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Posts Tagged ‘overheard’

Another example of French overheard in Montréal today; someone said in French the equivalent of “I’m on break” (as in a break at work).

Do you know how the person might have said this informally in French?

First thing to know: to be on break is être en pause.

This gives us je suis en pause.

Do you remember how je suis en can be pronounced informally? It can contract to j’t’en, which sounds like ch’t’en. (The ch sounds like ch in chaise.)

This happens when je suis contracts to j’s’, which sounds like ch. Between the ch sound and en, a t sound then got slipped in to ease pronunciation.

So the speaker said:

J’t’en pause.
(sounds like ch’t’en pause)

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After I ordered food at the counter in a fast-food restaurant in Montréal, the cashier told me my order wouldn’t be long in coming by saying this:

Ça sera pas bien long.
It won’t be very long.

This expression is very much used by employees who deal with the public (restaurants, on the phone, etc.). It’s a way of telling the customer to be patient and wait while the employees go about their business. You’ll also hear ça sera pas long, without the bien.

We’ve seen many times how bien can be pronounced informally as ben, which sounds like bain. This doesn’t mean that bien isn’t used in spoken language though — the cashier did pronounce bien. Although it’s possible to say ça sera pas ben long, it’s more informal sounding.

Even though the cashier pronounced bien instead of ben, she still avoided using ne in her negation, which is an informal usage.

Careful with the pronunciation of long — in the masculine/neutral form, the g isn’t pronounced. It sounds as if it were written lon, to rhyme with mon, son, etc. It’s the feminine form longue where you’ll hear the g.

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Here’s more overheard French from Montréal, carrying on from the 6 overheard items in French we looked at in the last post.

Y’est grafigné.

It’s scratched.

A woman said this while looking at the bumper of her car; another car had scratched it.

Grafigner means to scratch. This verb is used at the conversational level of French in Québec. The gné ending of grafigné sounds like nyé. In IPA, it’s pronounced [gʀafiɲe].

Y’est () is an informal pronunciation of il est.

Y’a un meeting demain.

There’s a meeting tomorrow.

A man said this about a meeting at work.

Meeting is pronounced as in English, but with the usual French word stress.

Other words for meeting are une réunion and une rencontre. The Usito dictionary prefers these words to the English-derived meeting, but you’ll still want to know that meeting is used.

Y’a is an informal pronunciation of il y a.

Si tu savais comment je m’en câlisse…

If you (only) knew how much I don’t give a fuck…

Je m’en câlisse — we’ve seen it before — is a vulgar expression meaning I don’t give a fuck.

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Here’s some more overheard French today. Everything below was heard in Montréal.

Y’a eu un accrochage.

There’s been an accident.

This is what someone said when two cars bumped into each other. Un accrochage is a small accident, a fender-bender.

Il y a eu was pronounced informally as y’a eu.

— Ça va, toi?
— Oui, toi?

— How are you?
— Good, and you?

— You doing good?
— Yeah, and you?

When you ask someone ça va?, the answer will usually be oui, toi?

Ça va? is a yes-no question (unlike comment ça va?); that’s why you can answer with oui.

Y’est pogné là-d’dans.

He’s caught up in it.

If you’re caught up or stuck in a certain situation, you might say informally that you’re pogné là-dedans.

The gné ending of pogné sounds like nyé. Pogné sounds like ponnyé, or [pɔɲe] in IPA. There are lots of examples of pogner in the latest OffQc guide 1000.

Il est was pronounced informally as y’est, which sounds like yé. You can understand là-dedans (pronounced here without the second syllable) as meaning in it.

Fa’ que c’est c’que j’ai faite.

So that’s what I did.

So is very often said as faque. It might be pronounced with one syllable as fak, or with two as fa-que. The speaker of this example pronounced it with two syllables.

C’que is a contraction of ce que. It sounds like skeu.

The past participle fait was pronounced as faite, with the final t. (It sounds like fètt.) This is a feature of informal language.

C’est là où on en est.

That’s where things stand (for us). That’s where we’re at. That’s where we’ve ended up.

Remember, because of the liaison, on en est is pronounced on n’en n’é.

Ça fait super mal.

It hurts so much.

The person who said this emphasised how much it hurt by using the word super. This is an informal usage.

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Here are 4 examples of French overheard in conversations in Montréal. You can scroll down for details about each one.

1. Y’est quasiment déchargé.
2. Moi, là, …
3. Ça s’peut!
4. Inquiétez-vous pas.

1. Y’est quasiment déchargé.

It’s almost dead (uncharged).

This is what a man said when looking at his cell.

Quasiment means the same thing as presque here, or almost in English. You’ll hear quasiment used frequently in conversations.

Y’est (sounds like ) is an informal pronunciation of il est.

2. Moi, là, …

Personally…
Me… As for me…

You’ll very often hear someone express a point of view or provide some sort of personal information with moi, là. You can understand it as meaning as for me, personally, etc.

Moi, là, ça fait deux mois que j’viens icitte.
Personally, I’ve been coming here for two months.
Me, I’ve been coming here for two months.

3. Ça s’peut!

Maybe! That’s possible!

Ça s’peut is an informal way of pronouncing ça se peut. Ça s’peut sounds like sass peu.

Ouais, ça s’peut…
Yeah, that’s possible…

Ça s’peut pas!
No way! That’s impossible!

4. Inquiétez-vous pas.

Don’t worry.

We’ve seen before that you might hear don’t worry said informally as inquiète-toi pas. The vous form inquiétez-vous pas is also heard.

Why are inquiète-toi pas and inquiétez-vous pas considered informal?

The affirmative forms are inquiète-toi and inquiétez-vous. The negated forms above were created by just adding pas, rather than changing word order and saying ne t’inquiète pas and ne vous inquiétez pas.

inquiète-toi pas, inquiétez-vous pas
informal, spoken language

ne t’inquiète pas, ne vous inquiétez pas
written standard

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