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Posts Tagged ‘plate’

I was asked to explain the difference between the French equivalents of to be bored and to miss (someone), using the verb s’ennuyer.

Je m’ennuie means I’m bored.
Je m’ennuie au travail. I’m bored at work.
Je m’ennuie avec elle. I’m bored (when I’m) with her.

If you put de after s’ennuyer, you get the expression to miss (someone).

Je m’ennuie de toi means I miss you.
Je m’ennuie de vous autres. I miss you guys.
Je m’ennuie de Québec. I miss Québec City.

I was also asked about the adjective plate in relation to all of this:

If something bores you, you can describe it as being plate in informal language.

T’es plate! You’re no fun! You’re boring!
C’est plate! This is boring!
C’est ben plate à soir! Things are so boring tonight! (Ben means very and sounds like the French word bain; it’s a contracted form of bien.)
J’ai une job plate de bureau. I’ve got a boring office job.

Note: plate means boring, not bored. So if you’re bored, don’t describe yourself as plate. It’s the thing that causes the boredom that’s plate.

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On the radio, a man spoke about how to avoid suffering from allergies this season. One of his recommendations was to close the windows. He said:

Fermez vos fenêtres. C’est plate à dire…

Nobody wants to keep their windows shut during summer weather. That’s why he says it’s plate to make the recommendation of closing them.

In this sense, plate (also spelled platte) means too bad, no good, etc. We can translate c’est plate as that stinks, that sucks, that’s too bad.

Fermez vos fenêtres. C’est plate à dire…
Close your windows. It stinks to [have to] say [it]…

Remember that plate is an informal usage, in the same way that stinks is in English.

C’est plate à dire, mais c’est comme ça.
Sucks to say, but that’s how it is.

C’est platte à dire, mais t’aurais dû rester ici.
Sorry to say, but you shoulda stayed here.

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Here are 10 of the most googled French usages that led readers to OffQc this year. Do you know them all?

VOYONS DON’

When feeling taken aback by something, you can say voyons don’. (Don’ is in fact donc, but the c is silent here.) You can also say ben voyons don’ for more effect. (Ben sounds like bain; it’s a contraction of bien.) Voyons don’ is similar to the way you might say oh come on in English. For example, maybe you’ve just spilled your coffee for the second time today. Voyons don’! Come on! Or maybe a friend is getting back together with a terrible ex. Ben voyons don’! Oh come on!

FAQUE

Whether it’s pronounced with one syllable (as fak) or two (as fa-que), this means so, just like the French word alors. Faque qu’est-ce qu’on fait à soir? So what’re we gonna do tonight? Faque c’est ça! So there you have it! So there you go! Because of its resemblance to the English F word, a friend from Central America asks me if it’s rude to say faque. Nope! You can faque all you like.

TABARNOUCHE

You know how in English people say things like shoot, dang, crikey, cripes, etc., to avoid using the original swear word it comes from? Same thing with tabarnouche — it’s a toned-down version of the vulgar Québécois tabarnak. C’est un bon produit, mais tabarnouche! C’est super cher. It’s a good product, but jeez! It’s super expensive.

BEN LÀ

Here’s another thing you can say when you’re surprised, taken aback. Picture it — a mother has just told her son he can’t go out and play because he’s got homework to do. He says: Ben làààà! Oh come oooon! Nooo! Or maybe you’ve just found out that everyone at work got a pay increase but you. Ben là! What the? For real?

C’EST CORRECT

When you want to say it’s/that’s fine, it’s/that’s ok in French, you can say c’est correct. Maybe your partner just burnt the toast, but you don’t mind. C’est correct, là! C’est pas grave. It’s fine! It’s no big deal. Note that correct is pronounced informally as correc’ in spoken language, without the final t.

C’T’EN PLEIN ÇA

If a friend made a comment and you wanted to show your entire agreement, you might say c’t’en plein ça! Exactly! Spot on! C’t’en is a contraction of c’est en. It sounds like en with an st sound attached to the front (st’en). C’est en, on the other hand, sounds like cé t’en.

