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Posts Tagged ‘pis’

In the videos I’ve posted to OffQc lately, quite a few informal contractions have come up. It’s imperative to learn these contractions to understand spoken French.

I’ve pulled together a list of these contractions; there’s a link for each one that will take you back to the video where it appeared so you can listen again and learn it.

Here’s something you can try. The sentences below have been written without contractions. Try to say them aloud applying whatever informal contractions are possible from the ones above.

Je suis bien content.
Tu n’es pas tanné?
Je l’ai croisée sur la rue.
Des fois je me fâche.
Il y en a qui disent ça.

Answers

J’su’ ben [chu bin] content. I’m really happy.
T’es pas tanné? You’re not fed up?
Je l’ai croisée s’a rue. I bumped into her in the street.
Des fois j’me fâche. Sometimes I get angry.
Y’en a qui disent ça. Some people say that.

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Here’s another short clip. Try to listen first without consulting the text below. This video features Martin Matte again, like the last one from #959. This video will be added to the Listen section.

— Qu’est-ce que tu regardes?

— Ha ha, oh attends, là… C’est parce que j’ai tapé «grosse chatte» sur l’écran parce que j’voulais trouver un moyen pour faire maigrir le chat, j’trouve ça p’us d’allure, pis j’su’ tombé là-dessus…

— Juste un problème, c’est qu’on a pas d’chat.

— Oh, tu vas rire, c’est cave, là… j’ai toujours été certain qu’on avait un chat. C’est, c’est, c’est bizarre. On sort de d’là! T’essayes, de toute façon…

— What are you watching?

— Ha ha, oh hold on… It’s just because I typed “big pussy [cat]” on the screen because I wanted to find a way to make the cat lose weight, I think it’s become ridiculous, and I stumbled on this…

— There’s just one problem; we don’t have a cat.

— Oh, you’re gonna laugh, it’s silly… I’ve always been sure we had a cat. That, that, that’s weird. Let’s get outta here. We’ll try to anyway…

Usage and pronunciation notes

j’trouve ça p’us d’allure, I think it’s become ridiculous, gone too far (the related expression ç’a pas d’allure means that’s ridiculous, insane, etc.)
p’us, informal contraction of plus; sounds like pu
pis, 
informal contraction of puis
j’su’, 
informal contraction of je suis; sounds like chu
pas d’chat, listen to how pas d’chat (from pas de chat) is pronounced so you’ll recognise it
cave, stupid, silly
de d’là, informal pronunciation of de là (we saw de d’là before in ôte-toi de d’là)

Listen to the difference in pronunciation between chat and chatte. The vowel a is not pronounced the same way in the two words.

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On Urbania, Lysandre Nadeau writes about the approach of moving season — moving into a new apartment with a new coloc, that is. She writes:

Le soleil est enfin arrivé au Québec. Pis quand il se pointe, pas ben ben longtemps après, les gens déménagent. Eh oui, dans quelques semaines, le monde vont commencer à faire leurs boîtes.

pis quand il se pointe, and when it shows up
pas ben ben longtemps après, not too long afterwards
le monde vont commencer à, people are going to start to
faire leurs boîtes, to pack their boxes

Ben is an informal contraction of bien meaning really here. It sounds like bain. The author has doubled it for effect: pas ben ben longtemps après, literally not really really a long time afterwards.

Why has she used the plural vont with the singular noun le monde? Le monde vont commencer à faire leurs boîtes. It’s a feature of informal language where le monde, meaning people, is analysed as a plural noun like les gens.

Pis means and here. It’s pronounced pi and comes from puis. It’s similar to the way and in English can contract to an’ or ‘n’.

She continues:

Il va y avoir des gros camions partout dans les rues pis plein de vieux divans à motifs laittes sur les trottoirs.

plein de, lots of
vieux divans, old sofas
à motifs laittes, with ugly designs

Laitte is an informal pronunciation of laid that you’ll hear used spontaneously in conversations.

