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Posts Tagged ‘pouche-pouche’

A woman was looking for a mosquito spray in a store in Montréal (i.e., a spray that you spray on yourself to keep mosquitoes away).

Can you guess how she said mosquito spray in French?

There are in fact two words for mosquito in French: un moustique and un maringouin. She used moustique.

How did she say spray? We’ve in fact seen it before: she called it un pouche-pouche, which is an informal term. Any sort of spray bottle might be called a pouche-pouche in colloquial language, like a spray bottle with water in it.

Perhaps you’ll remember from a past post that a mother-to-be with a slightly detached placenta asked in an online forum if it would be okay to take a dip in the pool on hot days. Another woman provided her with this advice to keep cool:

Moi, j’ai toujours un pouche-pouche d’eau dans le réfrigérateur. Quand je me peux p’us, je m’arrose de cette eau très froide et OH que ça fait du bien!
I always keep a spray bottle filled with water in the refrigerator. When I can’t take it anymore, I spray myself with the cold water and OH does it ever feel good!

The woman looking for the mosquito spray, then, called it un pouche-pouche à moustiques.

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In entry #815, we saw an image of a sign from la SAQ (Société des alcools du Québec) in a bus shelter. The masculine term pouche-pouche was used on that sign, which refers to a spray bottle.

The ad told us we could stay cool this summer by spraying mist on ourselves with a pouche-pouche, or we could head over to the SAQ to make a purchase:

Aspergez-vous de bruine en pouche-pouche ou passez à la SAQ
Spray yourself with mist from a spray bottle or visit the SAQ

If you click on the first image, you’ll see it full-size.

The second image is a new one. It’s another sign from the SAQ on the same theme of keeping cool. The sign reads:

Retournez dans le sous-sol chez vos parents ou passez à la SAQ
Go back to your parents’ basement or visit the SAQ
(i.e., move back into your parents’ basement or visit the SAQ)

The sign is telling us that we can keep cool by moving back into our parents’ basement or that we can visit the SAQ to make a purchase.

The basement of a house, or le sous-sol, is much cooler than the rest of the house. It’s also the place where some not-so-young-anymore people live when they haven’t moved away from home yet…

In addition to le sous-sol, learn the word la cave. The cave of a house is also its basement. It looks like the English word “cave,” but be sure not to pronounce it like that. It’s a French word, so it rhymes with bave.

dans le sous-sol de tes parents
dans la cave de tes parents

in your parents’ basement

In fact, we saw the word cave in the sense of basement in entry #776, where it was used as part of an informal expression unique to Québec:

avoir de l’eau dans la cave
to be wearing pants that are too short
(literally, to have water in the basement)

If you’ve got a flooded basement, you’d roll up the bottom part of your trousers to avoid getting them wet when walking around.

Someone who wears pants that are too short for his legs looks a little like someone who’s got water problems at home in the basement!

Remember, dans la has a tendency of contracting in informal speech. This is sometimes shown in writing as dans’ or dan’. (The la kind of gets swallowed up.) This means you might hear dans la cave de tes parents pronounced as dans’ cave de tes parents. Similarly, the informal expression avoir de l’eau dans la cave can sound like avoir d’l’eau dans cave.

The word cave has another meaning in Québec, but it’s unrelated to basements: it can also mean “stupid,” “idiot.”

Prends-moi pas pour un cave!
I’m not stupid, you know!
(literally, don’t take me for an idiot)

Arrête de faire le cave!
Stop acting like an idiot!

C’est un gros cave.
He’s such an idiot.

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I saw this first image — an ad from the SAQ — when walking past a bus shelter. Click on the image to see the full size. The text in the ad reads:

Aspergez-vous de bruine en pouche-pouche ou passez à la SAQ Spray yourself with mist from a spray bottle or visit the SAQ

What on earth does this mean?

The SAQ is where you buy wine, spirits and liquors in Québec. It’s similar to the liquor corporations, commissions and control boards in other provinces, like Ontario’s LCBO. SAQ stands for la Société des alcools du Québec.

In this ad, the SAQ is telling us we can keep cool this summer by a) spraying mist on ourselves with a spray bottle or b) getting drunk by consuming refreshingly cold alcoholic drinks bought at the SAQ.

Do you remember the words feeling, chaudasse and chaud from entry #808 to describe two different states of drunkenness? The expressions être chaudasse and être feeling mean only partially drunk, like when you’re buzzed or tipsy, but être chaud is used to describe being completely drunk.

