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The STM is Montréal’s public transportation provider (bus and métro).

In French, the name is feminine: la STM.

Here are 3 things for you to learn in French that I’ve heard said by ruffled STM employees recently.

1. Madame, avec le carrosse!

Madame, with the baby carriage!
(i.e., hey you, with the baby carriage!)

This was shouted angrily by an STM employee in the Montréal métro.

The employee was angered by something a lady pushing a baby carriage had done, so she came running out of her ticket booth and yelled this before the lady could walk off.

I don’t know what the lady had done wrong, but I noticed her baby carriage was empty. Maybe she forgot the bundle of joy at the turnstile or something.

2. Let’s go! Let’s go!

Let’s go! Let’s go!
(i.e., hurry the fuck up, people!)

As people boarded the bus at a busy métro station, this was said by an STM employee standing on the pavement beside the bus door.

This employee was encouraging people to get on the bus faster. There was a long queue of people waiting to get on, and some people were taking their sweet time boarding the bus (as usual).

Obviously this expression is English, but you’ll definitely hear it in French too.

3. Déplacez-vous vers l’arrière, s’il vous plaît!

Please move to the back of the bus!
(i.e., will you people stop blocking the door goddamnit!)

An exasperated driver had to yell this a few times when riders of the bus kept crowding the front portion of the bus. There was room at the back of the bus for more standing passengers.

Sometimes when you board a bus, you’ll have to push your way through a wall of stubborn people all huddled together near the front door.

P.S. My respect to STM employees. I’d get pretty exasperated too if I were one.

Image: Wikipedia

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L'accent québécoisThe â sound is one of the most distinctive features of the québécois accent.

You can always identify a French speaker from Québec by listening for the â sound!

The sound made by â in Québec sounds something like “aww” to an English speaker.

To hear â pronounced, listen to Ricardo pronounce carré, or hear Martin Matte pronounce câline and passait. All three of these words use the â sound.

The â sound occurs in words written with the accented â (like âge and fâché), but it can occur in certain words written with an unaccented letter a too (like tasse and case).

When the word is written with the accented â, there’s little doubt — say aww! But when it’s written with an unaccented letter a, it isn’t as obvious if it takes the â sound. That said, you may begin to notice some patterns.

To help you out a bit, below are 50 words taking the â sound in Québec but all written with an unaccented letter a. I’ve underlined the letter a in each word that makes the â sound.

This list isn’t exhaustive, it’s just a list of 50 words that I felt were useful.

  1. amasser
  2. barrage
  3. barreau
  4. barrer
  5. barrière
  6. bas
  7. base
  8. baser
  9. basse
  10. brassage
  11. brasser
  12. brasserie
  13. carré
  14. carreau
  15. carrément
  16. cas
  17. case
  18. casier
  19. casse-croûte
  20. casser
  21. chat
  22. classe
  23. classement
  24. classer
  25. classeur
  26. dépasser
  27. entasser
  28. espace
  29. gars
  30. gaz
  31. gazer
  32. gazeux
  33. jaser
  34. jasette
  35. matelas
  36. paille
  37. pas
  38. passage
  39. passager
  40. passe
  41. passeport
  42. passer
  43. ramassage
  44. ramasser
  45. rasage
  46. raser
  47. surpasser
  48. tas
  49. tasse
  50. tasser

Remember, the letters rs in gars aren’t pronounced. This word sounds like gâ. The final s in bas, cas, matelas, pas, tas is silent. These words sound like bâ, câ, matlâ, pâ, tâ.

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