Posts Tagged ‘t euphonique’

Check out this movie title:

Guibord s’en va-t-en guerre

The expression used here is s’en aller en guerre, to go to war. Il s’en va means he goes, he’s going.

Why is there a t in there between va and en? How come it’s not Guibord s’en va en guerre instead here?

That t in the title is called un t euphonique; it’s there to provide a buffer between the vowel sound of va and that of en. In fact, you’re already familiar with this concept: it occurs in a-t-il…?, pense-t-elle, etc. Instead of a il…?, which is hard to say, a t gets inserted, for example: a-t-il vraiment dit ça?, and not a il vraiment dit ça?

A while ago, you saw how t’es un (you’re a) might get pronounced as t’es-t-un. That’s the t euphonique again. T’es-t-un chien. You’re a dog.

The funny thing about the t euphonique, though, is that sometimes it’s considered entirely correct and required (like in a-t-il…?), but other times it’s not, like in t’es-t-un. In t’es-t-un, the t euphonique is informal, but some people might consider it outright incorrect.

The movie title Guibord s’en va-t-en guerre is inspired by a song called Marlbrough s’en va-t-en guerre, which also uses the t euphonique.

You’ve seen before how the expression va-t’en! means go away! Don’t confuse the t in va-t’en! for the t in Guibord s’en va-t-en guerre. This t isn’t performing the same role each time.

s’en aller
il s’en va
Guibord s’en va en guerre
Guibord s’en va-t-en guerre
The underlined t here is the t euphonique, acting as a buffer between vowels.

s’en aller
tu t’en vas
The underlined t’ here comes from the reflexive verb s’en aller in its second-person singular imperative form. This explains why we write va-t’en!, and not va-t-en!

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In entry #595, I posted a video where comedian Jean-François Mercier pokes fun at smokers by professing his love for his anti-nicotine attack dog Roxie.

Let’s look at two parts of that video, where Mercier uses language you might find difficult. I’ve reposted the video below for convenience, but you can return to the original entry for the transcription and translation into English.

1. Mercier says:
[…] tu comprends pas pourquoi qu’y’a des gens qui fument.

This means: tu ne comprends pas pourquoi il y a des gens qui fument.

Instead of il y a, Mercier pronounces this informally as y’a. This occurs very frequently in spoken French.

He also stuck in que after pourquoi. You don’t need to adopt this yourself, just recognise that sometimes you’ll hear it.

He also left out ne in his sentence, using only pas to negate. This happens very frequently in spoken French.

2. Mercier says:
[…] à cause que t’es-t-un chien.

This means: parce que tu es un chien.

À cause que means the same thing as parce que. The use of à cause que has fallen out of use elsewhere in the francophonie but you can still hear it in spoken French in Québec. It’s not used in formal language. On the other hand, parce que can be heard at all levels of language, and Mercier does in fact also say parce que in the video.

Rather than tu es, Mercier says t’es. This occurs very frequently in spoken French. You’ll also hear him say t’aurais instead of tu aurais, t’étais instead of tu étais, and t’as instead of tu as.

Mercier also slipped in a -t- liaison between es and un (t’es-t-un chien). You don’t need to adopt this feature, just recognise it.

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Roxie, je le sais que tu comprends pas pourquoi qu’y’a (qu’il y a) des gens qui fument. J’ai jamais fumé, pis t’as jamais fumé non plus. Pis ça tombe bien parce que t’aurais pas été capable de botcher, à cause que t’es[-t-]un chien.

Tu le sais, ma belle petite Roxie, la cigarette, c’est dangereux même pour toi. C’est pour ça que je t’ai dressée à attaquer les fumeurs. Je me rappelle le premier fumeur que t’as attaqué.

C’était tellement drôle. Je me souviens, toi t’étais partie à courir vite, vite, vite. Pis lui, ben, il pouvait pas courir à cause que c’est un fumeur. Pis pendant que t’étais en train de planter tes crocs dans sa main toute jaunie, moi, j’étais fier de toi.

Je veux que tu mordes dans la vie, même si pour ça, Roxie, il faut que tu mordes dans des gens qui sentent la vieille chambre d’hôtel. Je t’aime, Roxie.

Un gars le soir est fier de ne pas s’associer au message culpabilisant pour un avenir sans fumée.

Un gars le soir, tous les jours de la semaine, 22 h.

In English:

Roxie, I know you don’t understand why there are people who smoke. I’ve never smoked, and you’ve never smoked either. Which is a good thing because you’d have never been able to put your cigarette out, ‘cos you’re a dog.

You know, my sweet little Roxie, smoking is dangerous, even for you. That’s why I trained you to attack smokers. I remember the first smoker you attacked.

It was so funny. I remember you took off running fast, fast, fast. And he, well, he couldn’t run ‘cos he’s a smoker. And while you were busy digging your fangs into his yellow-stained hand, me, I was proud of you.

I want you to take a bite out of life, Roxie, even if it means that you have to bite people who smell like old hotel rooms. I love you, Roxie.

Un gars le soir is proud to not be associated with this guilt-inducing message for a smoke-free future.

Un gars le soir, every weekday, 22 h.

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