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Posts Tagged ‘Urbania’

In Ne touche pas mon bébé (a blog post on Urbania), Jonathan Roberge writes about his strong dislike of strangers’ touching his baby in public without his permission.

Jonathan describes a stranger — an elderly woman — who not only kissed his baby on the mouth, but did so without his permission. He says:

Pis là, elle a fait le move qui m’a rendu vraiment inconfortable. Elle lui a donné un bisou… sur la bouche.

An’ then, she did something (made the move) that made me really uncomfortable. She gave him a kiss… on the mouth.

We’ve seen many times that pis (a reduction of puis) is used in the sense of “and” in Québécois French.

What Jonathan has done here though is use it alongside to form a usage that you’ll hear very often in French conversations: pis là.

Pis là is used when recounting events. It means “and then.” First she did this, pis là she did that, pis là she said this, pis là she said that…

Pis là is an informal use. You can try using it to add a natural sound to your spoken French. Francophones use it all the time when speaking colloquially.

[Quote written by Jonathan Roberge in « Ne touche pas mon bébé » on Urbania, 10 October 2014.]

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In #863, we found the adjective rendu in a text written by Kéven Breton about wheelchair accessibility. The wording was:

Ah ouais c’est accessible chenous monsieur! Vous avez juste à passer par l’arrière, dans la petite ruelle qui pue le cadavre. Y’a une petite porte en métal, à côté des vidanges. Cognez, on va aller vous ouvrir! Pis rendu là, y’a juste deux petites marches!

Yeah sure, we’re accessible here, sir! You just have to go around the back into the alley that smells like a dead body. There’s a small metal door beside the garbage. Knock, and we’ll let you in! Then after that (at that point), there are only two small steps!

[Kéven Breton, Vie nocturne : tous ces bars qui ne veulent pas de moi, Urbania, 7 octobre 2014.]

Maybe you’ve been hearing the adjective rendu a lot as you listen to francophones from Québec speak, which wouldn’t be surprising because it’s used frequently.

There’s an expression in particular using rendu that we can look at: c’est rendu que. In the examples below (all found online somewhere), we can say that c’est rendu que means “it’s to the point where.”

Mais là, c’est rendu qu’il fait 3-4 parfois 5 cacas par jour.
But now it’s to the point where he’s going poo 3-4 sometimes 5 times a day.

Là, c’est rendu que j’ose même plus regarder mon père dans les yeux.
Now it’s to the point where I don’t even dare look at my father in the eyes.

Là, c’est rendu que je me fais réveiller de deux à quatre fois par semaine par des gens qui font sauter des feux d’artifice.
Now it’s to the point where I’m woken up two to four times a week by people setting off firecrackers.

Interestingly, those three examples above began with là, which means “now.” This helps to insist on the change in the situation. Not all sentences using c’est rendu que begin with though. Here are a few last examples:

C’est rendu que je me mets toujours à douter de moi.
It’s to the point where I always start doubting myself.

C’est rendu que je n’aime plus sortir avec mon chum.
It’s to the point where I don’t like going out with my boyfriend anymore.

C’est comme une drogue les Olympiques. C’est rendu que je regarde les reprises des reprises!
The Olympics are like a drug, to the point where I watch reruns of reruns!

As you listen to French, see if you can catch examples of  used in the same way as in the examples above. is very frequently used in the sense of “now.”

Là, c’est rendu que…
Pis là, c’est rendu que…
Mais là, c’est rendu que…

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On Urbania, Kéven Breton writes about the challenge of getting into different bars in Montréal on his wheelchair, in Vie nocturne à roulettes : tous ces bars qui ne veulent pas de moi.

He says some bars pass the test, and others don’t.

And then there are the bars in between… a sort of fake kind of accessible, as in:

Ah ouais c’est accessible chenous monsieur! Vous avez juste à passer par l’arrière, dans la petite ruelle qui pue le cadavre. Y’a une petite porte en métal, à côté des vidanges. Cognez, on va aller vous ouvrir! Pis rendu là, y’a juste deux petites marches!

Yeah sure, we’re accessible here, sir! You just have to go around the back into the alley that smells like a dead body. There’s a small metal door beside the garbage. Knock and we’ll let you in! Then after that, there are only two small steps!

We first looked at Kéven’s use of chenous (chez nous) in #861. Maybe you’ll remember that chez nous can mean “at my place” in Québec, just like chez moi. For example, a person who lives alone might say chez nous to talk about his place, instead of chez moi. And even if you live alone, he might say chez vous to talk about your place, instead of chez toi.

In the example above, we really can understand chez nous to refer to more than one person though. Chez nous here (or chenous) refers to the bar and its employees.

Kéven also used vidanges in his text: à côté des vidanges, or “next to the garbage.” Elsewhere on OffQc, we’ve see the term un sac à vidanges, which is a garbage bag.

