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Posts Tagged ‘random’

On an STM bus, a young man said on débarque ici to a friend sitting beside him, or “let’s get off here.”

A friend offered me a diet Pepsi to drink, un Pepsi diète.

The Pepsi was in a can, en canette.

A doctor that I won’t be seeing anymore had his receptionist call me. She said je ferme votre dossier, or “I’m closing your file.”

A sign at a fast food restaurant said veuillez faire la ligne ici, or “please line up here.”

Two friends wished each other a happy noon lunch break by saying bon midi! and bon lunch! to each other.

I saw a sign in shopping centre that said bon magasinage!, or “happy shopping!”

A Latin American tourist asked her husband what on signs outside buildings in Montréal could possibly mean. It’s the equivalent of a one-bedroom apartment available for rent.

Signs that read logement à louer mean that there’s an apartment available for rent.

The words diète and midi from above are dzidzu words. Diète is pronounced dziète and midi is pronounced midzi.

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1. Espace

During a conversation, the French word espace came up.

Remember, this word is pronounced espâce (a bit like “espawss”), but it’s never written the accented â.

2. Aucune câlisse d’idée!

Just overheard somebody say this — it’s means “(I’ve got) no fucking idea!”

3. Ç’a pas d’allure!

A reader of OffQc asks about the meaning of this expression. It means “that makes no sense!”

It becomes ça n’a pas d’allure if we include the ne.

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Here are 5 new examples of spontaneous French from conversations or that I’ve overheard someone say in Montréal.

1. Y’est moins dix.

It’s ten to.
(Il est moins dix.)

It was ten to three (14 h 50) when the person said this. You’ll often hear il est pronounced as y’est ().

Dix gets dziduated in Québec. It sounds like dziss.

2. Y’a moins de choix que la dernière fois.

There’s less choice than last time.
(Il y a moins de choix que la dernière fois.)

This person was talking about how there was less to choose from in a shop compared with last time. Il y a is generally pronounced y’a in regular conversations.

3. Y’a pas de quoi être fier.

That’s nothing to be proud of.
(Il n’y a pas de quoi être fier.)

The opposite of y’a is y’a pas, which is generally how you’ll hear il n’y a pas pronounced during regular conversations.

4. Excusez!

Sorry!

A man knocked over his chair by accident in a restaurant, making a lot of noise. He apologised to the people around him by saying excusez.

Maybe you’ll remember the elderly lady who burped behind me and said pardon, ‘scusez to the people around her.

5. Ciao!

Bye!

Ciao is used very frequently in Montréal to say “bye.”

In the original Italian, ciao means both “hi” and “bye.” Francophones in Québec use it to say “bye.”

La banlieue, c'pas pour moiUrban French

La banlieue, c’pas pour moi. The burbs aren’t for me.

If ever there was an example of urban French, this would have to be it.

The image is of an advertisement, seen in a métro station, for urban condos located in Montréal.

No lawns, please and thank you!

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Here are 5 new examples of French from around Montréal.

1. Bonjour, bonjour, rebonjour!

A guy who I bumped into twice within the space of about 15 minutes rebonjoured me with rebonjour! It’s a playful usage and, as you probably guessed, it means “hello again.”

2. Vous voulez vous asseoir?

If you’re on the bus or métro, you can offer your seat to someone who needs it more than you with this question.

3. L’avenir appartient à ceux qui se réveillent.

I didn’t hear this, I saw it. It’s from a promotional poster for an energy drink displayed in dépanneurs around Montréal.

“The future belongs to those who wake up.”

The poster is really about waking up by drinking the energy drink. But if we ignore that, it conveys a nice message about just waking up early in general. For us late-risers, it’s good to be reminded to wake up every now and again.

4. Tabarouette!

This is a milder version of tabarnak. It sounds like “tabarwett.” It’s maybe similar to “jeez” or “darn it” in English.

5. Es-tu correct?

As I passed in front of a hotel entrance, an employee was carrying the bags and suitcase of a guest at the hotel. Another employee asked him if he could manage on his own by saying es-tu correct? (are you OK?). Informally, you’ll hear correct pronounced as correc.

