Posts Tagged ‘overheard’

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, …

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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Here’s an example of informal language that came up in a conversation:

Ôte-toi de d’là.
Get out of the way.

Ôte-toi de d’là is an informal pronunciation of ôte-toi de là. Before we look at what’s going on with the de d’là part, let’s look first at the verb.

The ô in the verb ôter is pronounced exactly as written, like ô. It sounds the vowel sound in beau or faux. So ôter sounds like ôté.

ôter quelque chose
to remove something

to remove oneself
to move (oneself) off, away, etc.

remove yourself
move off
shove off, etc.

de là
from there

ôte-toi de là
get out of the way

We’ve seen before that de ça can be pronounced informally as de t’ça. It sounds like de with a t sound on the end, followed by ça.

parle pas de t’ça
don’t talk about that

Parle pas de t’ça is an informal, spoken equivalent of ne parle pas de ça.

Something similar can happen with de là, but instead of a t sound coming in between the two words like in de t’ça, it’s a d sound: de d’là. It sounds like de with a d sound on the end, followed by là.

ôte-toi de d’là
get out of the way

tasse-toi de d’là
get out of the way

Se tasser (pronounced se tâsser) also means to shove over, move off, etc. If you listen to Québécois music, maybe that last example will remind you of the song Tassez-vous de d’là by Les Colocs, which you can find on YouTube.

Of course, you may hear ôte-toi de d’là and tasse-toi de d’là pronounced as ôte-toé de d’là and tasse-toé de d’là, where toé is an informal equivalent of toi.

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Overheard: A woman in her late 20s in Montréal lamented to a friend about her personal situation. With the way things were going, the woman said she’d probably end up in the street with all her stuff.

To end up in the street is finir dans la rue. But maybe you’ll remember that the words dans la have a high tendency of contracting in spontaneous speech.

Dans la can contract to dans ‘a, which sounds essentially like dans when the vowel sounds of dans and ‘a come together. We can show this informal contraction in writing with an apostrophe: dans’.

Instead of saying dans la rue then, she said dans’ rue.

Two words used to talk about “stuff” include affaires, which you might already know, and stock, which you might be unfamiliar with.

When the woman talked about ending up in the street with her stuff, she said all my stuff as tout mon stock.

We saw the word stock in a past entry when it appeared in an episode of the television show Les Parent — in that scene, Louis is helping his son with his homework. He’s surprised his son’s having trouble because the homework is easy stuff. He says to his son: C’est du stock de troisième année! This is Grade 3 stuff!

We saw stock again in another entry when a person who noticed I was carrying a lot of stuff in my arms said to me: T’as pas mal de stock. You’ve got a lot of stuff.

Remember, pas mal isn’t a negation; it’s an expression. Pas mal de means a lot of, quite a bit of.

Say the words pas mal together:
T’as / pas mal / de stock.

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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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prendre une débarque

Overheard on the radio — la débarque de Madonna. The radio host talked about Madonna’s débarque on stage this week: she fell backwards off it.

The informal expression prendre une débarque used in Québec means to fall, to take a spill.

Une débarque is a fall, une chute.

If you spend any time walking in Québec streets in the winter, you know you have to be careful about not taking a débarque on the ice.

In fact, I saw a man take a débarque on the sidewalk just after hearing about Madonna’s on the radio.

TVA Nouvelles used this headline to talk about Madonna’s fall:

Méchante débarque pour Madonna!

Méchant is used in the headline in the sense of nasty.

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