Posts Tagged ‘STM’

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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1. A reader of OffQc tells me that he overheard someone say what sounded like jézaime. He was happy when he realised that he had understood what this meant: je les aime. It was pronounced informally as j’es aime (jé-zaime), where je les contracted to j’es.

2. I was reminded of the word cabaret the other day when the cashier at a restaurant counter asked if I wanted a tray for the food I had ordered. Voulez-vous un cabaret? Do you want a tray?

Nice tuque!

Nice tuque!

3. Learn these six words related to winter clothing: un gant (glove), une mitaine (mitten), un manteau (coat), une tuque (tuque, winter hat), un foulard (scarf), une botte (boot), and how to say below-zero temperatures: -26, il fait moins vingt-six.

4. A group of kids opened a box of Timbits. Before they started attacking the box, one of the kids exclaimed: un chaque! un chaque!, one each! one each!

5. A friend said y s’en vient, he’s coming, he’s on his way. Y is an informal pronunciation of il. The verb here is s’en venir. Similarly, je m’en viens, I’m coming, I’m on my way. Viens-t’en! Come!

6. A man wanted to get past me on the metro because he was getting off at the next station. He used the verb débarquer to describe the action of getting off the train. This verb can also be used to describe getting off a bus. Pie-IX is a metro station in Montréal. It’s pronounced pi-neuf. If you got off at Pie-IX, you could say j’ai débarqué à Pie-IX.

Image from Kena & Brutus

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Passer la nuit sur la corde à lingeIf you share the bed with someone who snores, you know all about having rough nights and getting little sleep. (Get a good pair of ear plugs.)

In French, when you have a rough night, you could say that you’ve spent the night on the clothesline!

I spotted this ad in the métro earlier today. Sorry, the image is a little blurry. It was a bumpy train ride.

The ad asks: Est-ce que vos matins ressemblent à ça? Is this what your mornings look like?

In the image, we see a grumpy guy hanging on a clothesline with his happy-face cup of coffee.

Around him, we read solutions to sleepless nights offered by the business, like good mattresses and pillows. (They forgot the ear plugs.)

But why is the guy hanging on a clothesline? Because he’s had a sleepless night: Il a passé la nuit sur la corde à linge!

passer la nuit sur la corde à linge
to have a rough night, a sleepless night
(literally: to spend the night on the clothesline)

Remember: passer is pronounced pâsser in Québec.

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Y’a du monde en crisse

In a department store, I witnessed a guy in his 30s take a look at the long line-up at the cash and then say to his girlfriend:

Y’a du monde en crisse.
There’s a lot of fucking people.

y’a du monde
= il y a du monde
= there’s a lot of people

The expression en crisse makes it stronger. Using this expression is swearing.

The pronunciation of crisse is pretty close to the way the English name “Chris” sounds with a short i, but pronounced with a French r.

Crisse comes from the name Christ. That’s why it’s considered a swear word, un sacre.


On the métro, a lady got angry when a bunch of little kids got on the train and made noise.

She called them p’tits crisses, or “little shits.”

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