Posts Tagged ‘tsitsu’

I went to the post office yesterday to deliver a package. When the cashier asked how I wanted to send it, I said: en régulier, which means that I wanted to send it by regular post.

It cost 9,65 $ to send the package, which is said in French as: neuf et soixante-cinq. On the receipt, the cashier showed me the tracking number, le numéro de suivi, so that I could track online the package’s delivery.

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Yesterday morning, I heard someone ask a friend: Comment ça va? The friend answered back by saying: Pas pire!, which means “not bad” in Québec.

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Are you pronouncing the French word suggestion correctly?

The letter g appears twice in this word, and you must pronounce each one. The first g is hard, like the g in goutte. The second g is soft, like the j in joute. What’s more, suggestion is a tsitsu word. The t is pronounced ts.


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Chris asked about the expression péter la balloune de quelqu’un in the comments section of yesterday’s post about the verb péter.

The québécois expression péter la balloune de quelqu’un means “to burst someone’s bubble,” in the sense of disappointing or bringing the person back down to earth.

In the comments, JohanneDN provided a good example of the expression: Quand j’ai reçu les résultats de mon examen de philo, ça a pété ma balloune. (When I got the results of my philosophy exam, I was disappointed/let down.)

If you’re about to give someone a reality check, you could say: Je veux pas péter ta balloune, mais… or Désolé de péter ta balloune, mais… This expression can have a cutting tone to it.

Je veux pas péter ta balloune, mais la vraie diva du Québec, c’est Ginette Reno.
I don’t wanna burst your bubble, but the real diva of Québec is Ginette Reno.
I hate to burst your bubble, but…

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Most words that end in -tion aren’t tsitsu words. For example, in information and animation, the t is pronounced like an s. So, there’s no t sound to begin with to be pronounced ts. But in words like bastion and gestion, which end in -stion, the t is indeed pronounced like a t — or, more accurately, like ts in Québec. That’s why suggestion above is a tsitsu word.

Don’t go overboard pronouncing ts and dz in tsitsu and dzidzu words. It’s not tsssssssss and dzzzzzzzzz; it’s just ts and dz. It’s said quickly like any other sound.

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I saw the advertisement in the image above in a public space in Montréal. The Fonds is promoting their RRSPs. An RRSP is a Canadian investment for retirement. In French, an RRSP is called un REER, which is pronounced ré-èr.

And, finally, the moose in the image is called un orignal in French!

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1. en régulier, by regular post
2. 9,65 $, neuf et soixante-cinq
3. un numéro de suivi, tracking number
4. pas pire, not bad
5. suggestion, check your pronunciation!
6. péter la balloune de quelqu’un, to burst someone’s bubble
7. bastion, gestion, the t is pronounced ts in Québec
8. un REER, RRSP (pronounced ré-èr)
9. un orignal, moose

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On Urbania, Jonathan Roberge writes about an accident he had while mountain biking.

The accident probably had something to do with the fact that he chose to go mountain biking on a volcano in Peru at an altitude of 4600 metres.

He says:

Faire du vélo de montagne sur un volcan, au Pérou! À 4600 mètres d’altitude, quelle idée de marde parfaite pour moi!

Mountain biking on a volcano in Peru! At 4600 metres in altitude, what a perfectly shitty idea for me!

Altitude is a tsitsu word. It’s pronounced al-tsi-tsude in Québec.

In his accident, he suffered massive injuries, like: deux vertèbres de chiées dans la nuque (two messed up vertebrae in the neck), quatre côtes fracturées (four fractured ribs), la mâchoire débarquée (a dislocated jaw) and all sorts of other fun stuff.

I’ve pulled three verbs from his text for us to look at:

1. embarquer
2. chialer
3. pogner

1. embarquer

To get to the volcano, Roberge paid a guy $100 to take him there by jeep.

Je donne 100 $ au gars pis j’embarque dans son 4×4 […].

I give the guy $100 and then get in his 4×4.

Embarquer can be used to get in a car, and débarquer to get out: embarquer dans l’auto (to get in the car), débarquer de l’auto (to get out of the car). If you’re travelling on the bus or métro with friends, you can tell them on débarque ici (this is where we get off) when you arrive at your stop.

4×4 is said as quatre par quatre.

In addition to dollar, you’ll also hear the word piasse used a lot: 100 piasses = 100 dollars.

Remember: gars is pronounced gâ, and pis (a reduction of puis) is pronounced pi.

2. chialer

Roberge wasn’t the only foreign traveller in the jeep. There were also some fussy British girls.

Dans le jeep, il y avait des princesses britanniques habillées comme M.I.A. qui chialaient parce qu’elles n’avaient pas de réseau pour leur téléphone intelligent […].

In the jeep, there were some British princesses dressed like M.I.A. who kept complaining that their smartphones had no signal.

