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Posts Tagged ‘platte’

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 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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In an Urbania blog post called Maudite boisson, Marie Darsigny writes about the challenge of breaking an alcohol addiction and staying sober.

In particular, she writes about the challenge of doing this at social events where alcohol is served. In her blog post, she talks about the time she was at a bar for a friend’s birthday party.

I’ve pulled 11 examples of French from her blog post for you to learn.

1. un 5 à 7 poche
2. ça fait un boutte
3. la FOMO ne me fait pu rien
4. mes lendemains de veille
5. on a en masse parlé de ça
6. ça lui tentait pas
7. un shooter sur le comptoir
8. échapper son verre
9. les conversations sont plates
10. écouter House of Cards
11. je me sens cheap

_ _ _

1. un 5 à 7 poche

= a lame 5 à 7 [after-work social gathering]

Marie begins her blog post with an open question to other readers who may also be taking a 28-day no-alcohol challenge called le défi 28 jours:

Hey, pis, votre défi 28 jours sans alcool, ça se passe bien? Avez-vous succombé et bu une p’tite goutte de bière dans un 5 à 7 poche pour chasser l’ennui avec Kevin Parent?

Hey, so, your 28-day challenge without alcohol, how’s it going? Have you given in yet and had a beer to drink while listening to Kevin Parent just to chase away the boredom at some lame 5 à 7?

Le défi 28 jours is an initiative that occurs in February to help encourage alcoholics to break their drinking addiction — 28 days, no drinking.

Un 5 à 7 is an after-work social gathering where people go for a drink. The numbers in the term refer to the time: from 5 to 7 o’clock. Tourisme Montréal writes about the 5 à 7 tradition here.

If the 5 à 7 is poche like the way Marie said it in her blog post, it’s a lame one. The adjective poche is often used to describe something as being no good, lame, etc. It’s an informal usage.

_ _ _

2. ça fait un boutte

= it’s been a while

Marie writes that she craves alcohol less than before, now that some time has passed since she stopped drinking:

Moi, ça fait un boutte que j’ai moins envie de boire qu’avant, que je suis plus relax.

It’s been a while that I’ve had less of a desire to drink than before, and that I’ve been more relaxed.

Boutte is an informal pronunciation of bout that you’ll hear people use in Québec. Here, you can understand un boutte to mean “a bit (of time).”

Ça fait un boutte que j’y pense.
I’ve been thinking about it for a while.

Ça fait un boutte que j’apprends le français québécois.
I’ve been learning Québécois French for a while.

_ _ _

3. la FOMO ne me fait pu rien

= FOMO doesn’t bother me anymore

When you want to avoid drinking, you may find yourself obligated to turn down offers of going out with friends. Marie writes that she’s able to turn down these offers with greater ease now:

Je dis non à des sorties et je peux même affirmer que la FOMO, fear of missing out, ne me fait pu rien pentoute.

I don’t go out and I can even say that I’m not at all bothered any more by FOMO, the fear of missing out.

Last year, a reader of OffQc called Josh asked if there was a French term for FOMO (the fear of missing out). I don’t think there is one. FOMO can be described literally as la peur de manquer quelque chose in French. If you want to read more examples of FOMO in French, check the comments section of entry #539.

Pu is an informal pronunciation of plus. Pentoute (more often spelled as pantoute) means “(not) at all.”

La FOMO ne me fait pu rien pantoute.
[La FOMO ne me fait plus rien du tout.]
FOMO doesn’t bother me at all anymore.

_ _ _

4. mes lendemains de veille

= my hangovers

Marie writes that she began caring less about FOMO once her hangovers started becoming too much to handle:

Ça date peut-être de quand mes lendemains de veille ont commencé à durer plus que 24h.

[Not being bothered by FOMO anymore] maybe dates back to the time that my hangovers began lasting more than 24 hours.

If we translate literally lendemain de veille, we get “the day after the night before.” Le lendemain is the day after, and la veille is the night before. And the day after getting drunk the night before, you feel pretty crappy. So, this expression is used to refer to a hangover, or suffering the lingering effects of drunkenness the next day.

The expression être lendemain de veille means ”to have a hangover.”

Parle moins fort, chu lendemain de veille!
Don’t talk so loud, I’ve got a hangover!

_ _ _

5. on a en masse parlé de ça

= it’s been talked about endlessly

Marie writes:

Je sais comment ça peut être difficile de ne pas boire. On a en masse parlé de la banalisation de la consommation de l’alcool.

I know how difficult it can be to not drink. The trivialisation of alcohol consumption has been talked about endlessly.

If you’ve got something en masse, you’ve got that thing in a huge quantity.

Y’a des problèmes en masse!
He’s got so many problems!

J’ai bu en masse de vodkas.
I drank so many vodkas.

J’ai bu en masse de bières.
I drank so many beers.

J’en ai bu en masse.
I drank so many of them.

Je t’en ai déjà parlé en masse!
I’ve already talked to you about that so much!

