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Posts Tagged ‘qu’est-ce tu fais’

I went through the last dozen posts on OffQc, pulled out key expressions and vocabulary, then rearranged it all into this dialogue for review. (If you squint your eyes and plug your nose, it almost sounds like a real dialogue, with a surprise ending and all.)

Enweille! Qu’est-ce tu fais? C’est pas l’temps d’niaiser!
J’gratte ma guitare, man…
— Ah, c’est l’fun, hein?
Pas tant qu’ça. J’file pas… J’peux-tu t’bummer une smoke?
— Euh… non.
T’es ben gratteux, toé. Enweille, donne-moé une smoke. J’te niaise pas. J’ai un paquet d’problèmes! Mon restaurant spécialisé en grilled cheese a été vandalisé.
— Ah, ok. Bon ben… c’est pour ici ou pour emporter?
— Quoi?
Tes Timbits, c’est pour manger ici ou pour emporter?
— Ah, ouais… mes Timbits… euh, pour emporter… merci…

— Come on! What’re ya doing? Quit wasting time!
— Strummin’ my guitar, man…
— Ah, that’s fun, huh?
— Not really. I’m not feelin’ good… Can I bum a smoke off ya?
— Uh… no.
— You’re so cheap. Come on, give me a smoke. I’m not kidding. I’ve got a whole bunch of problems! My restaurant specialised in grilled cheese was broken into.
— Ah, ok. Right so… is it for here or to go?
— What?
— Your Timbits, are they for here or to go?
— Oh yeah.. my Timbits… uh, they’re to go… thanks…

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A guy in his late 20s, in Montréal, was waiting for his girlfriend to get out of the car. When he couldn’t wait any longer, he went over to her window and said an equivalent of this in French: “Hurry up! What’re ya doing?”

Can you guess how?

To say hurry up, he said: enweille! As an approximation, this sounds like the French word en followed by the English word way. In colloquial language, it can be used to tell someone to get a move on, as in hurry up, come on, let’s go. (In other contexts, it can also be used to encourage someone, as in come on, you can do it.) In informal writing, you’ll see it spelled a number of different ways: enweille, anweille, enwèye… In some forms of literature, you’ll occasionally see it spelled envoye when used in a character’s informal dialogue, but it’s still pronounced enweille.

As for what’re ya doing?, he didn’t quite say qu’est-ce que tu fais? Instead, he said qu’est-ce tu fais?, with que omitted. Qu’est-ce sounds like quèss, or like kess using an anglicised spelling. His question, then, sounded like quèss tu fais? This is a colloquial usage; you’ll often hear this occur in questions using tu: Qu’est-ce tu fais? Qu’est-ce t’as dit? Qu’est-ce tu veux? Qu’est-ce t’en penses? That last one means what do you think (about that)?, what’s your take?, where t’en is a contraction of tu en. In full, the question is qu’est-ce que tu en penses?

So, altogether, here’s what our guy said:

Enweille! Qu’est-ce tu fais?

___

Get caught up: The OffQc book 1000 Québécois French is a condensed version of all the language that appeared in the first 1000 posts on OffQc. You can buy and download it here.

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