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Posts Tagged ‘pas mal’

Here are 3 more videos from the SAAQ (Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec). Don’t worry, there aren’t any violent surprise car accidents at the end of these ones. 🙂

All 3 videos will be added to the Listen to Québécois French section.

I made a small but important change to the title of this blog recently, which maybe you’ve noticed. This blog is now “OffQc | Québécois French Guide” (changed from “OffQc | Quebec French Guide”). Considering that I’ve been referring to the variety of French spoken in Québec as “Québécois French” (rather than “Quebec French”) for quite some time, the change is appropriate.

Video 1
Regarder avant d’ouvrir votre portière

Belle journée aujourd’hui pour faire du vélo! En passant comme ça, faites don’ attention aux cyclistes avant d’ouvrir la porte de votre voiture.

« Bonne journée! »

On ne vous demande pas de devenir les meilleurs amis du monde, juste de faire attention avant d’ouvrir votre portière.

It’s a nice day to go biking! By the way, look out for cyclists before opening your car door.

“Have a nice day!”

We aren’t asking you to become best friends, just to be careful when opening your car door.

Usage notes for this video

  • Don’ comes from donc (faites donc attention). I’ve spelled it don’ here to highlight that the c isn’t pronounced.
  • What’s the difference between portière and porte when talking about car doors? In terms of meaning, there’s no difference. But, spontaneously in regular conversations, porte is the usual usage.

Video 2
Laisser plus de place aux cyclistes

Gros week-end, pas mal de vélos sur la route. Un petit conseil : garder une distance d’au moins un mètre entre vous et les cyclistes quand vous les dépasser… Alors maintenant, on enchaîne avec le…

« Eh salut! »

On ne vous demande pas de devenir les meilleurs amis du monde, juste de leur laisser plus de place sur la route.

Busy weekend, lots of bikes on the streets. A bit of advice: keep a minimum distance of one metre between you and cyclists when overtaking them… And now, let’s continue with…

“Hi there!”

We aren’t asking you to become best friends, just to give them more space on the road.

Usage notes for this video

  • Pas mal de means lots of, so pas mal de vélos means lots of bikes. It’s not a negative formation; it’s a set expression.

Video 3
Partageons la route

« Hé! On devrait aller à la pêche ensemble. Barbecue chez nous, ça t’tente? Aller dans des manèges! Mieux qu’ça, karaoké! »

« On s’connaît même pas. »

On ne vous demande pas de devenir les meilleurs amis du monde, juste de vous respecter.

« C’est quoi ta couleur préférée? »

“Hey! We should go fishing together. Barbecue at my place, you up for it? Go on rides together! Even better, karaoke!”

“We don’t even know each other.”

We aren’t asking you to become best friends, just to respect each other.

“What’s your favourite colour?”

Usage notes for this video

  • Chez nous can be used in the French of Québec in the same sense as chez moi. Similarly, chez vous can be used in the sense of chez toi.
  • On s’connaît même pas means the same thing as on ne se connaît même pas or nous ne nous connaissons même pas. In spoken language, on is generally used in the place of nous. Listen to how on s’connaît is pronounced. Rather than on se connaît (4 syllables), it sounds like on sconnaît (3 syllables).
  • The verb tenter is used frequently: Ça te tente? / Ça t’tente? You want to? You feel like it? This could also be asked with the informal yes-no question marker tu (it doesn’t mean you; it’s used to form a yes-no question): Ça te tente-tu? / Ça t’tente-tu? You want to? You feel like it? Similarly: Ça me tente / Ça m’tente. I want to. I feel like it. Ça me tente pas / Ça m’tente pas. I don’t want to. I don’t feel like it. In the 1000 Québécois French guide with 1000 examples of use, there are examples of tenter in numbers 70, 135, 255, 952 and 990.

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Just some random stuff to learn or review today…

1. Tant qu’à moi, c’est pas nécessaire.
In my opinion, it’s not necessary. Tant qu’à moi is often used in conversations in the same sense as quant à moi.

2. Tu parlais pas mal fort.
You were speaking pretty loud. Fort means loud when talking about volume. Pas mal is an intensifier.

3. J’en aurais pour la soirée à faire ça.
It would take me all evening to do that. J’en ai pour means it will take me when talking about time. J’en ai pour deux minutes. I’ll be two minutes. It’ll take me two minutes.

4. Y’est cheap en crisse.
He’s so damn cheap. Cheap can be used to call someone stingy. En crisse is a vulgar intensifier, like en estie and en tabarnak from #930. Crisse sounds much like the English name Chris, but with a French r. Y’est sounds like yé. It’s an informal pronunciation of il est.

