Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘ô gué’

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!

Read Full Post »