In Québec, chialer is pronounced chiâler. The letter combination comes close to what “yaw” sounds like in English. This verb is frequently used in the same sense as se plaindre sans arrêt.

3. pogner

Roberge was going too fast on his bike. When he hit a hole in the path, he came crashing down hard on a rock.

J’allais vite, beaucoup trop vite, j’ai pogné un trou et j’ai été propulsé sur une énorme roche.

I was going fast, way too fast. I hit a hole and was sent flying into an enormous rock.

The verb pogner (rhymes with cogner) is often heard in Québec in the sense of “to catch” or “to grab.” What Roberge “caught” here was a big hole in the path that sent him flying off his bike. You can learn all about the verb pogner here.

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French quotes by: Jonathan Roberge, « Le Pérou, c’est médium le fun », Urbania, 21 février 2014.

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When the letter d occurs before the French i or u sound, it’s pronounced dz.

Di and du are pronounced dzi and dzu.

When the letter t occurs before the French i or u sound, it’s pronounced ts.

Ti and tu are pronounced tsi and tsu.

To describe this phenomenon (and to help you remember), a word that contains the sounds dzi or dzu is called a dzidzu word. A word that contains the sounds tsi or tsu is called a tsitsu word.

For example, différent is a dzidzu word. It’s pronounced dzifférent in Québec. Tube is a tsitsu word. It’s pronounced tsube. On the other hand, doux is not dzidzuated and matin is not tsitsuated. That’s because the letters d and t in those words are not followed by the French i or u sounds.

The words dzidzu, tsitsu, dzidzuate, tsitsuate, dzidzuation, tsitsuation, etc., are all offcois words. Offcois is also an offcois word!

Is your head spinning yet?

Here’s a list of 100 dzidzu and tsitsu words. I took them from a car magazine. You’ll notice that a few words in the list are even bisexual in that they are both dzidzuated and tsitsuated, like distinctif (dzistinctsif).

At the end of this entry, I’ve also included 30 non-dzidzuated-non-tsitsuated words from the same car magazine.

  1. disposé, dzisposé
  2. grandissant, grandzissant
  3. titre, tsitre
  4. attendu, attendzu
  5. nomenclature, nomenclatsure
  6. perdu, perdzu
  7. identité, identsité
  8. direction, dzirection
  9. introduction, introdzuction
  10. objectif, objectsif
  11. continuer, contsinuer
  12. voiture, voitsure
  13. convertir, convertsir
  14. maintiendra, maintsiendra
  15. turbo, tsurbo
  16. répondu, répondzu
  17. entièrement, entsièrement
  18. satisfaire, satsisfaire
  19. ouverture, ouvertsure
  20. distance, dzistance
  21. effectuer, effectsuer
  22. ordinaire, ordzinaire
  23. utile, utsile
  24. répandu, répandzu
  25. modique, modzique
  26. utilisation, utsilisation
  27. traditionnel, tradzitionnel
  28. audio, audzio
  29. cardiaque, cardziaque
  30. attirer, attsirer
  31. sophistiqué, sophistsiqué
  32. produit, prodzuit
  33. mondial, mondzial
  34. sportif, sportsif
  35. asiatique, asiatsique
  36. typique, tsypique
  37. dispendieux, dzispendzieux
  38. petit, petsit
  39. conducteur, condzucteur
  40. splendide, splendzide
  41. alternative, alternatsive
  42. industrie, indzustrie
  43. distinguer, dzistinguer
  44. fluidité, fluidzité
  45. introduire, introdzuire
  46. pratique, pratsique
  47. estimer, estsimer
  48. disponible, dzisponible
  49. routier, routsier
  50. intermédiaire, intermédziaire
  51. dédié, dz
  52. fantastique, fantastsique
  53. quotidien, quotsidzien
  54. imperceptible, imperceptsible
  55. compétitif, compétsitsif
  56. partie, partsie
  57. bâtir, tsir
  58. moitié, moits
  59. prestige, prestsige
  60. style, stsyle
  61. gestion, gestsion
  62. dynamique, dzynamique
  63. conduire, condzuire
  64. Audi, Audzi
  65. condition, condzition
  66. positif, positsif
  67. adulte, adzulte
  68. distinctif, dzistinctsif
  69. multimédia, multsimédzia
  70. additionnel, addzitionnel
  71. divisé, dzivisé
  72. automatique, automatsique
  73. réduction, dzuction
  74. stimulant, stsimulant
  75. rapidité, rapidzité
  76. intimidant, intsimidant
  77. commodité, commodzité
  78. distribution, dzistribution
  79. séduire, dzuire
  80. sculpture, sculptsure
  81. actualiser, actsualiser
  82. ressortir, ressortsir
  83. activé, actsivé
  84. difficile, dzifficile
  85. conceptuel, conceptsuel
  86. applaudi, applaudzi
  87. négatif, négatsif
  88. futur, futsur
  89. dimension, dzimension
  90. rendu, rendzu
  91. diamètre, dziamètre
  92. type, tsype
  93. assortiment, assortsiment
  94. sentir, sentsir
  95. naturel, natsurel
  96. situé, sits
  97. diminution, dziminution
  98. éditeur, édziteur
  99. indications, indzications
  100. onctueux, onctsueux

