Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘spontaneous’

Casa d’Italia à Montréal (métro Jean-Talon)

I’ve been keeping my ears open for you! Here are 10 new examples of overheard French.

All 10 are spontaneous examples that I caught someone say while out and about in Montréal.

1. Arrête de niaiser!

Stop kidding around!
Stop messing with me!

Two young women in their 20s were walking and talking in the street.

One of the women then stopped the other. She exclaimed arrête de niaiser because she was so taken aback by whatever her friend had said.

2. Je prendrais…

I’ll take…
Can I get…?

A lady ordered food at the cash of a restaurant by saying je prendrais…

We’ve also seen the expression je vais prendre… on OffQc, as well as just stating what you want followed by s’il vous plaît.

Je prendrais un café, s’il vous plaît.
Je vais prendre un café, s’il vous plaît.
Un café, s’il vous plaît.

3. T’as quel âge?

How old are you?

Two young teenagers were talking to each other. This is how one of them asked the other his age.

4. Bonne fin de journée!

Enjoy the rest of your day!

An elderly lady said this to a group of friends as she left them. It was three o’clock in the afternoon. Cashiers in stores also say this a lot to customers.

The word de isn’t stressed. Try saying it like this: bonne finde journée, where finde sounds like a one-syllable word.

5. Finalement j’ai rien.

There’s nothing wrong me after all.
Turns out I’m fine.

A girl answered her mobile phone. I think it was her grandmother calling. The girl explained that she had just left hospital and that there was nothing wrong with her after all.

J’ai rien is an informal way of saying je n’ai rien.

6. Merci, t’es fine.

Thanks, you’re so kind (nice, sweet).

The same girl from number 5 said this on the phone.

Fine is the feminine form. Fin is the masculine. Fine rhymes with the French word mine. Fin rhymes with the French word main.

Merci, t’es fine is said to a female. For a male, you’d say: merci, t’es fin.

The adjectives gentil and gentille are used in Québec too, of course.

The masculine gentil sounds like jen-tsi. In the feminine, the tille part of gentille rhymes with fille. You’ll remember that the letter t in both gentil and gentille is pronounced ts.

That’s because the letter t is pronounced ts before the French i sound. The letter t is also pronounced ts before the French u sound. This is what’s known as the tsitsu on OffQc. For example, partir is pronounced par-tsir in Québec, and tuque is pronounced tsuk.

You can also use c’est gentil to thank someone, male or female:

Merci, c’est gentil.
Thanks, that’s kind (of you).

7. Fais pas comme si tu m’avais pas vue!

Don’t pretend you didn’t see me!

A girl said this to a guy as he walked by. She jokingly accused him of pretending that he hadn’t seen her to avoid saying hello to her.

If a guy had said this, it would be written like this: fais pas comme si tu m’avais pas vu!

Fais pas! is an informal way of saying ne fais pas!

8. Tu m’entends-tu?

Can you hear me?

A girl in her 20s said this while speaking on the phone. The person she was speaking to couldn’t hear her very well.

The second tu in her question is an informal yes-no question word. The first tu means “you,” but the second one doesn’t. To learn more about this, you can download a mini-guide about yes-no questions using tu.

When pronounced, her question sounded like: tsu m’entends-tsu? That’s the tsitsu again! (See number 6.)

9. Dans une tasse ou dans un carton?

In a mug or in a paper cup?

I stopped in a café that will serve their coffee in both mugs and paper cups. A lady in line ahead of me ordered a coffee. The cashier asked if she wanted the coffee in a mug (to drink the coffee there) or in a paper cup (to go). Dans une tasse ou dans un carton?

10. Oui, toi?

Fine, and you?

When you ask somebody ça va? (how are you?), the response will often be a simple oui, toi?

Answering oui to ça va? is the equivalent of saying “fine” to the question “how are you?” You can add in toi? to ask about the other person and sound less curt. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from giving a more enthusiastic response than just oui!

Read Full Post »

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!

Read Full Post »

MontréalThese 7 examples really are “street French” because I overheard someone say each one of them in the street!

1. Pardon, ‘scusez!

While waiting in line to get on an STM bus, an elderly woman behind me burped. It caught her off-guard, and she apologised to the people around her by saying pardon, ‘scusez!

‘Scusez is a shortened form of excusez. Instead of saying just pardon or just excusez, she said both. I guess she was particularly embarrassed.

2. J’viens d’avoir un flash.

A woman on her Vespa was parked along the side of a street. She was talking into her mobile phone and said j’viens d’avoir un flash, “I just had an idea” or “I just thought of something.”

I didn’t catch much else, but I think she was making plans to meet up with the friend she was talking to.

3. Un peu d’change, monsieur?

A homeless man in the street asked me for spare change by saying un peu d’change, monsieur? You’ll often hear change referred to as change in Québec.

On the other hand, the word monnaie is used throughout the French-speaking world, including Québec, in the sense of spare change.

I’ve also been asked un peu d’monnaie, monsieur? in the street in Montréal.

4. Fouille-moi, là.

The woman who said this was explaining to someone else that a package had been delivered to the wrong address. When she was asked how it happened, she used the expression fouille-moi, “beats me” or “who knows.”

Fouiller means “to search.” The idea behind this expression is “search me (for the answer, but you’re not gonna find it!).”

If you don’t know how to pronounce fouille, it sounds something like the English “phooey” (as in “oh phooey!”). If you were to pronounce this expression as “phooey-moi,” you’re pretty close to the way it sounds.

She also stuck in a at the end of her expression. Maybe you’ll remember that is added to end of all kinds of statements in Québec during conversations.

5. Y’a-tu quelqu’un qui était là?

A woman said this while speaking into her mobile. It means: “Was anybody there?” or “Is there someone who was there?” It’s not as difficult to understand as you may think.

Il y a is often pronounced y’a during conversations. The opposite, il n’y a pas, is often said as y’a pas. So, now you know that y’a-tu quelqu’un qui était là? means il y a-tu quelqu’un qui était là? But what about that tu in there?

That tu is a yes-no question word used during informal speech. To understand it, we can render it as oui ou non:

Il y a (oui ou non) quelqu’un qui était là?

6. Let’s go, let’s go!

A man was leading a group of school kids in the street. When they started to scatter about a bit, he urged them to hurry up and come all together again as a group. He called out: let’s go, let’s go!

This expression obviously comes from English, but everybody in Québec understands it. In fact, it’s used often enough that I think we can just call it a French expression used in Québec!

7. OK les amis, suivez-moi!

That same group of school kids was also led by a woman accompanying the man who said the expression above. When she wanted the kids to follow her in the street, she said: OK les amis, suivez-moi!, “OK friends, follow me!”

When you want to call out to your friends in French, you say les amis!, with the les included in it. For example, you can call out to a group of your friends by saying: hey, les amis!

Read Full Post »