Posts Tagged ‘napkin’

This list of 13 English-derived words used in Québécois French is, of course, nowhere near exhaustive. Even if you choose not to use these words yourself, do learn to understand them to increase your understanding of spoken French.

Caveat lector:

The words below are informal usages in Québec. If you’re required to use standard language (e.g., on a French exam), avoid using these words unless you know what you’re doing. That said, these words are fine to use during informal conversations with francophone friends. For each word, I’ve provided an equivalent in standard Québécois French (SQF) for the times when you need or want to avoid using a colloquial, English-derived one.


Pronounced as though written toffe; can be used as an adjective or noun. C’est tough à faire. It’s tough to do. C’est tough à accepter. It’s tough to accept. As a noun, tough means tough guy. Lui, c’t’un tough. He’s a tough guy. (C’t’un is a contraction of c’est un. It sounds like the French word un preceded by st, as though it were st’un.) There’s also the verb tougher, which sounds like toffé. Tougher means to tough out, to put up with. J’ai toughé ça deux mois. I toughed it out for two months. I put up with it for two months. SQF: dur (instead of tough), un dur (instead of un tough) and supporter or endurer (instead of tougher).


Rhymes with tough; in other words, it sounds like roffe. J’ai eu une adolescence pas mal rough. I had a pretty rough adolescence. (The part that means pretty here is pas mal. Say these two words together; they form a set expression.) SQF: dur.


Feminine noun meaning song, tune. ‘Est tellement bonne, c’te toune-là. That’s such a good song. (‘Est is a contraction of elle est; it sounds like è. C’te is a contraction of cette; it sounds like the French word te with an s sound at the beginning of it, as though it were s’te.) SQF: une chanson.


Adjective pronounced as though it were spelled kioute. C’est tellement cute! That’s so cute! Y’est tellement cute, ton chien. Your dog’s so cute. (Y’est is a contraction of il est; it sounds like yé.) SQF: mignon.


Adverb meaning very, so. Pronounced like the French word foule. C’est full cute! That’s so cute! C’est full malade! That’s so amazing! The use of full is more typical of younger speakers. SQF: tellement.


Adjective pronounced as in English and meaning the same thing. C’t’assez weird, ton affaire. What happened (is happening) to you is pretty weird. Your situation is pretty weird. That’s pretty weird what’s going on (for you). (C’t’assez is a contraction of c’est assez. It sounds like assez preceded by st, as though it were stacé.) SQF: bizarre.


Feminine noun pronounced as in English; used to refer to a group of friends, co-workers. Amène ta gang! Bring your friends along! J’aime ça, sortir en gang. I like going out with friends. Aller souper avec la gang du bureau. To go out for supper with my friends from work. SQF: (mes, tes…) amis, (mes, tes…) collègues.


Pronounced as in English; can be used as an adjective or feminine noun. As a feminine noun, it means the same thing as match, which also happens to be from English. Grosse game à soir! Big game on tonight! As an adjective, it means willing. Es-tu game? You game? You up for it? SQF: un match, une partie (instead of une game); être d’accord (instead of être game).

9. FUN

Masculine noun pronounced as though written fonne. C’est l’fun! This is fun! It’s fun! C’t’un gars l’fun. C’t’une fille l’fun. He’s a fun guy. She’s a fun girl. When used adjectively, fun is preceded by le, which contracts to l’. (C’t’un and c’t’une are contractions of c’est un and c’est une. They sound like the French words un and une preceded by st, as though they were st’un and st’une. Gars rhymes with the French words pas, cas, bas. Don’t pronounce the rs.) On va avoir du fun! We’re gonna have fun! SQF: amusant (as an adjective); s’amuser or avoir du plaisir (instead of avoir du fun).

10. JOB

Feminine noun used literally in the sense of job and also in certain colloquial expressions. Une job d’été. A summer job. J’ai perdu ma job. I lost my job. Ça va faire la job! That’ll do the job! That’ll do the trick! SQF: un emploi, un travail; ça fera l’affaire (instead of ça va faire la job).


A feminine noun meaning napkin, serviette. Amène des napkins! Bring some napkins! Napkin is pronounced as in English, but shift the stress to the final syllable instead. In the plural napkins, the final s isn’t pronounced. SQF: une serviette.


Masculine noun pronounced as though written tatou. J’ai un tattoo su’l’mollet. I’ve got a tattoo on my calf. (Su’l’ is a contraction of sur le. It’s pronounced exactly as written, as sul.) SQF: un tatouage.