30 words from the magazine that contain the letters d or t but are never dzidzuated or tsitsuated:

tout, sensation, orienté, options, automobile, temps, décevant, terme, désirer, hybride, technologie, route, intéressant, tendance, donc, génération, dans, stabilité, dépassement, mastodonte, départ, rétroaction, certain, prestance, comportement, modèle, étonnement, cadran, motorisation, traction

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When a friend of mine was speaking on the phone, he asked if the person on the other end could hear him:

Allô? M’entends-tu? Allô?
Hello? Can you hear me? Hello?

Remember, this question sounds conversational in Québec despite using the inversion (m’entends-tu). You can review in #717 when the inversion sounds natural in spoken French and when it doesn’t.

We’ve already come across two other ways this same question was asked in the same context of telephone conversations, which were: est-ce que tu m’entends? and tu m’entends-tu?

So, all three of these questions that we’ve come across work during a conversation in Québec:

1. M’entends-tu?
2. Est-ce que tu m’entends?
3. Tu m’entends-tu?

… which the Québécois pronounce as:

Est-ce que tsu m’entends?
Tsu m’entends-tsu?

They’re pronounced that way because t before the French sound u is pronounced ts in Québec. It’s the “tsu” part of what’s called the “tsitsu” on OffQc.

The most informal sounding question of the three is tu m’entends-tu?, which uses the colloquial yes-no question marker -tu. I suggest you wait until you’ve heard it used in real conversations before using it yourself.


Can you ask the 5 questions below in French using the 3 ways described above?

Remember, during informal conversations, the second person singular tu almost always becomes t’ when the next word begins with a vowel (e.g., tu es becomes t’es), so use this contraction when possible.

The answers follow the questions… no peeking!

1. Do you understand?
2. Do you want some?
3. Did you lock the door?
4. Does your back hurt?
5. Are you sure it works?

+ salut!
+ 😛


1. Comprends-tu? Est-ce que tu comprends? Tu comprends-tu?
2. En veux-tu? Est-ce que t’en veux? T’en veux-tu?
3. As-tu barré la porte? Est-ce que t’as barré la porte? T’as-tu barré la porte?
4. As-tu mal au dos? Est-ce que t’as mal au dos? T’as-tu mal au dos?
5. Es-tu sûr que ça marche? Est-ce que t’es sûr que ça marche? T’es-tu sûr que ça marche?

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In the last entry (#717), there was an example of a yes-no question using the inverted form as-tu:

As-tu mal à la tête?
Do you have a headache?

Even though this question uses the inversion, it still works at the conversational level of French in Québec. You can read more about when the inversion is used and avoided in Québec in entry #717.

Another way that you may hear people ask as-tu questions is with the formulation t’as-tu. This formulation is an informal one that you may catch people use during everyday conversations.

Below are some examples. I’ve translated them into informal English to help convey the feel of the t’as-tu form:

T’as-tu vu ça?
Didja see that?

T’as-tu une cigarette?
Ya got a cigarette?

T’as-tu une blonde?
D’ya have a girlfriend?

T’as-tu peur?
You afraid?

All of those questions could have also simply been asked with as-tu rather than t’as-tu. So, where on earth does t’as-tu come from then?

The t’as part of t’as-tu is a contraction of tu as. This contraction occurs very frequently in French, and not just as part of the formulation t’as-tu but anywhere tu and as come together.

The -tu part of t’as-tu is the famous yes-no question marker so prevalent in the French of Québec.

All the questions above can be answered with yes or no. We can understand the -tu part of t’as-tu as meaning “yes or no?” like this:

T’as-tu une blonde?
= Tu as (oui ou non) une blonde?

How is t’as-tu pronounced?

The t’as part sounds like tâ, or like “taw” using an English approximation. The -tu part sounds like tsu. That’s because tu is a tsitsu word, and you remember all about those tsitsu words… right?? So, t’as-tu sounds like tâ-tsu.

Similarly, as-tu sounds like â-tsu.

It’s not necessary for you to adopt t’as-tu to make yourself understood by the Québécois. As-tu is always good. (It’s important to understand t’as-tu though because you’ll be hearing it.) And, of course, you can always use est-ce que, or just make your voice rise at the end of a statement to turn it into a yes-no question.

These questions all ask the same thing:

As-tu compris?
T’as-tu compris?
T’as compris?
Tu as compris?
Est-ce que t’as compris?
Est-ce que tu as compris?

How’s that for variety?

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