Posts Tagged ‘STM’

When paying for an item in a store in Montréal, I asked the cashier if they accepted my credit card. He said yes, and that they accepted all credit cards. Then he said:

On est équipés pour veiller tard!

What did he mean by that?

Let’s look first at what this means literally before trying to understand what he really meant.

The verb veiller means to stay up (i.e., to not sleep). For example, j’ai veillé jusqu’à minuit means I stayed up until midnight. Veiller tard means to stay up late. Literally, then, équipé pour veiller tard means equipped to stay up late.

In its most literal sense, the expression équipée pour veiller tard refers to a woman with large breasts, so much so that she’s “equipped to stay up late” (it’s sexual innuendo; you’ll be kept “busy” in bed until the early hours with that person). Elle est équipée pour veiller tard!

More broadly, you can also hear the expression used in reference to anybody who’s sexually endowed or seductive. This TVA article describes a frog as being une grenouille équipée pour veiller tard because of what appears to be its large penis. The expression also exists in the form amanché pour veiller tard, where amanché means fitted out, decked out, etc.

This expression doesn’t stop there, though. It’s also used in a broader, non-sexual sense of fully equipped — and that’s what the cashier meant when he used this expression. Because they accept all credit cards, they’re “fully equipped.” On est équipés pour veiller tard! (Even though the sense is non-seuxal here, the original meaning of the expression still comes to mind, and so its use is comical.)

I even managed to spot a form of this expression used on a sign in a Montréal bus shelter. The sign reads:

S’équiper pour veiller tard

What’s being advertised here is a bus pass called soirée illimitée, which allows for unlimited use the duration of one night (from 18h to 5h). This time, there’s word play going on here: we can understand s’équiper pour veiller tard as meaning equip yourself to stay up late, because with this pass you really will be equipped to veiller tard.

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zervice? oufert?

zervice? oufert?

The advert on the back of this Montréal bus says that parts and service is open until 11:30… well, sort of:

Zervice et pièces oufert jusqu’à 23 h 30

Can you guess why service and ouvert are spelled zervice and oufert?

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Métro Pie-IX (Montréal)

Métro Pie-IX (Montréal)

Here are a few more colloquial usages pulled from comments on Facebook. The first two are more typical of younger to middle-aged speakers.

1. C’est weird.

That’s weird.

  • Weird follows English pronunciation.

2. Pis là, je me suis dit whatever!

And then I thought ‘whatever’!

  • Pis là sounds like pi là. Pis is an informal contraction of puis. Pis means and here, and means then.
  • Je me suis can contract informally to j’me su’.
  • Dit sounds like dzi. When d appears before the i sound, it sounds like dz.

3. Je trouve ça vraiment tannant.

I think that’s really annoying.

  • Je trouve can contract informally to j’trouve, which sounds like ch’trouve.

By the way, I heard some newcomers to the country pronounce métro Pie-IX (see the image above) incorrectly as pi-iks. In fact, the correct pronunciation is pi-neuf, pi-9. It’s named after le pape Pie-IX.

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I came across an ad in a Montréal métro station for a gym offering cardio, musculation and cours en groupe.

Part of the ad reads:

Soyez lousse dans vos jeans et dans votre budget!
Literally: Be “loose” in your jeans and in your budget!

Click on the thumbnail to see a larger version.

The idea is that if you become a member of this gym, both your jeans and your budget will finally fit.

But what about the word lousse?

Lousse derives from the English word “loose.” It’s a colloquial usage that you’ll sometimes hear in regular, everyday conversations.

In fact, maybe you’ve already heard the word lousse before in the colloquial expression se lâcher lousse (to have a great time, to let loose, s’éclater, etc.).

On s’est lâchés lousses à Québec!
We really let loose in Québec City! We had an amazing time! We went all out!

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Click on image for full size

The STM has posted new rules in the métro in an attempt to get us barbarians to behave like civilised human beings when using public transport.

Some rules tell us what to do (green), whereas others tell us what not to do (red). It’s like being in school again!

I found the rules that I saw in the métro posted on the STM website in a section called Bien voyager ensemble.

I’ve put all the rules together in a single image that you can use to learn vocab and expressions in French. Under each rule there’s a short explanation from the STM on why they’ve included it.

Click on the image to see it in full size.

Descendre par la porte arrière
Use the back door to get off

Laisser sortir avant d’entrer
Let others get off before boarding

Sortir avec son journal
Take your newspaper with you

Avoir son titre en main
Have your fare ready

Céder son siège
Give up your seat

Bien tenir son cellulaire
Hold on to your cell phone

Appeler pour de l’assistance
Call for assistance

Prendre ses aises
Make yourself comfortable

Imposer sa musique
Force your music on others

Prendre toute la place
Take up too much space

Retarder tous les autres
Hold everybody else up

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Agis comme un grand garçon!

When a mother boarded the métro in Montréal yesterday with her two boys, I got to listen in as she scolded her youngest boy for his unruly behaviour.

First, the boy climbed up onto an empty seat so that he could sit down. But he didn’t pay attention to where he put his legs, so his mother told him sternly to be careful not to hit the people around him with his feet: tu fais attention de pas accrocher les gens!

Then the boy asked if his mother could take his mittens off for him, but she didn’t like the tone he used. So she told him yes, that she’d take the mittens off for him, but he had to ask nicely: oui, mais tu le demandes gentiment!

But as she pulled his mittens off, the boy starting screaming — despite the fact he had asked his mother to take them off for him. She told him to settle down: sois calme!, to stop throwing a tantrum: tu fais des crises, arrête!, and to act like a big boy: agis comme un grand garçon!

Miraculously, he did finally settle down and act like a big boy — but only after getting up to pick a new seat!

1. Tu fais attention de pas accrocher les gens!
Be careful not to hit people!

2. Oui, mais tu le demandes gentiment!
Fine, but you (must) ask for it nicely!

3. Sois calme!
Settle down! Stay calm!

4. Tu fais des crises, arrête!
You’re acting up, stop it!

5. Agis comme un grand garçon!
Act like a big boy!

Image: MSN Arabia

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The STM is Montréal’s public transportation provider (bus and métro).

In French, the name is feminine: la STM.

Here are 3 things for you to learn in French that I’ve heard said by ruffled STM employees recently.

1. Madame, avec le carrosse!

Madame, with the baby carriage!
(i.e., hey you, with the baby carriage!)

This was shouted angrily by an STM employee in the Montréal métro.

The employee was angered by something a lady pushing a baby carriage had done, so she came running out of her ticket booth and yelled this before the lady could walk off.

I don’t know what the lady had done wrong, but I noticed her baby carriage was empty. Maybe she forgot the bundle of joy at the turnstile or something.

2. Let’s go! Let’s go!

Let’s go! Let’s go!
(i.e., hurry the fuck up, people!)

As people boarded the bus at a busy métro station, this was said by an STM employee standing on the pavement beside the bus door.

This employee was encouraging people to get on the bus faster. There was a long queue of people waiting to get on, and some people were taking their sweet time boarding the bus (as usual).

Obviously this expression is English, but you’ll definitely hear it in French too.

3. Déplacez-vous vers l’arrière, s’il vous plaît!

Please move to the back of the bus!
(i.e., will you people stop blocking the door goddamnit!)

An exasperated driver had to yell this a few times when riders of the bus kept crowding the front portion of the bus. There was room at the back of the bus for more standing passengers.

Sometimes when you board a bus, you’ll have to push your way through a wall of stubborn people all huddled together near the front door.

P.S. My respect to STM employees. I’d get pretty exasperated too if I were one.

Image: Wikipedia

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