in this song, we can say it means “to pick up.”

3. tavarne

Listen to how Lisa pronounces taverne. It sounds like tavarne, right? Pronouncing ar instead of er is often associated with older speakers in Québec. For example, to the ears of someone from Montréal, la porte varte est ouvarte (meaning la porte verte est ouverte) sounds rural or spoken by an older person.

The exception, in Québec, is with vulgar words, which conserve the ar sound in all age groups, like marde, tabarnak and viarge.

When Lisa says tavarne (taverne), it rhymes with farme (ferme) in the line before it. It’s unclear to me if this pronunciation is standard in her variety of French, or if she’s chosen this pronunciation as a stylistic element to sound more folksy. I can’t comment on the social perception of the ar sound (as opposed to er) in Acadian French. If you know something about this, feel free to comment.

4. but j’feel

Lisa says: but j’feel toute seule en calvaire, or “but I feel as lonely as hell.” In Québec, “but” is definitely said as mais. This line would sound perfectly québécois said instead as: mais j’feel toute seule en calvaire.

The verb feeler (also spelled as filer) comes to French via English, and is only used informally. J’feel cheap. I feel bad. I feel like a low-life. J’feel pas ben. I don’t feel good.

We saw in entry #803 (Ma vie, c’est de la marde) the expression en esti, where the comic strip character says: il fait beau en esti, or “it’s fucking nice out.” The expression en calvaire works the same way: j’feel toute seule en calvaire.

There are other elements for us to look at in this song, but let’s leave some stuff for future entries! 😉

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Lisa LeBlanc

Lisa LeBlanc (click to go to her website)

In entry #795, we looked at the chorus of Lisa LeBlanc’s song Câlisse-moi là. One thing we didn’t look at is her use of the word so.

Listen again (video below). A few times, you’ll hear her sing so câlisse-moi là. That so means exactly what you think it does; it means “so” and obviously comes from English.

Some francophones in Canada say so in French. Lisa LeBlanc is from the province of New Brunswick, and so is used in her variety of French.

Some francophones in the province of Ontario also say so in French. In Ontario, the farther away you get from Québec, the more likely you are to hear so. The closer you are to Québec, the more likely you are to hear faque instead.

That’s because, you’ll remember, the Québécois say faque. If Lisa LeBlanc were from Montréal, she’d have sung faque câlisse-moi là instead, or even better faque câlisse-moé là because this is trash folk.

Faque is a contraction of ça fait que. Sometimes you’ll hear it pronounced with two syllables like fa–que, other times with one syllable like fak.

If Lisa LeBlanc had used faque in her chorus, she’d have certainly sung it with one syllable. Listen to the song again, and try replacing so with faque while you sing along.

But once you’ve tried it, go back to singing so câlisse-moi là. Lisa LeBlanc’s French is so delicious that we don’t want to change her lyrics and make them all, you know, standard or something by saying faque câlisse-moé là

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In this entry, we’ll look at an expression using the verb câlisser, as well as all kinds of other vocabulary essential to know when speaking with francophones from Québec.

Câlisse-moi là, vas-y jusqu’au boutte

Acadian singer Lisa LeBlanc uses the words câlisse-moi là in the chorus of her song of the same name. But what does this mean?

Câlisse-moi là
Vas-y jusqu’au boutte
Finis-moi ça
Pis câlisse-moi là
J’te bette que t’es pas game
Trop peureux d’voir que
J’aimerais peut-être ça

Fucking dump me
Go all the way
Just end it already
And fucking dump me
I bet you won’t do it
[You’re] too scared to see
That I might like it

[Lisa LeBlanc, Câlisse-moi là]

The verb câlisser can be used in the sense of to “dump” someone, especially a person someone was involved with romantically. But because câlisser is a swear word, “dump” needs to be made more vulgar: we can add in “fucking” and say that câlisse-moi là means “fucking dump me.”

Lisa LeBlanc is telling the guy to end their relationship and to just fucking dump her. She doesn’t think he’s got the guts to do it though: j’te bette que t’es pas game. I bet you that you’re not game [I bet you won’t do it].

Vas-y jusqu’au boutte means the same thing as vas-y jusqu’au bout.

Lisa LeBlanc was born in New Brunswick, in 1990. New Brunswick is a province in eastern Canada and is called le Nouveau-Brunswick in French. The French spoken there is not quite the same as the French spoken in most of Québec, but it of course shares some similarities as well.