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More overheard French from around Montréal for you (1. enweille, 2. on se dépêche, 3. bonne fin de semaine), plus Chris asks a question about the expression quand même.

1. Enweille!

Come on! This was said by a dad to his son, who was lingering behind a little. He used enweille to tell his son to get a move on, to hurry up.

Not only can enweille be used to encourage someone to hurry up (enweille, on est en retard!, “come on, we’re late!”), it can also be used to motivate someone (enweille, t’es capable!, “come on, you can do it!”).

Although this expression is used mostly in spoken French, you’ll also sometimes see it in informal writing. It can take on all kinds of different spellings, like anweille, enweille, enwèye…

Enweille isn’t the only way to encourage people to hurry up…

2. On se dépêche!

Hurry up! Quickly! A teacher on a Montréal STM bus was travelling with a large group of students, about 15 of them. When they were getting off at their stop, the teacher yelled out repeatedly on se dépêche! to encourage the students to get out fast and not hold up the bus.

She used the on form of the verb se dépêcher to give an order, instead of the imperative (dépêchez-vous). This isn’t unusual. Another example of this might be calming down a hysterical friend by saying on se calme!!

3. Bonne fin de semaine!

Have a good weekend! The weekend has two names in Québec: (la) fin de semaine and (le) week-end. You’ve maybe heard that fin de semaine is how weekend is said in Québec and that week-end is how it’s said in France. This is only partly true.

Yes, fin de semaine is a québécois usage, but this doesn’t mean that week-end isn’t used in Québec. You’ll see and hear week-end used extensively in québécois media, and you’ll sometimes hear people say it too during conversations. That said, fin de semaine is still perceived to be the typically québécois way of saying it.

4. And a question from Chris

Chris wrote to me asking about the expression quand même. He’s familiar with how quand même is used in the sense of “anyway,” like this:

C’est trop cher, mais je vais l’acheter quand même.
It’s too expensive, but I’m going to buy it anyway.

His doubt was that he sometimes hears quand même used in a different sense, a sense that he’s unfamiliar with, and if I knew what it might be.

I suspect that what you’re hearing, Chris, is the use of quand même to show surprise or anger.

— Il roulait à quelle vitesse?
— 100, 110.
— Quand même!

— How fast was he going?
— 100, 110.
— Oh, that fast!

Faut pas exagérer quand même!
Oh come on, don’t exaggerate!

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Here are five very useful examples of conversational French that have come up in conversations or that I’ve overheard in Montréal over the past few days.

You can read the notes for each example for tips on how to give a more natural feel to your French when you speak and to understand what you hear.

1. Comment il s’appelle, lui?

What’s his name? What’s that guy’s name?

When asking about names, you’ve learned to ask comment s’appelle-t-il? and comment t’appelles-tu?, etc., using the inversion after comment.

It’s perfectly correct, but it’s not usually what people say spontaneously. The person who asked comment il s’appelle, lui? didn’t use the inversion after comment. Similarly, you can ask comment tu t’appelles?

You’ll hear il pronounced very frequently as i during conversations. When this informal pronunciation appears in writing, it’s almost always written as y. The question sounded like comment y s’appelle, lui? There’s no liaison (no t sound) between comment and y.

2. T’as pas mal de stock.

You’ve got a lot of stuff.

This was said to me when I was carrying several bags of stuff. The word stock doesn’t refer to merchandise here. It just means “stuff” or “things.”

Pas mal here isn’t a negative. It’s a set expression meaning “a lot” or “quite a bit.” Another example: j’étais pas mal fatigué, “I was pretty tired.”

When using pas mal, keep the words pas and mal together in the same breath when you say them.

Don’t say: j’étais pas / mal fatigué.
Say: j’étais / pas mal fatigué.

Using the example from above:
Don’t say: t’as pas / mal de stock.
Say: t’as / pas mal de stock.

T’as is an informal way of saying tu as.

3. Fait que, dans le fond…

So, basically…

The expression fait que tends to pepper a lot of informal conversations in French. It means “so,” like alors or donc. For example: fait que, dans le fond, t’as deux choix, “so, basically, you’ve got two choices.” The expression fait que is a shortened form of ça fait que.

