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Posts Tagged ‘tattoo’

This list of 13 English-derived words used in Québécois French is, of course, nowhere near exhaustive. Even if you choose not to use these words yourself, do learn to understand them to increase your understanding of spoken French.

Caveat lector:

The words below are informal usages in Québec. If you’re required to use standard language (e.g., on a French exam), avoid using these words unless you know what you’re doing. That said, these words are fine to use during informal conversations with francophone friends. For each word, I’ve provided an equivalent in standard Québécois French (SQF) for the times when you need or want to avoid using a colloquial, English-derived one.

1. TOUGH

Pronounced as though written toffe; can be used as an adjective or noun. C’est tough à faire. It’s tough to do. C’est tough à accepter. It’s tough to accept. As a noun, tough means tough guy. Lui, c’t’un tough. He’s a tough guy. (C’t’un is a contraction of c’est un. It sounds like the French word un preceded by st, as though it were st’un.) There’s also the verb tougher, which sounds like toffé. Tougher means to tough out, to put up with. J’ai toughé ça deux mois. I toughed it out for two months. I put up with it for two months. SQF: dur (instead of tough), un dur (instead of un tough) and supporter or endurer (instead of tougher).

2. ROUGH

Rhymes with tough; in other words, it sounds like roffe. J’ai eu une adolescence pas mal rough. I had a pretty rough adolescence. (The part that means pretty here is pas mal. Say these two words together; they form a set expression.) SQF: dur.

3. TOUNE

Feminine noun meaning song, tune. ‘Est tellement bonne, c’te toune-là. That’s such a good song. (‘Est is a contraction of elle est; it sounds like è. C’te is a contraction of cette; it sounds like the French word te with an s sound at the beginning of it, as though it were s’te.) SQF: une chanson.

4. CUTE

Adjective pronounced as though it were spelled kioute. C’est tellement cute! That’s so cute! Y’est tellement cute, ton chien. Your dog’s so cute. (Y’est is a contraction of il est; it sounds like yé.) SQF: mignon.

5. FULL

Adverb meaning very, so. Pronounced like the French word foule. C’est full cute! That’s so cute! C’est full malade! That’s so amazing! The use of full is more typical of younger speakers. SQF: tellement.

6. WEIRD

Adjective pronounced as in English and meaning the same thing. C’t’assez weird, ton affaire. What happened (is happening) to you is pretty weird. Your situation is pretty weird. That’s pretty weird what’s going on (for you). (C’t’assez is a contraction of c’est assez. It sounds like assez preceded by st, as though it were stacé.) SQF: bizarre.

7. GANG

Feminine noun pronounced as in English; used to refer to a group of friends, co-workers. Amène ta gang! Bring your friends along! J’aime ça, sortir en gang. I like going out with friends. Aller souper avec la gang du bureau. To go out for supper with my friends from work. SQF: (mes, tes…) amis, (mes, tes…) collègues.

8. GAME

Pronounced as in English; can be used as an adjective or feminine noun. As a feminine noun, it means the same thing as match, which also happens to be from English. Grosse game à soir! Big game on tonight! As an adjective, it means willing. Es-tu game? You game? You up for it? SQF: un match, une partie (instead of une game); être d’accord (instead of être game).

9. FUN

Masculine noun pronounced as though written fonne. C’est l’fun! This is fun! It’s fun! C’t’un gars l’fun. C’t’une fille l’fun. He’s a fun guy. She’s a fun girl. When used adjectively, fun is preceded by le, which contracts to l’. (C’t’un and c’t’une are contractions of c’est un and c’est une. They sound like the French words un and une preceded by st, as though they were st’un and st’une. Gars rhymes with the French words pas, cas, bas. Don’t pronounce the rs.) On va avoir du fun! We’re gonna have fun! SQF: amusant (as an adjective); s’amuser or avoir du plaisir (instead of avoir du fun).

10. JOB

Feminine noun used literally in the sense of job and also in certain colloquial expressions. Une job d’été. A summer job. J’ai perdu ma job. I lost my job. Ça va faire la job! That’ll do the job! That’ll do the trick! SQF: un emploi, un travail; ça fera l’affaire (instead of ça va faire la job).

11. NAPKIN

A feminine noun meaning napkin, serviette. Amène des napkins! Bring some napkins! Napkin is pronounced as in English, but shift the stress to the final syllable instead. In the plural napkins, the final s isn’t pronounced. SQF: une serviette.