C’EST PAS ÉVIDENT

Not limited to Québécois French, this expression simply means it’s not easy, it’s complicated. Apprendre cinq langues en même temps, c’est pas évident! Learning five languages at once isn’t easy!

C’EST PLATE

You just got a parking ticket? C’est plate. Broke up with your girlfriend? Ah c’est plate. You can use c’est plate (or c’est platte) in the same way you might say in English that stinks, that’s sucks, that’s too bad.

C’EST-TU

In spoken language, tu can serve the same purpose as est-ce que. C’est-tu, then, means the same thing as est-ce que c’est. This tu is not the second-person singular meaning you; instead, it’s used to form a yes-no question in informal language. C’est-tu correct? Is it/that okay? C’est-tu normal? Is it/that normal?

T’ES MALADE

This literally means you’re sick, you’re ill (where t’es is a contraction of tu es sounding like ), but you’ll also hear t’es malade used informally in the sense of you’re crazy. T’es malade, toi! You’re crazy!

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Here’s a translation exercise you can do, similar to the ones in Say it in French: Translate 125 sentences to conversational Québécois French.

See if you can say the sentences below in French (the Québécois variety, of course!), without looking at the answers. If you need help, check the clues.

When you’re done, check the possible answers (they come after the image) and read the notes. You can try the exercise again after that to test yourself.

Say in French:

  1. No, thanks, I’m just looking.
    (what customers say to shop assistants when they don’t want help)
  2. I do my food shopping with reusable bags.
  3. Hahaha, what a hilarious video!
  4. I hate mosquitos.
  5. It’s too bad (it stinks, it sucks), but that’s how it is.

Clues:

  • regarder
  • maringouin
  • juste
  • plate
  • crampant
  • épicerie
  • haïr

Possible answers:

  1. Non, merci, je fais juste regarder.
  2. Je fais mon épicerie avec des sacs réutilisables.
  3. Hahaha, c’est crampant comme vidéo!
  4. J’haïs ça, les maringouins.
  5. C’est plate, mais c’est comme ça.

Notes:

  1. Je fais juste can be followed by a verb in the infinitive depending on what you want to say. Je fais juste te rappeler que… I’m just reminding you that… Informally, je fais can contract to j’fais, which sounds like ch’fais. Juste can sound informally like jusse.
  2. The expression faire l’épicerie means to do the grocery shopping.
  3. Something crampant is hilarious.
  4. Un maringouin is a mosquito. J’haïs is pronounced ja-i.
  5. Plate means too bad here (in the sense of unfortunate), but it can also mean boring. T’es plate! You’re boring! You’re no fun!

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Here’s another funny text message conversation from Les Parent, found here on the show’s Facebook page.

The conversation takes place between a mother (grey) and her son Thomas (blue). Lots of great stuff to learn or review in this.

You can click on the image of the phone to see a larger version, but I’ve included the text below as well.

I’ve included notes below about the underlined words.

  • Thomas! Viens donc! On fait un bonhomme de neige!
  • Yark!! Non! Y’a genre un blizzard dehors!!!
  • T’es plate! Température parfaite pour du fun en famille!
  • Ça compte pour du fun en famille si t’es toute seule dehors? P’pa fait dire d’arrêter de le texter. On écoute un film.

Y’a is a spoken contraction of il y a. Genre is used here like English’s informal like. Y’a genre un blizzard dehors!!!, there’s like a blizzard outside!!!

The adjective plate (also spelled platte) means boring here. T’es plate means you’re no fun, you’re boring. Remember, t’es is a spoken contraction of tu es, which sounds like té.

Température means temperature, of course, but here we can understand it to mean weather. This is a Québécois usage. The Usito dictionary gives us a few examples of this: annulé en raison de la mauvaise température (cancelled because of the bad weather), le retour de la belle température (the return of nice weather), profiter pleinement de la belle température (to really enjoy the nice weather).