5. Je fais ça aux trois semaines.
I do that every three weeks. Aux trois semaines means every three weeks. Similarly, aux trois jours, aux deux mois, etc.

6. Tu vas te faire pogner.
You’re going to get caught. The informal pogner means to catch, grab, nab, etc., so se faire pogner means to get caught. Remember, the g in pogner isn’t pronounced like a hard g. Pogner sounds like ponnyé.

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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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You know those sponsored ads that show up in your Facebook feed (do I even need to ask)? I’ve pulled seven comments left on those ads by other people for us to look at. Might as well turn those ads into something we can learn from.

I haven’t changed any of the words; the only changes I’ve made are to spelling and punctuation, or I may have included only part of a comment if it was long.

1. On an ad from Zoosk, an online dating site, we find this comment:

C’est d’la marde, ça.
This is shit. It’s garbage.

You’ll hear shit called marde very frequently in Québec!

If it’s crap, c’est d’la marde.

2. On an ad for a 5 km run from Color Vibe, held in different countries around the world, a Facebook user who wanted to participate named a friend in a comment and asked her:

T’es-tu down?
You down? You game?
Do you wanna go?
Do you wanna do this?

We’ve seen in other posts on OffQc that down can be used in the sense of feeling down (depressed). Chu down depuis hier, I’ve been (feeling) down since yesterday. Y’a pogné un down, he’s (feeling) down.

In this Facebook example, down means “to be willing” or “to be up for it” or, like the other informal québécois word that’s been coming up on OffQc lately, game.

T’es-tu game? T’es-tu down?
T’es-tu down pour demain?

This question uses the informal yes-no tu in it. The part that means “you” in this question is the t’. The tu is the part that signals to us that it’s a yes-no question.

3. Then there was this comment on an ad from CarrXpert promoting their body shop repairs:

Fini CarrXpert pour moi, une belle job de cochon sur mon auto.
Never again CarrXpert for me, (they) messed up my car good.

The word job in Québécois French is usually a feminine word in colloquial conversations. Job can refer to employment (for example: j’ai lâché ma job, I quit my job), but not in this example: here, it’s used in the sense of work that was carried out on a car.

4. On an ad from Keurig (they make single-serving coffee brewers that use small disposable cups), a commenter points out the negative effects of their coffee brewer on the environment:

Bravo pour faire plus de déchets! Je préfère ma vieille machine et composter ma mouture sans déchets! Gang de paresseux!
Bravo for making more waste! I prefer my old machine and composting my grounds without making waste! Bunch of lazy people!

The French word gang as used in Québec sounds much like its English equivalent. It’s a feminine noun. It can mean “gang” just like in English (like a street gang), but it’s even more often used in the general sense of a bunch of people — nothing to do with crime.

Ma gang de bureau, my friends from the office, my office group. Gang de caves! Bunch of idiots! Toute la gang est invitée, the whole gang is invited, all you guys are invited.

C'est du pink slime.

C’est du pink slime.

5. In a McDonald’s ad for the quart de livre (quarter pounder) showing an image of a horribly pink, uncooked hamburger patty being weighed on scale (to prove it really does weigh a quarter pound), we find this comment:

Quart de livre de marde rose et blanche.
Quarter pound of pink and white shit.

There’s that marde again!

6. Then there was also this comment on the same McDonald’s ad:

C’est dégueu. T’as-tu vu la couleur?
That’s disgusting. Did you see the colour?

And there’s that informal yes-no question marker again too. The part that means “you” in this question is the t’. The tu signals that it’s a yes-no question.

Dégueu is a short form of dégueulasse.

7. And this comment, again on the same McDonald’s ad:

Moi, du McDo, c’est pas mal fini.
For me, (eating) McDonald’s, it’s pretty much over.

Pas mal is an expression meaning “pretty” or “pretty much.” C’est pas mal cher. It’s pretty expensive. Y’est pas mal cute, lui. He’s pretty cute. J’ai pas mal de livres dans ma chambre. I’ve got quite a few book in my room.

Don’t pause between pas and mal. Say those two words together because they form an expression: c’est / pas mal / cher.

_ _ _

1. C’est d’la marde, ça.

2. T’es-tu down?

3. Fini CarrXpert pour moi, une belle job de cochon sur mon auto.

4. Bravo pour faire plus de déchets! Je préfère ma vieille machine et composter ma mouture sans déchets! Gang de paresseux!

