Posts Tagged ‘ramasser’

In the photo taken inside a supermarket, we read:

Joyeuse Halloween!
Happy Halloween!

Halloween is a feminine noun. The initial h isn’t pronounced.

Here’s a list of Halloween expressions and vocabulary in French, as used in Québec.

à l’Halloween
on Halloween

passer l’Halloween
to go trick-or-treating

passer de maison en maison
to go from house to house

fêter, célébrer l’Halloween
to celebrate Halloween

décorer la maison
to decorate the house

un costume d’Halloween
Halloween costume

se déguiser en vampire
to dress up as a vampire

ramasser des bonbons
to collect treats

donner de bonnes friandises
to give good candies

un suçon (sucker, lollipop), une tablette/barre de chocolat (chocolat bar), de la gomme à mâcher (chewing gum), un caramel (caramel), de la réglisse (liquorice), un petit sac de chips (small bag of chips)

une petite banque de l’UNICEF
a little UNICEF money box

un squelette (skeleton), une sorcière (witch), une citrouille (pumpkin), un vampire (vampire), un fantôme (ghost), une toile d’araignée (spider web), une princesse (princess), un clown (clown), un loup-garou (werewolf), un cimetière (cemetery)

sonner à la porte
sonner aux portes
to ring the doorbell
to ring doorbells

cogner, frapper à la porte
cogner, frapper aux portes
to knock on the door
to knock on doors

vider, découper et décorer une citrouille
to clean out, carve and decorate a pumpkin

Des bonbons, s’il vous plaît!
Joyeuse Halloween!

Trick or treat!

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I saw a sign today using the verb se ramasser here in Montréal, so let’s review this verb. First things first: pronunciation.

The verb ramasser is pronounced ramâsser. That â sound in there comes close to how “aww” sounds in English. It’s only the second a that’s pronounced “aww,” not the first one.

You may remember that ramasser was included in this list of 50 words using the â sound in Québec but not written with the accented â.



In entry #664, we saw a little sign on a tree that told dog owners to pick up their dog crap from the street. The sign says:

Ramassez, câlisse!
Pick it up, for fuck’s sake!

OK, no, it doesn’t. It just says ramassez! They’re much more polite than me.

In entry #437, the mother in the television show Les Parent is tired of her sons’ messiness.

She uses the verb se ramasser when she says:

Ce que je vous dis souvent aussi c’est de ranger pis de vous ramasser.
What I often also tell you is to tidy up and to pick up after yourselves.

Ranger means “to tidy up.” But se ramasser is “to pick up after oneself.”

If you heard a parent say ramasse-toi to a child, the parent has said “pick up after yourself.”

On se ramasse tous ensemble

The sign that I saw today in Montréal encourages residents of the city to come together and clean up after ourselves in public places (streets, sidewalks, alleys, etc.). The sign says:

On se ramasse tous ensemble
Let’s pick up after ourselves all together

The sign says that we can sign up for the corvée. Une corvée is work carried out in public. The work is voluntary. In the case of this corvée in particular, we’re dealing with une corvée de propreté where residents come together to clean up.

If you live in Montréal, you know that the streets here look pretty nasty after all the snow has melted away in the spring…

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Ramassez!I saw this sign tied around a tree in Montréal. It reminds people that the street is not a toilet for dogs:

Pick it up!

Maybe you’ll remember the verb ramasser from the list of 50 French words using the â sound in Québec but written without the accent.

It sounds like ramâsser.

I dug around OffQc for some more examples of ramasser.

There’s a good one in entry #431, where the expression ramasser quelqu’un was used in the sense of picking someone up by car. It comes from a telephone dialogue in 30 vies (season 2, episode 82) between Karine and Vincent:

V — Allô?
K — Je te ramasse?
V — T’es où, là?
K — Pas loin.
V — Oui, viens-t’en.

V — Hello?
K — You want me to pick you up?
V — Where are ya?
K — Not far.
V — Yes, come.

In #437, we came across an example of se ramasser used in the sense of being tidy and picking up after oneself. Natalie from Les Parent (season 4, episode 18) reminds her son that she’s always telling him and his brothers to pick up after themselves around the house:

Ce que je vous dis souvent aussi c’est de ranger pis de vous ramasser.
What I often also tell you is to tidy up and to pick up after yourselves.

Quelqu’un qui ne se ramasse jamais is someone who never picks up after himself. He’s messy.

In the video below (transcribed in full here in the Listen section), a magician explains how to do a magic trick with a cord. He uses the verb ramasser twice.

He says:

Et là, lorsque nos bras sont croisés, il faut ramasser la corde avec chacune des mains.
And now, when our arms are crossed, we have to pick up the cord with both hands.

And then:

Avec la main droite, on ramasse la corde de l’autre côté.
With the right hand, we pick up the cord on the other side.

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L'accent québécoisThe â sound is one of the most distinctive features of the québécois accent.

You can always identify a French speaker from Québec by listening for the â sound!

The sound made by â in Québec sounds something like “aww” to an English speaker.

To hear â pronounced, listen to Ricardo pronounce carré, or hear Martin Matte pronounce câline and passait. All three of these words use the â sound.

The â sound occurs in words written with the accented â (like âge and fâché), but it can occur in certain words written with an unaccented letter a too (like tasse and case).

When the word is written with the accented â, there’s little doubt — say aww! But when it’s written with an unaccented letter a, it isn’t as obvious if it takes the â sound. That said, you may begin to notice some patterns.

To help you out a bit, below are 50 words taking the â sound in Québec but all written with an unaccented letter a. I’ve underlined the letter a in each word that makes the â sound.

This list isn’t exhaustive, it’s just a list of 50 words that I felt were useful.

  1. amasser
  2. barrage
  3. barreau
  4. barrer
  5. barrière
  6. bas
  7. base
  8. baser
  9. basse
  10. brassage
  11. brasser
  12. brasserie
  13. carré
  14. carreau
  15. carrément
  16. cas
  17. case
  18. casier
  19. casse-croûte
  20. casser
  21. chat
  22. classe
  23. classement
  24. classer
  25. classeur
  26. dépasser
  27. entasser
  28. espace
  29. gars
  30. gaz
  31. gazer
  32. gazeux
  33. jaser
  34. jasette
  35. matelas
  36. paille
  37. pas
  38. passage
  39. passager
  40. passe
  41. passeport
  42. passer
  43. ramassage
  44. ramasser
  45. rasage
  46. raser
  47. surpasser
  48. tas
  49. tasse
  50. tasser

Remember, the letters rs in gars aren’t pronounced. This word sounds like gâ. The final s in bas, cas, matelas, pas, tas is silent. These words sound like bâ, câ, matlâ, pâ, tâ.

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