Lisa LeBlanc’s musical genre is trash folk.

C’est fini, je le câlisse là

In Ah shit, j’ai pogné le cancer (tome 1), author Maude Schiltz uses the same expression as Lisa LeBlanc did in her song.

Maude decides that she no longer wants to see a certain health professional at the hospital where she’s being treated for cancer; she’s lost all faith in him. In an email, she tells her friends:

Y a été assez poche avec moi, c’est fini, je le câlisse là.
He was pretty bad with me, it’s over, I’m fucking ditching him.

[Maude Schiltz, Ah shit, j’ai pogné le cancer (tome 1), Éditions de Mortagne, Boucherville (Québec), 2013, p. 212.]

Je l’ai câlissé là

In a short story published online called I’ve got you by Louis-Martin Deslandes, one paragraph reads:

Non! Ça va pas. Je l’ai quitté… Je suis partie ce matin, j’en ai eu assez! J’ai pris mes cliques pis mes claques, pis j’ai sacré mon camp. Comme tu dirais : je l’ai câlissé là! J’en avais assez fait de sacrifices, bon! Là, ça va faire! Un moment donné, une fille se tanne.

No! I’m not okay. I left him… I left this morning, I’d had enough! I grabbed all my stuff and got the hell outta there. As you’d say: I fuckin’ dumped him. I’d made enough sacrifices! Enough is enough! At some point, a girl’s gonna get fed up.

[Martin-Louis Deslandes, I’ve got you, consulted online 18 May 2014.]

prendre ses cliques pis ses claques, to grab all one’s stuff, to get all one’s shit together (with the intention of leaving)
sacrer son camp, to get the hell outta there
je l’ai câlissé là, I fuckin’ dumped him
là, ça va faire, enough is enough
(à) un moment donné, at some point
une fille se tanne, a girl gets fed up

Il mérite que je le câlisse là

I’ll leave you with this longer and very instructive example taken from a Facebook posting. In it, a woman writes about her chum who’s been cheating on her through Facebook.

Not only does she use the same expression containing the verb câlisser, she uses a lot of vocabulary that I’m sure you’ll be very interested in learning. I’ve provided a translation into English and a word list of the vocabulary you might be unfamiliar with.

The original version contained spelling and agreement errors. I’ve corrected the errors so that you can use the French version below to learn from, rather than the original on Facebook. Do take the time to read this; it’s full of vocab that you’ll find very good to know.

J’ai pogné mon chum à cruiser des filles assez clairement sur Facebook. Quand je dis clairement, je veux dire que ses intentions sont évidentes. Il se cherche une baise. C’est pas qu’il en manque à la maison en plus. Une des filles était une de ses ex. Il a eu droit à une sale coche évidemment. Il me dit qu’il la teste. C’est pour le fun pour voir ce qu’elle va dire.

Personnellement, je trouve que c’est de la bullshit et il mérite que je le câlisse là avec un coup de pied dans le cul, MAIS c’est compliqué; on a un enfant. La garde partagée m’enchante pas trop. Il dort à mes côtés à tous les soirs. Il sort rarement et, quand je travaille, il est avec notre enfant. Donc, je vois pas quand il aurait le temps de me tromper. J’y ai clairement expliqué que s’il tient à son couple, qu’il a intérêt à arrêter ses conneries. Mais je l’ai encore pogné hier.

Je sais pas quoi faire. Est-ce que je devrais parler à la fille??? Savoir ce qui se passe vraiment??? Ou s’il m’a trompée? Il dit que c’est une fille avec qui il a travaillé et qu’il voulait aller prendre une bière avec de même. J’ai de la misère à le croire. Je pense que je me fais bullshitter solide…

I caught my guy going pretty obviously after girls on Facebook. When I say obviously, I mean his intentions are easy to figure out. He’s looking for a fuck. And it’s not as if he’s not getting any at home either. One of the girls was his ex. Obviously I totally lost it on him. He says he’s just testing her, and that it’s just for fun to see what she’ll say.

Personally, I think that’s bullshit and he deserves for me to just fucking kick his ass to the curb, BUT it’s complicated; we’ve got a child together. Joint custody doesn’t sound appealing to me. He sleeps next to me every night. He rarely goes out and, when I’m working, he’s with our child. So, I don’t see when he’d have the time to cheat on me. I told him straight out that if he cares about the relationship, he better stop his bullshit. But I caught him again yesterday.