5. Quart de livre de marde rose et blanche.

6. C’est dégueu. T’as-tu vu la couleur?

7. Moi, du McDo, c’est pas mal fini.

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STOP COMPLAINING

stop complaining

I have a little birdie who whispers ideas to me for OffQc to keep me inspired (thanks, Maude!), so today I’m going to pick five of those ideas for us to take a look at:

1. sérieux
2. chiâler
3. stooler
4. être chaud, chaudasse, feeling
5. virer fou

1. sérieux

Listen for statements in French that begin with sérieux during colloquial conversations. It’s the equivalent to how anglophones begin a statement with “seriously.”

Sérieux, t’es full parano.
Seriously, you’re totally paranoid.

Sérieux man, t’es pathétique.
Seriously man, you’re pathetic.

Sérieux, ç’a pas d’allure.
Seriously, it makes no sense.

Non mais sérieux, t’es donc jamais satisfait, toi?
OK seriously, are you like never satisfied?

Don’t pronounce the c in donc in that last example. Parano in the first example is an informal short form for paranoïaque.

2. chiâler

Dictionaries say this verb is spelled chialer, but it’s pronounced chiâler in Québec and often spelled like that for this reason. Remember that â sounds rather like “aww.” I’ll spell this verb with the accent in the examples below.

In Québec, the verb chiâler can be used in the sense of “to complain.”

Arrête de chiâler.
Stop complaining.

Arrête de chiâler après moi.
Stop chewing me out.
Stop nagging me.

Sérieux là, on chiâle sur tout et sur rien.
Seriously, people complain about anything and everything.

Non mais sérieux, l’hiver tu chiâles contre le froid pis l’été tu chiâles contre la chaleur. J’ai mon voyage!
OK seriously, in the winter you complain about the cold and in the summer you complain about the heat. I’m sick of it!

3. stooler

This verb is pronounced stoulé. Stooler quelqu’un means “to rat someone out” or “to tell on someone.” If you’re not familiar with those English expressions, it means dénoncer quelqu’un.

For example, imagine a kid who wants to get back at her brother (get revenge on him) for something he said to her; she might decide to stooler her brother by telling their parents what he said so that he gets in trouble.

Mon frère m’a stoolé à mon père.
My brother told on me to my father.
My brother ratted me out to my father.

Le voisin m’a stoolé et m’a fait pogner un ticket.
The neighbour ratted me out and made me get a ticket.

The t in ticket is pronounced in that last example. Learn the noun form of stooler too: someone who does the stooling is un stool.

4. être chaud, chaudasse, feeling

If you’re chaudasse, then you’re on your way to getting drunk. You’re not full-on drunk yet; you’re buzzed or tipsy. But once you really are drunk, then you’re chaud.

Être feeling means the same thing as être chaudasse.

être chaudasse, to be tipsy, buzzed
être feeling, to be tipsy, buzzed
être chaud, to be loaded, drunk

J’étais chaudasse, mais pas chaud.
I was buzzed, but not drunk.

J’commence à être feeling.
J’commence à être chaudasse.
I’m starting to feel the alcohol.

Après deux shooters, j’étais déjà pas mal feeling.
After two shooters, I was already pretty buzzed.

The part that means “pretty” in that last example is pas mal. Don’t pause between the words pas mal. These two words must be pronounced together because they form an expression:

j’étais / déjà / pas mal / feeling
I was / already / pretty / buzzed

5. virer fou

In an article written by Brigitte Lavoie in Le Soleil (24 December 2013), a man named Rémi Guérin is quoted as saying:

Quand j’ai su que j’avais le cancer, je me suis dit : « Faut que je fasse quelque chose sinon je vais virer fou. »

When I found out that I had cancer, I said to myself: “I gotta do something or I’m gonna go crazy.”

That “something” was build a model of a church in La Malbaie.

virer fou
virer folle
to go crazy

Apart from the expression virer fou, there’s another useful bit of French to learn in that quote: quand j’ai su que…, “when I found out that…”

Virer fou is used in Québec, but quand j’ai su que is used by all francophones.

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Lettre d'une boulimique [Urbania]

Lettre d’une boulimique [illustration by Catherine Potvin]

In an interesting text called “Lettre d’une boulimique,” written by an anonymous author and published on Urbania, we read about the struggles of one person with bulimia, called la boulimie in French. A person who suffers from bulimia is un or une boulimique.

To help out a little with understanding the text, here’s a look at some of the vocabulary used in it.

The author begins with:

On a tous déjà pris du poids, à un moment donné dans nos vies. Ceux pour qui c’est pas le cas, vous êtes chanceux, mais j’vous emmerde un peu.