12. TATTOO

Masculine noun pronounced as though written tatou. J’ai un tattoo su’l’mollet. I’ve got a tattoo on my calf. (Su’l’ is a contraction of sur le. It’s pronounced exactly as written, as sul.) SQF: un tatouage.

13. SHIFT

Masculine noun, pronounced as though spelled chiff. It sounds much like the way an anglophone would say shiff, not sheef. Shift de jour, shift de soir, shift de nuit, day shift, evening shift, night shift. J’travaille su’l’shift de soir. I work on the evening shift. (Su’l’ is a contraction of sur le. It’s pronounced exactly as written, as sul.) Shift is sometimes analysed by francophones as being the French word chiffre. This is because shift and chiffre are both pronounced as chiff, at least in colloquial language. This means that, in informal writing written off the cuff (e.g. a text message), you might see chiffre de jour, chiffre de soir, chiffre de nuit, but it’s still pronounced chiff. SQF: un quart (quart de jour, quart de soir, quart de nuit).

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The OffQc guide 1000 Québécois French will help you to increase your vocabulary and knowledge of essential, everyday expressions. It’s a condensed version of the first 1000 posts on OffQc; you can use it to become acquainted with the most important Québécois French vocabulary and expressions for the first time, or to review a large amount of material in less time.

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This bin full of ice in front of a dépanneur (corner shop) in Montréal asks us:

As-tu ta glace?
Have you got your ice?

Yes, we’ve got enough ice in Montréal these days, thank you very much!

In addition to asking questions with as-tu, you’ll also hear t’as-tu used spontaneously in conversations.

The title of this La Presse article asks us:

T’as-tu ton tattoo?
Have you got your tattoo?,
but feels more like: Ya got your tattoo?

(Tattoo, borrowed from English, is pronounced tatou. It means the same thing as tatouage and is used informally in conversations.)

T’as is a contraction of tu as. When tu is placed after it, we get a yes-no question.

T’as / ton tattoo.
You’ve got / your tattoo.

T’as-tu / ton tattoo?
You’ve got-(yes or no) / your tattoo?

Asking yes-no questions with tu is often misunderstood. Sometimes people think that the second-person singular tu is being stuck in all over the place! But that’s not what’s happening. In t’as-tu ton tattoo?, the second-person singular tu appears just once — it’s the t’. Tu on the other hand signals that we’re being asked a yes-no question here.

Back to the wording on the bin…

How come it says as-tu on the bin and not t’as-tu?

The question as-tu ta glace? could also be asked informally as t’as-tu ta glace?, but remember that the t’as-tu form is informal. We can liken asking t’as-tu ta glace? to something informal in English like “ya got your ice?” Probably too informal for the text on this bin.

You will on occasion see the yes-no tu used in advertising, but when it occurs, the writers are deliberately seeking an informal style.

By the way, if you’re new to OffQc, be sure to check out the transcribed videos in French in the Listen section.

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Un gros bec sur le front

gros bec sur le front

Just when you thought you’d already see it all, along come 7 new words used in Québec appearing on OffQc for the very first time! (Or at least I think it’s the first time; even I can’t keep track of what’s on OffQc anymore.)

The French in this entry comes from Ah shit, j’ai pogné le cancer (tome 1), written by Maude Schiltz. If you’re reading this, Maude, I think I’m gonna have to rename this blog Ah shit, je parle québécois! Thanks for the great examples, as always.

Here are the 7 words, which we’ll look at in more detail below:

1. boules, boobs
2. fitter, to fit
3. chnoute, shit
4. down, down (duh!)
5. booker, to book
6. raqué, worn out, sore
7. bec, kiss

In her book, Maude lists the leading causes of breast cancer, like heredity, being overweight, smoking, stress, alcohol, etc. She explains that she doesn’t fit the typical profile (most of the causes don’t apply to her), but she developed breast cancer nonetheless. She says: Je ne fitte pas dans les statistiques. La morale dans tout ça? Si vous ne fittez pas non plus, checkez-vous les boules pareil. I don’t fit the statistics. Moral of the story? If you don’t fit the statistics either, check your boobs anyway.

Boules is a feminine word. The English word “tits” seems too vulgar a translation for boules (or at least here, it does), and “breasts” doesn’t convey the informality of the word; “boobs” seems like the best way to render boules in English.

Maude reminds us of the importance of eating well, not smoking, and avoiding the sun and products like cheap perfumes that are pleins de parabènes en particulier et de chnoute en général, full of parabens in particular and crap in general. If you heard someone say c’est de la chnoute when talking about a product, the person is saying that it’s crap, shitty, a piece of junk, etc.

