You probably know that all four of these French verbs can be used in the sense of to live, to reside: habiter, vivre, résider, demeurer.
There’s a fifth verb that can be used, however. It’s a colloquial usage.
During a conversation, a woman said in French an equivalent of I don’t live far. She didn’t use any of the four verbs listed above. She used instead the fifth, colloquial one.
Here’s what she said:
J’reste pas loin.
I don’t live far.
(or: I live nearby.)
The verb rester can be used in the same sense as the other four above.
Note also that she didn’t say je ne reste pas loin; she said j’reste pas loin. The ne was omitted, and the vowel sound of je dropped.
Additionally, you’ll notice that when reste is pronounced spontaneously, it sounds as though it were spelled resse. This is because the final st consonant cluster gets simplified into just an s sound.
The OffQc book C’est what? will help you get your bearings in the colloquial variety of French spoken in Québec and pave the way for further independent study. You can buy and download it here.
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A woman from Montréal said this yesterday about another woman:
Elle reste dans le coin.
She lives in the area.
There are a few things from this short sentence that I’d like to point out to you so that you’ll recognise what’s being said if you hear something similar.
Let’s work backwards in the sentence starting from the end: dans le coin (in the area). When dans and le come together, it often gets reduced to dans l’ in speech, even when the next word begins with a consonant. It sounds like danle, as if it were just one word, without pronouncing the e at the end.
Elle reste dans l’coin.
Next, the verb rester is frequently used in Québec in the sense of “to live [somewhere].” At an informal level of speech, the conjugated form reste is very likely to be pronounced resse.
Elle resse dans l’coin.
Finally, don’t be surprised to hear the subject elle pronounced as a. This is strictly an informal spoken usage. You don’t need to adopt it yourself, but you do need to be able to recognise it.
A resse dans l’coin.
And that’s exactly how the woman pronounced it.
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