The author uses a few more words from conversational language:

Un nouvel appartement signifie aussi peut-être : un nouveau coloc. J’en ai eu en masse dans ma vie, des l’funs pis des pas l’funs.

un nouveau coloc, a new roommate, flatmate
en masse, lots, heaps
j’en ai eu en masse, I’ve had lots of them
des l’funs pis des pas l’funs, fun/great ones and not-so-fun/great ones

Coloc is a short form of colocataire. Locataire is a renter, so a colocataire is a “co-renter,” someone you share your apartment with. Coloc is used informally.

What does the first en mean in j’en ai eu en masse? It means of them here. In English, you can say I had many, but you can’t in French. In French, you have to say I had many of them, where the of them is said as en. J’en ai eu en masse, of them have had heaps.

Fun is a bit funny in that it uses the article le in front of it, even when used adjectively. Des gars le fun, fun guys. Unlike the author, I’m not sure I’d have put an s on fun in des l’fun pis des pas l’fun.

Source: All quotes written by Lysandre Nadeau in “Le guide de la pire personne en colocation,” Urbania, 22 May 2015.

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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.]

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I like Lisa LeBlanc’s profile description on Twitter (@lisaleblancyo):

J’fais du Folk-Trash, j’viens d’un village de 40 personnes pi j’u tannée de chanter des chansons fi-filles.

I do trash folk, I come from a village of 40 people an’ I’m sick of singing girly-girl songs.

Le folk-trash is what Lisa LeBlanc calls her musical genre. Her music is folk, but the lyrics are bolder and… trashier.

For example, her song called Câlisse-moi là means “Fucking dump me,” and the one called Ma vie, c’est de la marde means “My life is shitty.”

We’ve seen hundreds of times on OffQc that pis is very frequently used as a synonym of et. Pis is a contraction of puis. It’s pronounced pi, and that’s exactly how Lisa LeBlanc has chosen to spell it here.

Unlike et though, pis is an informal usage only. We can say pis is just as informal sounding (and just as normal sounding) as English’s “and” contracted to “an’.”

What’s that j’u in there? It means je suis. We’ve also seen many, many times on OffQc how je suis can contract informally to j’suis, which sounds like chu or chui. Lisa LeBlanc has chosen to spell it as j’u here, but it sounds like chu.

Do you wonder where the ch sound in chu comes from? When je suis contracts to j’suis, the j’s is pronounced ch.

The informally contracted j’s always sounds like ch, which is also why je sais contracted to j’sais sounds like ché.

Every self-respecting learner of Québécois French must master the expression être tanné de! It means “to be fed up with,” “to be tired of,” “to be sick of,” “to have had enough of.”

The expression être tanné de can be followed by a noun or a verb: Chu tannée de chanter des chansons fi-filles. Chu tannée des chansons fi-filles.

Remember that tannée is the feminine form; the masculine form is tanné.

One last word to look at from the description: fi-fille. If Lisa LeBlanc’s music is trash folk or du folk-trash, then it’s definitely not gonna sound all prissy with sappy love songs and shit. I mean, just fuckin’ câlisse-moi là, right?

The fi part of fi-fille is a shortening of fille. If we wanted to translate fi-fille very literally, we’d get gi-girl or gi-girly. Nobody says that in English though, so fi-fille means “prissy,” “girly-girl” or just “girly.”

If you had trouble understanding Lisa LeBlanc’s profile description at the beginning of this post, read it again now:

J’fais du Folk-Trash, j’viens d’un village de 40 personnes pi j’u tannée de chanter des chansons fi-filles.

Now go read or reread all the posts on OffQc related to Lisa LeBlanc or discover her trashy, anti-fi-fille music on her website!

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In entry #710 about the pronunciations pis, moé, and toé, I put up an example that happened to use the word drette in it:

Tantôt, j’étais au Subway, pis y’a un monsieur qui s’est étouffé avec son 6 pouces au thon drette à côté de moi.

Earlier on, I was at Subway [a fast-food restaurant], and there was a man who choked on his 6-inch tuna [sandwich] right next to me.

(source: Axe du Mad)

What does drette mean?

