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Here are 5 photos I found lurking on my phone waiting to be commented and put on OffQc! You can click on all the images for the large version.

1. Dans les allées, utilisez un panier

Literally, this means: in the aisles, use a cart, but what we’re meant to understand here is that, while shopping in the store, you shouldn’t place products in your reusable bags; you should place them in a shopping cart. This is to prevent theft.

une allée
aisle (in a shop)

un panier
shopping cart

2. Veuillez garder votre chien en laisse

I saw this sign on the front door of a pet shop. Une laisse is a leash, so management are telling us to keep dogs on a leash when in the shop.

être en laisse
to be on a leash

3. Partagez le plaisir en jouant au tic tac toe avec un ami

This photo is of the side of a box of timbits (small doughnut balls sold at Tim Hortons). The English on the other side of the box read: Share the fun and play tic tac toe with a friend.

A reader of OffQc asked a while back what tic tac toe was called in French, so I took a photo when I saw this.

jouer au tic tac toe
to play tic tac toe

4. Hot-dogs, tout garnis

Over on the right in smaller text are the words tout garnis. A hot-dog that’s tout garni has all the toppings on it.

Another word for hot-dog is roteux, which is an informal usage. Although the term chien-chaud exists (literal translation of hot dog), its use is rare nowadays.

I did manage to catch a photo of the old sign at Chien-chaud Victoire in Montréal before it was finally taken down several years ago.

un hot-dog
a hot dog

tout garni
the works

5. Au diable l’hiver…

This photo was taken in April, just after winter had ended. It’s the front window of a clothing shop, and the words mean to hell with winter, or literally to the devil (with) winter.

au diable l’hiver
to hell with winter

Remember this list of 50 words using the â sound but aren’t actually spelled with the accented â? We could add diable to it. That’s because the a in diable sounds somewhere between the English aw and ow, which is the sound made by â in Québécois French.

If you don’t what â sounds like, you’ll hear Martin Matte pronounce it in this video when he says j’me fâche and tasse-toi. You’ll hear this sound very frequently when listening to French spoken by the Québécois.

But that’s not all…
Diable has a few more things of note in the pronunciation department. One of them is that the d in this word sounds like dz. That’s because d is pronounced dz before the French i and u sounds. (If you say the English words lads, pads and fads aloud, you’ve just pronounced the dz sound. These words sound like ladz, padz and fadz.) This means mardi sounds like mardzi, dur sounds like dzur, and diable like dziâble.

Hold on, not finished yet…
The le ending, like in table or possible, is often not enunciated in informal language. That’s why table can be pronounced informally as tab’, possible as possib’, and diable as dziâb’.

Oh! Just one more thing…
You may hear diable pronounced as ’iâb’ (sounds like yâb), where, in addition to the dropping of the final le, the initial d (or the initial dz sound) also drops. You may hear this pronunciation, for example, in Québécois folk music or folk tales. A similar thing happens when bon Dieu is pronounced as bon ’ieu (sounds like bon yeu). There’s a song by Les Colocs called Bonyeu that you can look for. «Bonyeu, donne-moé une job, faut que j’fasse mes paiements…»

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