Avoir du fun means to have fun. Du fun en famille, family fun.

P’pa is a contraction of papa.

Texter means to text, as in to send text messages.

Écouter un film means the same thing as regarder un film, to watch a film. Écouter is often used instead of regarder when talking about watching the TV, a movie, a show, etc.

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We’ve seen many times on OffQc how ben can be used in the sense of “very” or “really.”

Ben is an informal reduction of bien. It sounds like bain. A better spelling would be bin, and you will in fact sometimes see that. Ben is more common though, and that’s what I’ll use here.

C’est ben loin.
It’s really far.

C’est ben bon.
It’s really good.

C’est ben correct.
It’s really fine.
It’s really no problem.

Remember, ben is used in regular, everyday speaking encounters or informal writing situations (Facebook updates, for example). It’s not used in formal writing. If you see ben used in literature, it’s most likely to only be used in the dialogue portions of the text.

Sometimes you’ll hear ben repeated for emphasis. Some examples pulled from Google results:

C’est ben ben l’fun.
It’s just so much fun.

C’est ben ben plate.
It’s just so boring.

C’est ben ben cute à voir.
It’s just so cute to see.
(Cute is pronounced kioute.)

You’ll also hear it used in pas ben ben:

C’est pas ben ben utile.
It’s really not all that useful.

J’ai pas ben ben le choix.
I really don’t have much of a choice.

C’est pas ben ben clair.
It’s really not all that clear.

Y se force pas ben ben (pour apprendre le français, etc.).
He really doesn’t make much of an effort (to learn French, etc.).

You see? C’est pas ben ben compliqué.

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In the video from entry #671 with Marc Trudel, the interviewer uses the québécois expression c’est plate.

The interviewer asks Trudel if magicians can reveal how they perform their tricks. Trudel says no. He compares it to being told how a film ends before you’ve seen the film.

The interviewer says “that’s no fun” or “that stinks.” C’est plate, ça.

Below is another video from Marc Trudel transcribed in French.

Trudel shows you how to impress your friends by cutting a deck of cards with one hand (couper à une main).

Alors, voici maintenant une technique pour impressionner vos amis avec des cartes. Alors, c’est une technique toute simple pour couper les cartes avec une seule main. Alors, je vais vous expliquer comment ça fonctionne. Ça peut sembler compliqué, mais avec un peu de pratique vous allez y arriver facilement.

Alors, vous commencez par placer votre pouce de ce côté-ci, le majeur de l’autre côté, ainsi que l’annulaire. Donc, ça c’est la position initiale. Par la suite, on place le petit doigt à l’arrière et l’index à l’avant.

Vous allez maintenant laisser tomber la moitié des cartes à l’arrière et, avec votre index, vous poussez comme ceci pour faire remonter le paquet inférieur. Maintenant vous allez laisser tomber le paquet qui se trouvait sur le dessus et vous inversez les paquets en refermant la main, comme ceci.

Donc je vais le refaire une autre fois. Vous tenez les cartes de cette façon, on laisse tomber la moitié des cartes, on pousse avec l’index, on laisse tomber le paquet supérieur et on referme les cartes.

Alors, ça demande un peu de pratique. Évidemment, quand on a appris le tour, on peut accélérer le processus, le faire à plusieurs reprises. On peut aussi évidemment le faire avec la main droite. Et finalement, si vous avez assez de pratique, vous pouvez le faire avec les deux mains à la fois.

Donc, pour ceux qui ont un peu de difficulté et qui trouvent que les cartes sont un petit peu grosses, sachez qu’il y a deux grosseurs de cartes. Ces cartes-là sont utilisées pour le poker donc sont un peu plus grandes. Sinon, à la maison, il se peut que vous ayez de cartes bridge qui sont légèrement plus étroites. Et avec ces cartes-là, ça va peut-être être plus facile si vous avez des plus petites mains que les miennes.

Alors, voici une technique pour impressionner vos amis!

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