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Posts Tagged ‘toune’

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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Imagine you’re listening to a song (une chanson in French or, informally, une toune), and you want to tell your friend that it’s good.

Which one will you say?

C’est bon, or
C’est bonne.

Whether you’ve got the word une chanson or une toune in mind, the French word for song is feminine. So it must be c’est bonne, right?

Except… it’s not.

C’est bonne is never used in French. Never. Jamais. As in never-ever-ever with a cherry on top. None of these are ever used either: c’est chaude, c’est froide, c’est mauvaise, c’est grande, c’est petite, c’est belle. Nope!

After c’est, it’s always the unmarked (i.e., masculine) form that’s used: c’est chaud, c’est froid, c’est mauvais, c’est grand, c’est petit, c’est beau. Always. Even when referring to something whose name is a feminine noun in French.

If you’re talking about hot soup (soupe is feminine), you’ll say c’est chaud. If you’re talking about a little cup (tasse is feminine), you’ll say c’est petit. If you’re talking about cold water (eau is feminine), you’ll say c’est froid.

Look now at this example using the feminine toune:

C’est-tu bon, c’te toune-là?
Is that song good?
(literally, is it good, that song?)

C’te is a contraction of cette. It sounds like te with an s sound on the front of it.

As for c’est-tu, it means the same thing as est-ce que c’est. C’est-tu is heard very frequently in spoken language. The tu of c’est-tu only serves to turn c’est into a yes-no question, like est-ce que does. This tu doesn’t mean you. The unmarked form of the adjective is also used after c’est-tu. So you ask c’est-tu bon?, and never c’est-tu bonne?

The same applies to c’était, of course. You don’t say c’était bonne; you say c’était bon, even when referring to something whose name is a feminine noun in French.

Update:

As Cheyne mentioned in the comments, the reason the masculine form is used is because the adjective is agreeing with its subject, which is ce. (C’est is a contraction of ce est.)

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In French, someone asked who sings that song? But the question didn’t include the French word chanson, and it didn’t begin with qui.

Any idea how the question might’ve been asked?

Here’s what the speaker said:

C’est qui qui chante c’te toune-là?
Who sings that song?

C’est qui qui is often used to ask who questions. C’est qui qui a dit ça? Who said that? C’est qui qui a écrit ça? Who wrote that? Maybe we can compare this formulation to English’s who is it that (e.g., who is it that sings that song?).

C’te toune-là means that song, where toune (a feminine noun) means song, just like chanson does. C’te is a contraction of cette. To pronounce c’te, first say te. Now put an s sound on the front of it: s’te.

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Yesterday we looked at three uses of the French verb virer:

  • virer fou
  • virer au vert
  • virer à droite

Tu dois faire quelque chose, sinon tu vas virer folle.
You have to do something, otherwise you’ll go crazy.

Mon pied a viré au vert.
My foot turned green.

J’ai pogné un ticket parce que j’ai viré à droite sur une rouge.
I got stuck with a ticket because I turned right on a red.

But we’re not finished with virer yet because Benoît’s comment yesterday made me realise there are a few more good expressions using virer to learn.

Let’s add these expressions then to your knowledge of virer:

  • virer sur le côté
  • virer sur le top
  • virer une brosse

You see that truck in the image? It’s flipped over on the side. We can say:

Le camion a viré sur le côté.
The truck flipped over on the side.

Another expression that immediately comes to mind now is virer sur le top. If a car had completely flipped over and landed on its roof, we might say:

Le char était complètement viré sur le top.
The car was completely flipped over on the top.

Remember how sur le often sounds in colloquial language? Like sul. It’s an informally contracted form of sur le.

Le camion a viré sul côté.
Le char était viré sul top.

Hmm, wonder how that truck flipped over sur le côté? Let’s hope it had nothing to do with drinking and driving…

A few posts ago we saw that the expression être chaud is one way to describe the state of being drunk. But to get to that state in the first place, you have to virer une brosse:

virer une brosse
to get drunk
to get loaded
to get wasted

After you go and virer une brosse, you become chaud.

J’ai viré une brosse au bar pis j’étais trop chaud pour conduire.
I got drunk at the bar and I was too drunk to drive.

Si t’as assez d’argent pour aller virer une brosse, t’as assez d’argent pour un taxi.
If you’ve got enough money to go out and get drunk, you’ve got enough money for a taxi.

So here’s everything you now know about the verb virer:

virer fou
virer folle
to go crazy

virer au vert
virer au jaune
virer au noir
to turn green
to turn yellow
to turn black

virer à droite
virer à gauche
to turn right
to turn left

virer sur le côté
to flip over on the side

virer sur le top
to flip over on the top

virer une brosse
to get drunk

Hold on, not finished just yet.

The expression virer sur le top has a few more uses than just the one above.

Quand j’ai appris la nouvelle, j’ai complètement viré sur le top.
When I heard the news, I totally flipped out (in anger).

Je vire sur le top pour un sac de chips.
I always go crazy for a bag of chips (because I like chips so much).

Faut être viré sur le top pour faire ça.
Ya gotta be totally crazy to do that.

So virer sur le top means to flip upsidedown, both literally and as an emotion.

Oh, just one more thing…

Virer une brosse can also be said as prendre une brosse.

That’s it!

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