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Posts Tagged ‘Urbania’

An expression used frequently in French is à un moment donné. It means at some point, at a certain point, at one point, etc.

À un moment donné, j’ai dû arrêter.
I had to stop at one point.

À un moment donné, on va devoir prendre une décision.
At some point, we’re going to have to make a decision.

Yesterday, while listening to the radio, I was reminded of how this expression might be pronounced in colloquial language.

I don’t remember what the speaker said exactly so I can’t provide it here, but he pronounced à un moment donné as what sounded like amadné.

I did manage to find an example of amadné here on Urbania:

Tu sais, on pourrait prendre un verre amadné. Moi, c’est Étienne, toi?
You know, we can go for a drink sometime. I’m Étienne, and you?

Gabriel Deschambault,
«Faut qu’un gars se refasse»,
Urbania, 12 août 2013.

Another thing of interest in that quote is:

Moi, c’est Étienne.

This is how you can introduce yourself in French.

Entirely unrelated:

When I took the photo above of clothes hanging on the clothesline, la corde à linge, it reminded me of the expression passer la nuit sur la corde à linge, which literally means to spend the night on the clothesline but can be used figuratively in the sense of to have a rough (sleepless) night.

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On Urbania, Lysandre Nadeau writes about the approach of moving season — moving into a new apartment with a new coloc, that is. She writes:

Le soleil est enfin arrivé au Québec. Pis quand il se pointe, pas ben ben longtemps après, les gens déménagent. Eh oui, dans quelques semaines, le monde vont commencer à faire leurs boîtes.

pis quand il se pointe, and when it shows up
pas ben ben longtemps après, not too long afterwards
le monde vont commencer à, people are going to start to
faire leurs boîtes, to pack their boxes

Ben is an informal contraction of bien meaning really here. It sounds like bain. The author has doubled it for effect: pas ben ben longtemps après, literally not really really a long time afterwards.

Why has she used the plural vont with the singular noun le monde? Le monde vont commencer à faire leurs boîtes. It’s a feature of informal language where le monde, meaning people, is analysed as a plural noun like les gens.

Pis means and here. It’s pronounced pi and comes from puis. It’s similar to the way and in English can contract to an’ or ‘n’.

She continues:

Il va y avoir des gros camions partout dans les rues pis plein de vieux divans à motifs laittes sur les trottoirs.

plein de, lots of
vieux divans, old sofas
à motifs laittes, with ugly designs

Laitte is an informal pronunciation of laid that you’ll hear used spontaneously in conversations.

The author uses a few more words from conversational language:

Un nouvel appartement signifie aussi peut-être : un nouveau coloc. J’en ai eu en masse dans ma vie, des l’funs pis des pas l’funs.

un nouveau coloc, a new roommate, flatmate
en masse, lots, heaps
j’en ai eu en masse, I’ve had lots of them
des l’funs pis des pas l’funs, fun/great ones and not-so-fun/great ones

Coloc is a short form of colocataire. Locataire is a renter, so a colocataire is a “co-renter,” someone you share your apartment with. Coloc is used informally.

What does the first en mean in j’en ai eu en masse? It means of them here. In English, you can say I had many, but you can’t in French. In French, you have to say I had many of them, where the of them is said as en. J’en ai eu en masse, of them have had heaps.

Fun is a bit funny in that it uses the article le in front of it, even when used adjectively. Des gars le fun, fun guys. Unlike the author, I’m not sure I’d have put an s on fun in des l’fun pis des pas l’fun.

Source: All quotes written by Lysandre Nadeau in “Le guide de la pire personne en colocation,” Urbania, 22 May 2015.

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In his article on Urbania entitled Le Canadien, la société pis moi, Kéven Breton writes:

Parce que quand le Canadien gagne, je me réjouis, je high-five à qui mieux mieux. Je saute, je suis bien. Je flotte.

We’ve seen before how the Montréal Canadiens are very often referred to in the singular in French: le Canadien. So when Kéven says quand le Canadien gagne, it means when the Canadiens win.

What I really wanted to draw your attention to though was the verb gagner. You’ll hear the infinitive form gagner pronounced with the â sound, as if it were written gâgner. As an approximation, it sounds like “gone yay.” This is also how the past participle gagné is pronounced.

But what about the conjugated form gagne in Kéven’s quote quand le Canadien gagne?

In gagne, there are two things to point out. The first is that it doesn’t use the â sound like gagner does. It’s pronounced with an a, as written. The second thing to note is how the gne ending sounds. You’ll often hear this ending pronounced spontaneously like an ng sound. This means you’ll hear the conjugated form gagne sound like the English word gang.

On this page from Université Laval, you’ll hear examples of words with the gne ending pronounced like this. You can listen to a recording of the words vigne, cygne and ligne, which sound like ving, sing and ling.

Quote by
Kéven Breton in “Le Canadien, la société pis moi,” Urbania, 21 April 2015

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A reader asks how rendu is used. There are different ways, but let’s just look here at what it means in the question y’est rendu où?

Rendu is the past participle of the verb rendre. Here, we can understand rendu to mean gone to, ended up.

In an article on Urbania called Kicker Bruce Lee dans les chnolles (“Kick Bruce Lee in the nuts” — chnolles is your bonus word today), Jonathan Roberge writes:

« Y’est rendu où le gars positif que j’étais!? Est-ce que c’est ça vieillir ? Genre, je deviens un vieux grincheux jamais content? Oh, non! Je suis devenu un adulte, c’est ça!! »

“What ever happened to the positive guy I used to be!? Is that what getting old is about? Like, I become an old grump who’s never happy? Oh, no — I’ve become an adult, that’s what it is!!”

Y’est rendu où is used in his text in the sense of what ever happened to him, where did he go, where did he end up. Y’est is a contraction of il est, and it sounds like yé. Gars rhymes with pas (rs not pronounced).

y’est rendu où?
where did it/he go?
what ever happened to it/him?

genre
like, as in

un vieux grincheux
an old grump
a grumpy old man

kicker
to kick

les chnolles
balls, nuts

Quote by Jonathan Roberge, “Kicker Bruce Lee dans les chnolles,” Urbania, 19 December 2014.

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More Urbania!

Keven Breton writes about the consequences of having fingers that don’t bend and, as a result, are stuck in the “fuck you” position.

I don’t know what it’s like to have fingers that don’t bend. I only know what it’s like to have an ankle and toes that don’t bend.

Since being hit by a vehicle that ran over my foot, my fourth toe sits partially atop my big toe. (It’s not so much the “fuck you” position as it is the “what the fuck” position.)

So I read Keven’s blog post with great interest — and then I came across some vocab that you might like to know.

In his blog post, Keven writes about the time he came back from the store with a beer, the beer that would make his journée poche all better.

Once home, he begins to clean la slush off the wheels of his wheelchair. He does this on the rug so that he doesn’t get the floor dirty.

But then he spills his beer all over the floor anyway — il renverse la bière drette dessus.

une journée poche
a crappy day

la slush, la sloche
slush (dirty, soupy snow)

drette dessus
right on it, right on top of it

J’ai renversé la bière drette dessus means I spilled the beer right on it. Chu tombé drette dessus means I fell right on it. T’as mis le doigt drette dessus means you hit the nail on the head (literally, you put your finger right on it). Drette dessus is an informal usage.

Keven Breton’s blog posts on Urbania can be found here. If you want to check out the blog posts from all Urbania authors, that’s here. Urbania blog posts are refreshingly different, and the writing often contains elements of informally spoken language.

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Keven Breton, Ces doigts qui ne plient pas, Urbania, 27 January 2015.

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