Fait que has two syllables, but you’ll also hear it pronounced with one as faque (sounds like fak).

As for dans le fond, it’s used in the same way that English speakers say “basically” to resume. You’ll hear faque dans le fond… just as often as the English expression “so, basically…” (in other words, often!).

4. Elle veut pas.

She doesn’t want to.

The speaker didn’t say elle ne veut pas. She said elle veut pas. To tell the truth, she didn’t say elle veut pas either. She said a veut pas!

Not only did she not include ne in her negative sentence, she pronounced the subject elle informally as a. If this happens, it’s only when elle is a subject. You’d never hear someone pronounce c’est pour elle as “c’est pour a” because elle isn’t a subject here.

It’s always acceptable for you to pronounce the subject elle as elle, even during informal conversations. Native speakers certainly don’t expect to hear a non-native pronounce elle informally as a.

Back to the example above — if you still wanted to maintain some informality when you speak, you could just leave out ne and say elle veut pas, avoiding pronouncing elle as a. Leaving out ne during regular, informal conversations with friends and co-workers will go unnoticed.

Of course, you can also say the full elle ne veut pas, no problem. It’s just that in spontaneous speech during informal conversations, ne is largely absent. But you don’t have to adopt this if you don’t want to.

5. C’est quoi la saveur? C’est quoi la grandeur?

What flavour is it? What size is it?

A customer in a café asked the employee working at the cash about a drink they serve. He wanted to know what flavour it was: c’est quoi la saveur? He also wanted to know what size it was offered in: c’est quoi la grandeur?

Questions using c’est quoi? are very commonly heard in French, for example: c’est quoi le problème?, “what’s the problem?” and c’est quoi la différence?, “what’s the difference?”

OffQc likes you, fait que like OffQc back on Facebook!

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Here are 7 random expressions in French that I overheard in Montréal this week and made a mental note of.

1. Tu me niaises-tu?
(Are you kidding me?)

When the métro train I was on pulled into the station, it came to a stop, and then the lights and motor when off completely. A young woman near me, standing with her friend, exclaimed: tu me niaises-tu? She was frustrated that a long delay seemed imminent. An older woman behind me yelled out sarcastically: super!

2. Allô? Allô? Ça coupe!
(Hello? Hello? You’re cutting in and out!)

A man talking on his mobile phone couldn’t hear what the person on the other end was saying. He kept saying allô? allô? and then ça coupe! The connection was obviously bad.

3. Y mouille un p’tit peu.
(It’s spitting out.)

The verb mouiller is often used in the same way as pleuvoir in Québec. Someone who says il mouille is saying the same thing as il pleut. The man who said this also said un p’tit peu. It was only spitting out when he said it.

4. Voulez-vous la facture?
(Do you want the receipt?)

When you order food at the cash, like in a food court, the cashier may ask if you want the receipt. You’ll hear a lot of employees working at the cash refer to the receipt as la facture.

5. En régulier?
(By regular post?)

I took an envelope to the post office. The man working at the cash asked if I wanted to send it by regular post: en régulier? If you wanted to send an envelope by regular post, you could say: en régulier, s’il vous plaît.

6. On va checker ça.
(We’ll check it out. We’ll take a look.)

A guy speaking into his mobile phone said this to the person on the other end. If you heard someone say check-moi ça! or even just check!, it means “check it out!” or “take a look at that!”

7. C’est moins dispendieux.
(It’s less expensive.)

An employee in Pharmaprix was showing a product to a customer. She told her that product was less expensive, moins dispendieux, than another similiar product. This means exactly the same thing as moins cher, which is of course also said in Québec. The word dispendieux looks big and fancy and formal, but it’s not. It really does just mean the same thing as cher in Québec.

And an image…

In entry #631, you read about how the Québécois use the word vidanges in the sense of garbage. In the comments, roxannabanana asked if this word is always used in the plural.

In the sense of garbage, yes, vidanges is used in the plural. You may come across the singular form when vidange is used to refer to an oil change in a vehicle, however.

In the image, taken at a garage, we read: vidange d’huile (oil change) above the door on the left. This usage in the sense of oil change is known throughout the French-speaking world, but the plural usage in the sense of garbage is québécois.

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