Posts Tagged ‘tsitsu’

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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I have no idea who this guy is.

Just another stock photo. I have no idea who this guy is.

Here’s some everyday French to learn taken from a conversation that a guy in his 30s in Montréal had with a co-worker on the phone.

We can tell from the language that this guy is on familiar terms with the person he spoke to.

One of the first things the guy asked when the other person answered the phone was:

Je dérange-tu?
Am I disturbing you? Are you busy?

Remember, the -tu in this question doesn’t mean “you.” Instead, it’s an informal yes-no question word. We reviewed this in entry #703.

Tu is always pronounced tsu in Québec, whether it means “you” or used as the informal yes-no question marker. It’s a tsitsu word!

[In the Tranches de vie video from the Listen section, the girl asks the same question but in a different way: je te dérange?]

Throughout the guy’s conversation, he used the expression fait que a lot. It’s used essentially in the same way that anglophones say “so,” or like the French word alors.

Here are a few examples of things he said using fait que:

Fait que c’est bon.
So that’s good.

Fait que c’est ça.
So there you have it.

Fait que tu peux m’appeler.
So you can call me.

Fait que je vais t’envoyer le texte.
So I’m going to send you the text.

He also asked for his co-worker’s opinion by asking:

Qu’est-ce t’en penses?
(sounds like: kess t’en penses?)
Whaddya think?

If we remove the informal contractions, we get: qu’est-ce que tu en penses? The question form qu’est-ce que often gets shortened to qu’est-ce (sounds like “kess”) before the subject tu (another example: qu’est-ce tu veux?). The combination tu en often contracts to t’en (qu’est-ce t’en penses?).

At the end of his conversation, he ended with:

OK, on se r’parle! (verb: se reparler)
OK, we’ll be in touch again!

A final note about the yes-no question marker -tu from above:

The yes-no -tu is used at an informal level of speech very frequently in Québec. This doesn’t mean that est-ce que isn’t used in Québec, however.

An example of a yes-no question that the same guy asked during his conversation using est-ce que is:

Est-ce que tu penses que tu peux faire les modifications dans le texte?
Do you think you can make the changes in the text?

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Casa d’Italia à Montréal (métro Jean-Talon)

I’ve been keeping my ears open for you! Here are 10 new examples of overheard French.

All 10 are spontaneous examples that I caught someone say while out and about in Montréal.

1. Arrête de niaiser!

Stop kidding around!
Stop messing with me!

Two young women in their 20s were walking and talking in the street.

One of the women then stopped the other. She exclaimed arrête de niaiser because she was so taken aback by whatever her friend had said.

2. Je prendrais…

I’ll take…
Can I get…?

A lady ordered food at the cash of a restaurant by saying je prendrais…

We’ve also seen the expression je vais prendre… on OffQc, as well as just stating what you want followed by s’il vous plaît.

Je prendrais un café, s’il vous plaît.
Je vais prendre un café, s’il vous plaît.
Un café, s’il vous plaît.

3. T’as quel âge?

How old are you?

Two young teenagers were talking to each other. This is how one of them asked the other his age.

4. Bonne fin de journée!

Enjoy the rest of your day!

An elderly lady said this to a group of friends as she left them. It was three o’clock in the afternoon. Cashiers in stores also say this a lot to customers.

The word de isn’t stressed. Try saying it like this: bonne finde journée, where finde sounds like a one-syllable word.

5. Finalement j’ai rien.

There’s nothing wrong me after all.
Turns out I’m fine.

A girl answered her mobile phone. I think it was her grandmother calling. The girl explained that she had just left hospital and that there was nothing wrong with her after all.

J’ai rien is an informal way of saying je n’ai rien.

6. Merci, t’es fine.

Thanks, you’re so kind (nice, sweet).

The same girl from number 5 said this on the phone.

Fine is the feminine form. Fin is the masculine. Fine rhymes with the French word mine. Fin rhymes with the French word main.

Merci, t’es fine is said to a female. For a male, you’d say: merci, t’es fin.

The adjectives gentil and gentille are used in Québec too, of course.

The masculine gentil sounds like jen-tsi. In the feminine, the tille part of gentille rhymes with fille. You’ll remember that the letter t in both gentil and gentille is pronounced ts.

That’s because the letter t is pronounced ts before the French i sound. The letter t is also pronounced ts before the French u sound. This is what’s known as the tsitsu on OffQc. For example, partir is pronounced par-tsir in Québec, and tuque is pronounced tsuk.

You can also use c’est gentil to thank someone, male or female:

Merci, c’est gentil.
Thanks, that’s kind (of you).

7. Fais pas comme si tu m’avais pas vue!

Don’t pretend you didn’t see me!

A girl said this to a guy as he walked by. She jokingly accused him of pretending that he hadn’t seen her to avoid saying hello to her.

If a guy had said this, it would be written like this: fais pas comme si tu m’avais pas vu!

Fais pas! is an informal way of saying ne fais pas!

8. Tu m’entends-tu?

Can you hear me?

A girl in her 20s said this while speaking on the phone. The person she was speaking to couldn’t hear her very well.

The second tu in her question is an informal yes-no question word. The first tu means “you,” but the second one doesn’t. To learn more about this, you can download a mini-guide about yes-no questions using tu.

When pronounced, her question sounded like: tsu m’entends-tsu? That’s the tsitsu again! (See number 6.)

9. Dans une tasse ou dans un carton?

In a mug or in a paper cup?

I stopped in a café that will serve their coffee in both mugs and paper cups. A lady in line ahead of me ordered a coffee. The cashier asked if she wanted the coffee in a mug (to drink the coffee there) or in a paper cup (to go). Dans une tasse ou dans un carton?

10. Oui, toi?

Fine, and you?

When you ask somebody ça va? (how are you?), the response will often be a simple oui, toi?

Answering oui to ça va? is the equivalent of saying “fine” to the question “how are you?” You can add in toi? to ask about the other person and sound less curt. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from giving a more enthusiastic response than just oui!

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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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Accent québécoisI took this photo in métro Jean-Talon.

It’s got dzidzu-tsitsu written all over it…

Sortie is pronounced sor-tsi.

Côte-Vertu is pronounced côt-ver-tsu.

Direction is pronounced dzi-rek-sion.

It’s got tsi, tsu and dzi — but not dzu.

For dzu, I should have travelled to métro Dzu Collège!

Du Collège

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