I don’t know what to do. Should I talk to the girl??? Find out what’s really going on??? Or if he cheated on me? He says he used to work with the girl and that he just wanted to go out for a beer with her. I have a hard time believing him. I think he’s totally bullshitting me…

pogner mon chum, to catch my guy
cruiser des filles, to try to pick up girls [pronounced crouzer]
se chercher une baise, to go looking for a fuck
péter une coche, to flip out in anger [pronounced pèter]
péter une sale coche, to flip out in anger big time
une sale coche, a nasty display of anger
c’est pour le fun, it’s for fun
c’est de la bullshit, that’s bullshit [pronounced boulechitte]
que je le câlisse là, that I just fucking end it with him, ditch him
un coup de pied dans le cul, a kick in the ass
la garde partagée, joint custody
tromper quelqu’un, to cheat on someone
tenir à son couple, to care about one’s relationship
arrêter ses conneries, to stop one’s bullshit
aller prendre une bière avec, to go for a beer with her [elle is understood]
de même, like that, just like that
avoir de la misère à faire, to have a hard time doing
bullshitter quelqu’un, to bullshit someone (to lie to someone)
se faire bullshitter solide, to have someone totally bullshit you

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If you like swear words + music with swear words, then you’ll love this short song by Laurent Paquin! It’s only 39 seconds long, but it’s full of sacres québécois (québécois swear words). Thanks to Jude for pointing me to it.

Chant sacré
Laurent Paquin (site officiel)

Ostie d’crisse de tabarnak
Ostie d’câlisse de viarge
(bis)

Ostie d’calvaire, ostie d’ciboire
Câlisse de tabarnak

Ostie d’crisse de tabarnak
Ostie d’câlisse de viarge
(bis)

Ostie d’câlisse de sacrament
Ciboire de saint Ostie

Ostie d’crisse de tabarnak
Ostie d’câlisse de viarge
(bis)

Ostie d’crisse de tabarnak
Ostie d’câlisse de viarge

_ _ _

Sacres québécois

sacres québécois

ostie = fuck
crisse = fuck
tabarnak = fuck
câlisse = fuck
viarge = fuck
calvaire = fuck
ciboire = fuck
sacrament = fuck
saint Ostie = Saint Fuck

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Who you callin’ a pwèsson?

Angela asks about how she heard words containing oi pronounced in folk music, like the word soir.

Read this text:

Ce soir on va boire, moi et toi! On va manger des poires, et conter des histoires! Voir c’est croire!

Now read it again, like this:

Ce swèr on va bwère, moé pis toé! On va manger des pwères, pis conter des histwères! Wère c’est crère!

This is obviously an exaggerated example, but these pronunciations do exist.

What is this madness? Isn’t poire supposed to be pronounced like poire and boire like boire?

Well, yeah… but I think it was Confucius who said, “He who lives in a freezer for half the year will start saying weird shit.”

Anyway, the pronunciations in that second example (swèr, bwère, crère, etc.) sound more typical of certain older speakers. Younger speakers would say soir, boire, croire, etc.

I don’t suggest you start pronouncing words like in that second example. Just learn to recognise them. On the other hand, for those of you doing traditional music, you may want to consider incorporating those pronunciations for the folkloric effect they produce when you sing.

That second example came from a university essay posted online. The author also mentions how those pronunciations are perceived: Aujourd’hui au Québec (…) cette pronunciation est jugée vulgaire, ouvrière, campagnarde, de mauvais goût, etc. (Today in Québec, this pronunciation is felt to be crude, working class, rural, low class, etc.).

Obviously the people who use this pronunciation don’t give a hoot, but you should be aware of how they may be perceived by others. This is why I don’t suggest you adopt this pronunciation when speaking.

Angela also notices a curious expression that comes up in the folk songs she listens to: ô gué!

Ô gué! is an exclamation of happiness or gayness (or should it be guéness?). Not gayness as in Gay Pride gayness, but gayness as in Isn’t Life Just Dandy gayness.

Remember what “gay” meant before it became associated with homosexuality? It meant happy, joyful, blissful… That’s what gué conveys here. If you hear it in a song, it just means the singers are feeling pretty gay.

This isn’t a modern use though, and you’re not going to hear anybody say that while out and about in Montréal — unless of course someone suddenly decided to bust out a folk song while sucking back a calorie-laden caffeine meal disguised as a beverage at Starbucks. Ô gué!

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