Drette is an informal québécois pronunciation of droit. In the example above, drette is the part that means “right” in the English translation.

drette à côté de moi
= juste à côté de moi
= right next to me

Tourne à drette.
= Tourne à droite.
= Turn right.

C’est drette là.
= C’est juste là.
= It’s right there.

Drette là may also be used informally in the sense of tout de suite, immédiatement.

In a Kijiji posting online, someone was trying to get rid of some furniture. The title of the ad was:

Faut que ça parte genre drette là!
It’s gotta go like right now!!

In that example, genre is the part translated as “like.”

In another online posting, someone had an apartment up for rent. The title of the ad was:

Appart à louer presque drette là!
Apartment for rent almost right away!

The final t in appart is pronounced. It’s an informal short form of appartement.

Drette is never used in formal language. It’s at the same level of language as words like moé, toé and icitte. Even if all Québécois understand what drette means, this doesn’t mean that everybody will use it.

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Mes Aïeux

Mes Aïeux (click on the image to go to the official site)

On the OffQc Facebook page, Ken asked about a few pronunciations he heard in a modern folk song called Dégénérations by the group Mes Aïeux. In one part of this song about generational degeneration (which you can listen to below), the lyrics go like this:

Et pis toi, ma p’tite fille, tu changes de partenaire tout l’temps
Quand tu fais des conneries, tu t’en sauves en avortant
And as for you, young girl, you’re always sleeping around
Whenever you mess up, you just get out of it by aborting

Ken asked about the word pis, and also wanted to know why toi gets pronounced as toé (or twé) in the song.

You’ll hear pis a lot when people speak French casually. It sounds as if it were written pi, or like the English word “pee.” It can mean “then” or “and” depending on how it’s used. Pis derives from puis.

I found a blog post in which the author wrote a fictional piece (or at least I hope it’s fictional) about saving some guy from choking on his 6-inch tuna sub at a Subway restaurant. He uses the word pis in his writing:

Tantôt, j’étais au Subway, pis y’a un monsieur qui s’est étouffé avec son 6 pouces au thon drette à côté de moi.
Earlier on, I was at Subway [a fast-food restaurant], and there was a man who choked on his 6-inch tuna [sandwich] right next to me.

J’me suis d’abord placé devant lui pis je l’ai entouré de mes mains pis je l’ai serré contre moi.
First I stood in front of him, (and) then I grabbed hold of him, (and) then I pulled him in towards me.

[Quotes by Gran Talen in Sauver une vie grâce à mon collier pur noisetier]

So, when Mes Aïeux sing et pis toi in the lyrics above, we can translate it as “and as for you” (i.e., and now, turning our attention to you…). But Ken notes that they don’t actually sing it as et pis toi — they sing it as et pis toé.

If you listen to traditional québécois music, you’ll often hear moi and toi pronounced as moé and toé in the songs. You might also sometimes hear these pronunciations in conversations. If you came across moé pis toé in French, it means moi et toi.

Is there a difference between moi/toi and moé/toé?

Yes, there’s a difference. They mean the same thing, but some people in Québec may tell you that moé and toé are “incorrect.” These pronunciations are often typically associated with the working class.

As a learner of French, should you use moé and toé when you speak?

Probably not. The Québécois will know that you’re not a native speaker of French, and these pronunciations will almost certainly sound out of place if you use them. (This is maybe similar to the English word “ain’t.” You’d probably find it strange to hear a non-native speaker of English use it.)

This doesn’t mean that moé and toé are “bad” pronunciations. But I do think it’s best to leave moé and toé to the native speakers and just stick with moi and toi yourself.

As for pis, you can probably get away with using that one, even as a non-native speaker of French, because it’s just so very prevalent in conversations. Save it for informal conversations though, and keep listening to French so that you can hear how and when it’s used.

On the other hand, if you’re singing québécois trad music (and I know some of you are), moé and toé will probably sound very appropriate in that context because of the folkloric effect they produce.

In fact, in the Mes Aïeux folk song below, it’s probably moi and toi that would sound out of place!

Enjoy…

You can find the lyrics to the song through Google with the search terms paroles mes aïeux dégénérations.

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