We’ve all put on weight at one point or another in our lives. For those of you who haven’t, you’re lucky, but you can also kind of go to hell.

The expression prendre du poids means “to gain weight.” Its opposite is perdre du poids, “to lose weight.” The expression à un moment donné is used frequently in French. It means “at some point.”

The expression je vous emmerde (and je t’emmerde) can be translated with varying degrees of strength, depending on the context. It can mean “fuck you,” but because I felt this was too strong for the example above, I’ve rendered it instead as “you can go to hell.” It can also mean “screw you.”

The author continues:

La balance, quand on regarde ça objectivement, c’est juste notre rapport avec la gravité. No big deal, comme y disent. Sauf que comme vous le savez tous, dans la société où on vit, c’est quand même pas mal un big deal.

The scale, when looked at objectively, is just a measure of the force of gravity on our bodies. No big deal, as they say. Except, as you all know, in the society we live in, it is a big deal though.

There’s that expression pas mal again. Remember, pas mal isn’t a negation. It’s an intensifier. We can often translate pas mal as “pretty” in English. T’es pas mal jeune or t’es jeune pas mal means “you’re pretty young.” Other times, we might need to use other words in English to translate it, like “really” or “quite.” Using the expression big deal from the text:

C’est un big deal.
It’s a big deal.

C’est pas mal un big deal.
It’s really a big deal.

C’est quand même pas mal un big deal.
It’s really a big deal though.

When you say pas mal, those two words are said together:
c’est / quand même / pas mal / un big deal.

In the next bit of text, the author uses the verb pogner.

Regardons la réalité en face. Si on est mince, on pogne plus, on n’a pas à se sentir jugés quand on prend une poutine au resto, pis on risque de plus se faire engager si on a un beau body que si on a un surplus lipidique.

Let’s face it. If you’re thin, then you’re more attractive, you won’t feel like you’re being judged negatively if you order poutine at the restaurant, and you have more chances of being hired if you’ve got a nice bod instead of a surplus of fat.

We’ve seen the verb pogner a lot recently, especially in the book title Ah shit, j’ai pogné le cancer, written by Maude Schiltz. The informal verb pogner is used in Québec in the sense of “to catch.”

In the quote above, what the author means with on pogne plus is that if you’re thin, you’re more “catchy” — catchy in the sense of being physically attractive. You can understand pogner here as meaning “to be desirable,” and on pogne plus as meaning “one is more desirable.”

The expression pogner avec les filles means “to be lucky with girls.” A person qui pogne avec les filles is considered to be attractive by girls and has no trouble finding girlfriends. When it’s with the boys that someone is “catchy,” the expression is pogner avec les gars. Remember, gars is pronounced gâ.

Y pogne avec les filles.
Girls love him. Girls think he’s hot.

It’s not just people who can be catchy; a song can pogner too, for example. Une chanson qui pogne is a catchy song, a hit.

If you’d like to read the entire text on Urbania, you can do that here.

_ _ _

French quotes written by Anonymous in “Lettre d’une boulimique,” published on Urbania, 9 May 2014.

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petit train va loin — slowly but surely

10 French phrases — random stuff you’ve asked how to say recently or things I’ve come across in conversations and wanted to share here.

For number 4, I tried to do a drawing like MarieBee does on her tumblr. It’s nowhere near as nice as the ones she does.

1. Tu t’enfarges dans les détails.
You’re splitting hairs.
You’re getting too caught up in the details.

2. On attend de la visite en fin de semaine.
We’re expecting company this weekend.

3. C’est n’importe quoi ça.
That’s such nonsense.

4. Petit train va loin.
Slowly but surely.
[This is how you’ll learn French: on a little train that goes very, very far.]

5. Je te trouve jeune pas mal.
I think you’re pretty young.

6. Je cours tout le temps comme une poule pas de tête.
I’m always running around like a chicken with its head cut off.
[It means that you’re overwhelmed, running around trying to get stuff done.]

7. Check ben ça.
Check this out.
Take a look at that, will ya.

8. Y connaît son affaire.
He knows his stuff.
He knows what he’s doing.

9. Tout ça c’est ben beau, mais…
That’s all fine and dandy, but…
That may very well be, but…

10. C’est deux rues à l’est de Saint-Michel, côté sud.
It’s two blocks east of Saint-Michel, south side.
[Saint-Michel is a boulevard in Montréal. You can also say: c’est deux rues à l’est du boulevard Saint-Michel.]

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