At one point, Maude tells us that her chum was having a hard time accepting her cancer and that he was feeling down. She says: Chrystian a pogné le creux de la vague. Chrystian’s feeling really down. It’s a longer, more descriptive way of saying être down, which Maude also uses in her book. We can probably liken the French expression pogner le creux de la vague to the English expression “to be down in the dumps.”

Maude explains that she and her chum never feel down at the same time though, which is a good thing: La bonne chose, c’est qu’on n’est jamais down en même temps, alors il y en a toujours un pour essayer de remonter l’autre, tout n’est pas perdu. The good thing is that we’re never down at the same time, so there’s always one of us to help pick the other back up; all’s not lost. A similar expression is pogner un down, for example: Moi, chui méga frue et j’ai pogné un down. I’m frustrated big time and I’m down in the dumps. Fru and frue are informal shortforms of frustré, frustrée.

When Maude had to cancel her appointment with her tattoo artist for health reasons, she was very saddended by it. She tells the tattooist to give her appointment to someone else: J’ai eu beaucoup, mais beaucoup de peine en disant au tatoueur de laisser tomber et de booker quelqu’un d’autre à ma place. I was very, and I mean very upset when I told the tattooist to forget it and book someone else instead. Booker is pronounced bouker.

Maude’s happy to learn later on though that her doctor says she can indeed get a tattoo done. She manages to land a last-minute appointment: Les tatoueurs de chez Imago m’ont fait une place à la dernière minute pour demain, eux qui sont bookés tellement d’avance. The tattooers at Imago, who are always booked so far in advance, booked me in at the last minute for tomorrow. Maude uses the verb booker yet again when she talks about how her schedule fills up quickly every day: Mon temps se booke vite. My time fills up fast.

You know how you feel after a strenuous workout? You can describe that worn-out and aching feeling as being raqué. In a different part of the book, Maude describes her state of health: Je suis raquée, ça me pique partout et j’ai encore mal à la gorge et à la peau. I’m sore all over, it’s prickling all over my body, and my throat and skin still hurt.

And finally, a word you might not know but will surely like to learn: un bec. A bec isn’t a juicy, sloppy wet kiss: that’s un french. A bec, for example, can be a little peck on the cheek (petit bec sur la joue) or a big kiss planted on someone’s forehead, like when Maude thanks her tattoo artist by saying: Hugues, gros bec sur le front : X! Hugues, big kiss on the forehead: X! The expression donner un bec à quelqu’un means “to give someone a kiss.”

Well, I said 7 words, but there’s actually a lot more than that here, isn’t there? Here’s the main stuff again, simplified in list form:

Je ne fitte pas dans les statistiques.
I don’t fit the statistics.

La morale dans tout ça?
Moral of the story?

Checkez-vous les boules pareil.
Check your boobs anyway.

plein de chnoute
full of shit, full of crap

C’est de la chnoute.
It’s crap. It’s a piece of junk.

Chrystian a pogné le creux de la vague.
Chrystian’s feeling really down; he’s down in the dumps.

On n’est jamais down en même temps.
We’re never down at the same time.

Moi, chui méga frue et j’ai pogné un down.
I’m frustrated big time and I’m down in the dumps.

booker quelqu’un d’autre à ma place
to book someone else in my spot

Ils sont bookés tellement d’avance.
They’re booked so far in advance.

Mon temps se booke vite.
My time fills up fast.

Je suis raqué.
I’m worn out, sore all over.

Gros bec sur le front!
Big kiss on the forehead!

un petit bec sur la joue
a little kiss on the cheek

donner un bec à quelqu’un
to give someone a kiss

_ _ _

French quotes written by Maude Schiltz in Ah shit, j’ai pogné le cancer (tome 1), Éditions de Mortagne, Boucherville (Québec), 2013.

Page references: boules 200; fitter 200; chnoute 204; down 190; booker 54, 55, 63; raqué 73; bec 62.

You can find all the entries on OffQc related to Maude’s book Ah shit, j’ai pogné le cancer here.

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Des bretelles tatouées sur le corps? Il doit VRAIMENT aimer ça se péter les bretelles…

In entry #731, we looked at one of the different meanings of the verb péter, which is… to fart.

As usual, Rabii Rammal provides us with an illustrative example:

J’ai pété sur une fille.
I farted on a girl.

I assume you’d like to know a bit more than just how to talk about farting on people in French, so let’s look at some other uses of the verb péter.

In Québec, péter is pronounced pèter. The first vowel sounds like è rather than é. This is true for all the tenses of the verb péter.