Masculine noun, pronounced as though spelled chiff. It sounds much like the way an anglophone would say shiff, not sheef. Shift de jour, shift de soir, shift de nuit, day shift, evening shift, night shift. J’travaille su’l’shift de soir. I work on the evening shift. (Su’l’ is a contraction of sur le. It’s pronounced exactly as written, as sul.) Shift is sometimes analysed by francophones as being the French word chiffre. This is because shift and chiffre are both pronounced as chiff, at least in colloquial language. This means that, in informal writing written off the cuff (e.g. a text message), you might see chiffre de jour, chiffre de soir, chiffre de nuit, but it’s still pronounced chiff. SQF: un quart (quart de jour, quart de soir, quart de nuit).


The OffQc guide 1000 Québécois French will help you to increase your vocabulary and knowledge of essential, everyday expressions. It’s a condensed version of the first 1000 posts on OffQc; you can use it to become acquainted with the most important Québécois French vocabulary and expressions for the first time, or to review a large amount of material in less time.

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In a fast food restaurant, one friend told another to bring serviettes on his way back to the table. Amène des napkins means bring some napkins.

You’ll frequently hear amener quelque chose in spoken language, so it’s important to learn. Amène une chaise. Bring a chair. Amène un cabaret. Bring a tray.

Napkin is a feminine noun, heard in informal language. It’s pronounced as in English, but with the stress on the second syllable rather than the first. With the plural napkins, the final s isn’t pronounced.


In some fast food restaurants, you’ll be asked what your name is when you place your order. Your name gets printed out on the receipt; rather than be called by number when your order is ready, you’ll be called by name.

Votre nom pour la facture? literally means (what is) your name for the receipt? Facture is the usual word for receipt in spoken language. Reçu is also possible and immediately understood by all, but it’s not usually the first word used spontaneously in conversation.

A bill is also called a facture, even in a restaurant. On peut-tu avoir la facture? Can we have the bill? Continue to number 3 below to understand what the tu in this question means.


In this question, the tu placed after the verb serves the same function as est-ce que would at the beginning: est-ce que c’est comme ça que ça marche? This tu creates a yes-no question, and it’s used very frequently in spoken language. This question, then, means is that how it works?, does it work like this?, etc.

In number 2, you read on peut-tu avoir la facture? The tu after the verb in this question serves the same purpose of asking a yes-no question.

This tu doesn’t mean you. In a question like tu m’aimes-tu? (do you love me?), only the first tu means you. The second one, placed after the verb, creates the yes-no question.


Person A asked person B whose keys he had on him: those of person A or B. Person B replied that he had his own keys on him: j’ai mes clés à moi.

With à moi, you can insist that something is yours. Mes clés à moi, my keys (and not yours or anybody else’s). Ça, c’est mon livre à moi, pas à toi. That’s my book, not yours.


The expression ça m’tente (and variations on it) is used frequently in spoken language. Ça m’tente means I want to. The negation is ça m’tente pas. The ça m’ part (from ça me) sounds like the name Sam, where me loses its vowel and the remaining m’ is pronounced as though it were on the end of ça.

Ça vous tente means you want to. Using the informal tu described in number 3, this can be turned into a yes-no question: ça vous tente-tu? Remember, only vous means you here. We can translate ça vous tente-tu? as d’ya guys wanna?, d’yaz wanna?, etc.


Learn how words contract in spoken Québécois French (with audio): read Contracted French

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Photo not taken today, but that’s pretty much what things looked like this morning… 😦

I kept my ears open today… here’s some overheard French from around Montréal!

Ben voyons don’! Ayoye! Comment ça?

Oh come on! Ouch! How’s that?
A woman walking past me talking into her phone said this all at once. The expression ben voyons don’ or just voyons don’ shows surprise. Don’ comes from donc, but the c isn’t pronounced here. Depending on the context, (ben) voyons don’ can mean oh come on!, come off it!, what?!, for real?, etc.

We can translate ayoye as ouch. It can show surprise or pain. Transcribed in IPA, it’s pronounced [ajɔj].

Comment ça? means how’s that? how’s that possible?, etc.

Hier, y mouillait.

Yesterday, it was raining.
Montréal got a new snowfall today. A man talked about how just yesterday it was raining. He used the verb mouiller. Y mouillait means it was raining, where y is an informal pronunciation of il.

Tu veux t’asseoir où, toi?

Where do you want to sit?
A mother asked her child where he wanted to sit down. This was how she asked. She put the question word at the end.

Je vais aller chercher des napkins.

I’m going to go get napkins, serviettes.
The same mother then said she was going to go get napkins or serviettes. Napkin is used in the feminine. It’s pronounced as in English, but with the stress on the final syllable. The s isn’t pronounced in the plural.

C’est quinze minutes de marche.

It’s a fifteen-minute walk.
A man said this to a woman he was accompanying.

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