And what about the term un pouche-pouche, which refers to a spray bottle? We first saw an example of pouche-pouche in entry #800. In that example, a mother-to-be with a slightly detached placenta asked in an online forum if it’s okay to take a dip in the pool on hot days. Another woman provided her with this advice to keep cool:

Moi, j’ai toujours un pouche-pouche d’eau dans le réfrigérateur. Quand je me peux pus, je m’arrose de cette eau très froide et OH que ça fait du bien! I always keep a spray bottle filled with water in the refrigerator. When I can’t take it anymore, I spray myself with the cold water and OH does it ever feel good!

The mother-to-be referred to her slightly detached placenta as un léger décollement placentaire. I do try my best to find the most relevant French vocabulary for you to learn, you know!

Oh, and do you remember in entries #762 and #771 how we looked at the use of the word un selfie in French? And how the OQLF has endorsed the use of the words une autophoto and un égoportrait in an attempt to replace selfie?

In #762, I posted the image of an ad from Vidéotron where the word selfie appeared in French. But, just the other day, I noticed that Fido (another mobile phone company) had chosen to use the word autophoto instead at their kiosk in a shopping centre.

The text in the image reads:

Partagez une autophoto de votre chien sur les réseaux sociaux Share your dog’s selfie on social networks

This doesn’t mean the word selfie has already been replaced in regular language, of course. Despite the use of autophoto in this example, my guess is that selfie is here to stay.

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Wou-hou, check la madame, est toute énarvée!

Yes! Entry #800! I’m so excited!
J’suis tellement énervé!

Now there’s an expression that means the opposite of what you might expect…

In Québec, j’suis tellement énervé doesn’t have the negative meaning of “annoyed” or “irritated” like it does in France.

It has the positive meaning of “excited.”

Remember, je suis is very often pronounced informally as chu or chui.

I’ll use the spelling j’suis below to show these informal pronunciations.

J’suis tellement énervée, je tiens plus en place.
I’m so excited, I can’t keep still.

Je dors p’us, j’suis tellement énervé!
I can’t sleep anymore, I’m so excited! (P’us in informal pronunciation of the negative [ne] plus. It sounds like pu.)

Je capote, j’suis énervée, excitée…
I can’t calm down, I’m so excited…

J’suis toute énervée, là! J’ai plein de papillons!
I’m so excited! I’m all butterflies!

J’suis tellement énervé de partir.
I’m so excited to leave.

J’étais très énervé à l’idée de le rencontrer.
I was very excited at the idea of meeting him.

J’suis tellement énervée! J’me peux p’us! Maudit que j’ai hâte!
I’m so excited! I can’t take it anymore (can’t wait)! Damn I can’t wait!

In that last example above, j’me peux p’us is a contraction of je (ne) me peux plus and means essentially the same thing as j’ai hâte. The informal p’us sounds like pu.

You’ll remember that the Québécois pronounce â like “aww,” so hâte almost-sorta-kinda sounds like the English word “ought,” whereas in France hâte sounds more like the English word “at.”

J’ai hâte! J’me peux p’us!
I can’t wait! I can’t take it anymore!

J’me peux p’us… dans trois jours, je pars en vacances!
I can’t wait… in three days, I’m going on holiday!

Câline, j’me peux p’us, j’ai trop hâte de voir ça!
My goodness, I can’t take it anymore, I can’t wait to see it!

The expression je me peux plus can take on another sense: A woman asked online in a forum for pregnant mothers if she could take a quick dip in the pool on a hot day despite having a slightly detached placenta. Another woman responded with this advice for her on hot days:

Moi, j’ai toujours un pouche-pouche d’eau dans le réfrigérateur. Quand je me peux pus, je m’arrose de cette eau très froide et OH que ça fait du bien!

I always keep a spray bottle filled with water in the refrigerator. When I can’t take it anymore, I spray myself with the cold water and OH does it ever feel good!

Here, the idea behind je me peux plus is not being able to withstand any longer (and not “I can’t wait” like in the other examples).

Yes, un pouche-pouche is a spray bottle! Here, it’s used to talk about a spray bottle filled with water; it’s also used to talk about spray bottles filled with perfume. This funny term comes from the sound the spray bottle makes… pouche-pouche. 😀

And now I think this entry has officially gone off topic. We started with being excited and now we’re talking about… pouche-pouches!

P.S. Énarvé is a pronunciation variation of énervé. Pronouncing ar instead of er is more typically associated with older speakers (e.g., varte instead of verte). The exception to this is the ar sound in vulgar words, which can be heard in all age groups, like tabarnak, viarge, marde, as opposed to tabernacle, vierge, merde.

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