In Québec, if someone farts “higher than the hole,” it’s because he’s acting like a pretentious ass! It’s a rude expression in French: péter plus haut que le trou. The French (in France) have a similar expression: péter plus haut que son cul, which literally means to fart higher than one’s ass.

When things burst, snap or explode, or if you break something, you can use the verb péter.

La bombe a pété. / La corde a pété.
The bomb exploded. / The rope snapped.

J’ai pété mes lunettes.
I smashed my glasses.

J’ai pété la vitre de l’auto.
I smashed the car window.

If it’s your temper that snapped, you could say…

J’ai pété une coche!
I went ballistic! I lost it!

Are you in really good health? Then…

Tu pètes de santé!
You’re bursting with health!

If you fart fire, it’s not because of something spicy you ate — it’s because you’re full of energy:

Je pète le feu!
I’m full of energy!
I’m in top shape!

In Québec, someone who brags will “snap his suspenders.”

se péter les bretelles
to brag, to boast
(literally: to snap one’s suspenders/braces)

Y’a pas de quoi se péter les bretelles!
There’s no reason to brag!
That’s nothing to brag about!

A graphic designer quoted on canoe.ca thinks Montrealers are full of themselves: À Montréal, on se pète toujours les bretelles en croyant qu’on est les meilleurs. (In Montréal, people always brag thinking they’re the best.)

There’s even a noun form: le pétage de bretelles.

A reader of the Journal de Montréal described the Olympics as an étalage superficiel et dégoûtant de pétage de bretelles (a superficial and disgusting display of boasting).

Or, if you prefer, you can speak of le pétage de broue, which means the same thing. In Québec, la broue is the foamy head that forms on beer. If you’re farting that stuff (tu pètes de la broue), then you’re bragging in Québec!

Arrête donc de péter de la broue!
(sounds like: arrête don de pèter d’la broue)
Will you stop bragging!

That’s a lot of vocab, so here it all is again in list form. The québécois expressions are followed by Québec.

1. péter sur une fille (to fart on a girl)
2. péter plus haut que le trou (to be a pretentious ass) Québec
3. une bombe qui pète (a bomb that explodes)
4. une corde qui pète (a rope that snaps)
5. péter ses lunettes (to smash one’s glasses)
6. péter une vitre (to smash a window)
7. péter une coche (to go ballistic) Québec
8. péter de santé (to be in perfect health)
9. péter le feu (to be full of energy)
10. se péter les bretelles (to brag) Québec
11. péter de la broue (to brag) Québec
12. le pétage de bretelles (bragging) Québec
13. le pétage de broue (bragging) Québec

Image credit: Evilox

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At Dollarama, you’ll find all kinds of crap you never knew you needed.

What you won’t find though are lessons in Quebec French. For that, you need OffQc.

Let’s go on a Dollarama field trip.

Birthday cards for great-grandsons…

Bonne fête, cher arrière-petit-fils!

In Québec, a birthday is called une fête. You can wish somebody a happy birthday by saying bonne fête.

It’s your birthday today? You can say c’est ma fête aujourd’hui.

Temporary Habs tattoos…

The packaging in the image uses the word tatouage for tattoo, but you’ll very often hear a tattoo called un tatou in Québec.

The word tatouage is the standard one for tattoo in French, which is why the package says tatouage and not tatou.

Tatou is heard at an informally spoken level of language.

$100 bill serviettes…

The official word for dollar is un dollar, but you’ll also hear une piasse during conversations. Cent piasses means the same thing as cent dollars, but it’s an informal use.

Speaking of money, Canada recently eliminated the penny. No more sou noir… A quarter (25 cents) is called un vingt-cinq sous in Québec.

Canadian money erasers…

The package in the image uses the term une gomme à effacer, but you’ll also hear an eraser referred to as une efface in Québec. You probably won’t see une efface on packaging though.

Miniature hockey sticks…

A hockey stick is called un bâton de hockey in Québec, or just un bâton when the context is clear.

Bâton is written with the accented â, which you’ll remember sounds something like “aww.”

The puck is called la rondelle in Québec, but sometimes also la puck (la poque).

At métro station Berri-UQÀM in Montréal, maybe you’ve noticed people sitting on a black, circular bench in the shape of a puck, near the turnstiles. That spot is known by many as la puck. It’s a popular meeting spot.

And Habs tissues…

For when the team makes you cry?

In Québec, you’ll hear “to cry” said two ways: pleurer and brailler (pronounced brâiller). The verb brailler can also mean “to whine.”

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