Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘pis là’

I grabbed a handful of usages that have appeared on OffQc since post #1000 and put them in a cloud. Can you explain to yourself how each one might be used? You can click on the image for a larger version.

Read Full Post »

During a conversation, someone said:

[bla bla bla bla bla]… et là, mon téléphone sonne.

You’ll find it really useful to learn how to use like this. It means then here. (This is not the same that you read about recently in #1029.)

When you’re recounting past events in a conversation, you can use the expressions et là or, more informally, pis là the way English says and then. In the example above, the verb is in the present tense, but it’s understood that the events occurred in the past.

[bla bla bla bla bla]… et là, mon téléphone sonne.
[blah blah blah blah blah]… and then, my phone rang.

Et là and pis là both mean the same thing. Pis là sounds as if it were written pi là. Pis is a spoken contraction of puis.

You can also say on its own without et or pis before it.

Read Full Post »

By “informal,” I mean a word or expression far more likely to be found in normal, spontaneous, everyday language — between friends and family, for example — than in high literature or business correspondence or news reports.

In many posts on OffQc, you’ve no doubt noticed that I very often say that such-and-such a word or expression is an informal usage. Maybe you’ve even begun to wonder if all Québécois words and expressions are informal…

They’re not. There are many words and expressions unique to Québec that you’re just as likely to hear in everyday, spontaneous language as you are in a televised news report or formal language, in the same way that words like téléphone and café can cross language levels.

Below are some examples of both informal and level-neutral Québécois French.

Informal (between friends, for example)

  • pogner, to grab, catch
  • checker, to check
  • c’est-tu…?, is it…?, is that…?
  • capoter, to flip out
  • m’as, I’m gonna (+ infinitive)
  • c’est don’ bin cute!, is that ever cute!
  • pis là, and then
  • faque, so
  • enweille!, come on then!
  • un char, car

Level-neutral (not limited to one language level)

  • un cégépien, cégep student
  • faire l’épicerie, to go food shopping
  • magasiner, to shop, shop around for
  • une tête-de-violon, fiddlehead
  • la poudrerie, blowing snow
  • un melon d’eau, watermelon
  • une pourvoirie, grounds where you can hunt, fish, trap
  • à l’arrêt, at the stop sign
  • un téléroman, soap opera
  • un REER, retirement investment, pronounced ré-èr

It’s true that a lot of the language on OffQc falls more in the informal category than the level-neutral one. I do this because this is the language that’s more difficult to learn.

Informal words and expressions are less likely to appear in dictionaries and learning materials than the level-neutral ones. Informal usages are also sometimes “hidden” from learners by language instructors who judge them negatively or, outside of Québec, may be unknown to them if they aren’t familiar with the Québécois variety of French.

Read Full Post »

Montréal

Montréal

During a conversation, I was reminded of the importance and frequency of the expression faque là. You’ll want to make sure you understand this expression if you don’t already.

Faque is a contraction of ça fait que. Faque means so, like alors, and it’s an informal usage.

Faque can be pronounced with one syllable (as faque) or two (as fa/que). The person who used the expression faque là that inspired this post always pronounced faque with one syllable.

Faque c’est ça.
So there you go.
So there you have it.
So that’s how it is, etc.

Faque qu’est-ce qu’on fait?
So what are we going to do?

As for là, it can be used in the sense of now.

Là, tu vas m’écouter.
Now you’re gonna listen to me.

Là, chu tanné!
Now I’m fed up!

Viens-t’en là, là.
Come right now.

When used with past time, though,  means then.

Là, y m’a dit : …
Then he said to me: …

Là, j’ai eu une idée.
Then I got an idea.

In conversations, you’ll often hear accompanied by faque and used with past time, the same way so then is used in English.

Faque là, y m’a dit : …
So then he said to me: …

Faque là, j’ai eu une idée.
So then I got an idea.

You’ll also hear pis là very frequently, where pis is a contraction of puis. We can translate pis là as and then, or more informally as an’ then.

Pis là, y m’a dit : …
And then he said to me: …

Pis là, j’ai eu une idée.
And then I got an idea.

Read Full Post »

In Ne touche pas mon bébé (a blog post on Urbania), Jonathan Roberge writes about his strong dislike of strangers’ touching his baby in public without his permission.

Jonathan describes a stranger — an elderly woman — who not only kissed his baby on the mouth, but did so without his permission. He says:

Pis là, elle a fait le move qui m’a rendu vraiment inconfortable. Elle lui a donné un bisou… sur la bouche.

An’ then, she did something (made the move) that made me really uncomfortable. She gave him a kiss… on the mouth.

We’ve seen many times that pis (a reduction of puis) is used in the sense of “and” in Québécois French.

What Jonathan has done here though is use it alongside to form a usage that you’ll hear very often in French conversations: pis là.

Pis là is used when recounting events. It means “and then.” First she did this, pis là she did that, pis là she said this, pis là she said that…

Pis là is an informal use. You can try using it to add a natural sound to your spoken French. Francophones use it all the time when speaking colloquially.

[Quote written by Jonathan Roberge in « Ne touche pas mon bébé » on Urbania, 10 October 2014.]

Read Full Post »