_ _ _

6. ça lui tentait pas

= he didn’t want to
= he didn’t feel like it

Marie writes:

Hier, après avoir fini ma petite bouteille de cidre, j’ai eu comme une boule dans l’estomac. Mon corps me disait que ce soir, ça lui tentait pas.

After finishing up my bottle of cider yesterday, I had like this kind of knot in my stomach. My body was telling me it didn’t want to [drink] tonight.

You already know that you can use the verb vouloir when you need to say “to want,” but the verb tenter is used very often in the same sense.

The form that this verb takes is tenter à quelqu’un.

Ça me tente pas.
I don’t want to.
I don’t feel like it.

Ça me tentait vraiment pas.
I really didn’t want to.
I really didn’t feel like it.

Ça lui tente pas.
He doesn’t want to.
He doesn’t feel like it.

Est-ce que ça te tente?
Ça te tente-tu?

Do you want to?
Do you feel like it?

_ _ _

7. un shooter sur le comptoir

= a shooter on the counter

While at a bar with friends to celebrate a birthday, Marie avoided drinking her shooter by putting it back on the bar counter while everybody else drank theirs:

Pendant que tout le monde grimace, je pose le shooter sur le comptoir.

As everybody else smirks [from drinking their shots], I put my shooter on the [bar] counter.

They were smirking because of the strength of their shooters.

Shooter is pronounced like its English equivalent.

_ _ _

8. échapper son verre

= to drop one’s glass

At the bar, Beyoncé’s song “Single Ladies” was playing when someone dropped their drink:

Bang, quelqu’un échappe son verre. Beyoncé aurait tellement jamais échappé son verre.

Bang, someone drops their glass. Beyoncé would so never have dropped her glass.

In Québec, the verb échapper is used in the sense of to drop something on the ground. For example, if you dropped your wallet, you could say j’ai échappé mon portefeuille.

Monsieur! Vous avez échappé vos gants!
Sir! You’ve dropped your gloves!

_ _ _

9. les conversations sont plates

= the conversations are boring

Because she’s not drunk, Marie notices how uninteresting the conversations at the bar with her friends are:

C’est drôle comment je remarque à quel point les conversations sont plates.

It’s funny to realise just how boring the conversations are.

She used the word plate, which is a typically québécois way to label something as dull or boring.

Ce livre est tellement plate!
This book is so boring!

C’est vraiment plate ici.
It’s really boring here.

The adjective plate can also be used to say that something “sucks” in the expression c’est plate.

— J’ai pogné un ticket de trois cents piasses!
— Shit, c’est plate.
— I got a three-hundred dollar ticket!
— Shit, that sucks.

The final t in ticket is pronounced in that example.

_ _ _

10. écouter House of Cards

= to watch House of Cards

Marie writes that when you admit to someone that you’re refusing to drink, you’ll get asked all kinds of questions as to why, like these ones:

Tu travailles tôt demain? Tu prends des antibiotiques? Tu es enceinte? Tu fais le défi 28 jours? Tu as trop écouté House of Cards et tu as peur de finir comme Peter Russo?

Are you working early tomorrow? Are you taking antibiotics? Are you pregnant? Are you taking the 28-day challenge? Have you watched too much House of Cards and you’re scared to end up like Peter Russo?

In Québec, television shows are more often “listened to” than “watched.” If you hear someone say écouter la télévision, it means the same thing as regarder la télévision. You can say it either way, but know that the Québécois will more spontaneously use écouter.

Veux-tu écouter La Voix avec moi?
Do you want to watch The Voice with me?

_ _ _

11. je me sens cheap

= I feel bad [for what I did, said, etc.]

Marie writes that it’s tiring having to avoid drinking. She’d rather go home:

Ne pas boire, c’est fatigant. Je veux aller chez moi. C’est pas parce que je suis à jeun que je vais prendre mon temps pour dire bye à tout le monde, oh non: je prends mon manteau et je me faufile dehors en me disant «Demain, ils vont avoir oublié ça!» Bon, par contre, le lendemain, moi je m’en rappelle et je me sens cheap d’avoir filé en douce.

Refusing to drink is tiring. I want to go home. Just because I’m abstaining doesn’t mean that I’m gonna take my time saying bye to everybody. No, no: I get my coat and I sneak off while telling myself, “Tomorrow, they won’t even remember!” But me, on the other hand, I do remember the next day, and I feel bad for having secretly taken off.

Sometimes you’ll hear cheap used in French to describe a stingy person or something made of poor quality. Other times, it will be used to label someone as a lowlife or their behaviour as a cheap shot.

T’es ben cheap, toi!
You’re so cheap! stingy!

C’est un peu cheap de faire ça.
That’s kind of a cheap shot.

Je trouve ça cheap de ta part.
That’s pretty low of you.

Je me sens cheap d’avoir fait ça.
I feel low for having done that.

_ _ _

All quoted French text written by: Marie Darsigny, «Maudite boisson», Urbania, Montréal, 26 février 2014.

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