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Posts Tagged ‘transport en commun’

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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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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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Julie LaferrièreIf you live in Montréal and read the Métro while riding the métro, perhaps you’ve come across Julie Laferrière’s column Hors du commun on Tuesdays.

In her column, Laferrière shares her experiences while using public transportation in Montréal.

In her article La noblesse (9 Dec. 2013), Laferrière describes an experience with a homeless man at métro Saint-Laurent: The homeless man asks her for change, but she doesn’t have any. Instead, she offers him the nuts she’s just bought at the dépanneur. The only problem is that he’s got no teeth and can’t eat them. The experience moves her.

In her article, there are several québécois usages that we can look at. On her way to the métro, Laferrière describes how hungry she was:

(…) je n’ai rien avalé depuis la toast de 7 h ce matin.
I haven’t eaten anything since the toast (that I ate) at 7 this morning.

She decides to go the dépanneur to buy a snack:

J’opte alors pour le dépanneur du métro Saint-Laurent et je jette mon dévolu sur un gros sac de noix.
So I decide to go the dépanneur at métro Saint-Laurent, and I set my sights on a big bag of nuts.

After she buys the nuts, a homeless man calls out to her and asks for twenty-five cents:

Madame, t’as-tu vingt-cinq cennes S.V.P.?
Madame, d’ya have twenty-five cents, please?

Laferrière doesn’t have change, so she offers him the nuts she’s just bought. With a large toothless smile, the man tells her:

T’es ben fine, mais j’pourrai pas faire grand-chose avec ça.
You’re really kind, but there’s not much I can do with that [with the nuts].

To read the entire article, click here or on the image above.

une toast
a piece of toast
Toast is a feminine word in French.

un dépanneur
a shop where you can buy snacks, cigarettes, milk, etc.

t’as-tu…?
ya got…?
d’ya have…?
Read more about this informal usage here.

une cenne
one cent

vingt-cinq cennes
twenty-five cents

ben [sounds like bain]
really

t’es ben fine [said to a woman]
you’re really nice, kind

t’es ben fin [said to a man]
you’re really nice, kind

There are some other expressions in the article that you might like to learn:

il flatte son chien
he’s patting his dog

j’ai une boule dans la gorge
I’ve got a knot in my throat [because of emotion]

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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.

Bonus:

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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6 vélos max dans la première voitureIn yesterday’s entry about the dzidzu and tsitsu in the métro, Luke wrote in the comment section: Les vélos vont dans la première voi-tsure!

In the métro stations, there are adhesive signs on the platforms that read:

Les vélos vont dans la première voiture.

This tells cyclists that they must board the train with their bike in the first car only.

As Luke points out in his comment, voiture is pronounced voi-tsure in Québec.

On a related sign in the métro, we read:

6 vélos max.
dans la première voiture

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