Learn the verb cogner! Every learner of French learns to say frapper à la porte for “knock on the door,” but have you learned cogner à la porte too? You need to!

You’ll hear the Québécois use the adjective rendu a lot too. We won’t look at all the uses of rendu here, just the one in the example above. Broadly speaking, rendu means “arrived” or “become.” Using “arrived,” we can say that rendu là means “arrived there” — or in more natural-sounding English: “at that point.”

Finally, the word cadavre… This word can be added to the list of 50 words pronounced with the â sound in Québec but not spelled with the accented â. That’s because cadavre is pronounced cadâvre. Only the second a is pronounced â, not the first one. You can hear it pronounced on this Wiki page, near the bottom.

Kéven also wrote y’a a couple times instead of il y a. If you listen to a lot of spoken French, you know that the most normal way of pronouncing il y a during regular conversations is certainly y’a. The negative form is y’a pas.

You can continue reading Kéven’s text on your own, discover more vocabulary and understand how Kéven feels about accessibility in Montréal bars. (You’ll also find an example of pogner in there, when Kéven says pogner le métro, or grab the métro.)

Summary

chez nous can mean chez moi
chez vous can mean chez toi
à côté des vidanges, beside the garbage
un sac à vidanges, a garbage bag
cognez!, knock!
cogner à la porte, to knock at the door
pis rendu là, then at that point, then after that
cadavre is pronounced cadâvre
y’a is an informal pronunciation of il y a
pogner le métro,
to grab the métro

P.S. Pogner and cogner rhyme. Be sure not to pronounce the g in these words. They sound like ponnyé and connyé.

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Quote by Kéven Breton in Vie nocturne : tous ces bars qui ne veulent pas de moi, on Urbania, 7 October 2014.

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Kéven Breton writes about how autumn is the perfect season to be boring and stay home in La saison parfaite pour être plate (The perfect season to be boring), which appeared on Urbania.

Kéven admits to liking when someone cancels plans at the last minute because then, as he says, je peux rester chenous. I can stay home.

Chenous? It’s an informal way of saying chez nous and, in this example, it’s synonymous with chez moi.

But why didn’t Kéven say chez moi if he was only talking about himself?

The plural forms are often used like this — chez nous, chez vous, chez eux instead of chez moichez toi, chez lui/elle.

If you hear someone say chez nous, or like Kéven said, chenous, it doesn’t necessarily mean that person lives with someone…

je veux rester chenous
I want to stay home, chez moi

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A park for dogs to run around in (and their owners to cruise each other) in Montréal

A park for dogs to run around in (and their owners to cruise each other) in Montréal

We’ve seen the expression avoir la chienne before, but let’s review it. I was reminded of this expression while reading a text written by Véronique Grenier on Urbania called “Rides de char.”

J’ai la chienne!

Chienne is the feminine form of chien. When you’ve got the chienne, you’re terrified or frightened.

J’ai la chienne.
I’m terrified.

J’ai la chienne de faire ça.
I’m terrified of doing that.

J’avais la chienne.
I was terrified.

J’ai eu la chienne de ma vie!
I got the fright of my life!

While on the topic of having the chienne, now’s a good time to look at the difference between j’avais peur and j’ai eu peur.

J’ai eu peur is used to describe getting scared at a specific moment. J’avais peur is used to describe being scared over time.

J’avais peur.
I was scared.
(all morning, this afternoon, while watching a movie…)

J’ai eu peur.
I got scared.
(when I saw him, when that happened…)

The same distinction exists for avoir faim.

J’avais faim.
I was hungry.
(this morning, all night, during class…)

J’ai eu faim.
I got hungry.
(when I saw the cake, when I smelled the pizza…)

Going back to the original expression in this post, j’avais la chienne is used to talk about being terrified over time. In the example j’ai eu la chienne de ma vie, the speaker got the fright of his or her life at a specific moment when something happened.

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Rabii Rammal writes about the overuse of text messages in a relationship, even when the subject matter is important. He says:

Même les affaires importantes. Genre quand on se chicane, on s’envoie des romans.

Even important stuff. Like when we fight, we send each other novels.

They don’t really send each other novels of course, just really long text messages.

As you listen to spoken French, have you heard genre used like that? It means “like” when giving an example of something. We can say it’s a colloquial way of saying par exemple.

In another example using genre, Rabii talks about going overboard with saying thanks in certain situations:

Genre je peux remercier le facteur qui me remet une lettre, mais je ne peux pas remercier un facteur que je croise dans la rue pour l’ensemble de son œuvre.

For example, I can thank the mailman who delivers a letter to me, but I can’t thank a mailman who I bump into in the street for the entirety of his career.

Harriet mentioned in a comment that she learned the difference between the words facture and facteur. Une facture is a bill. Cashiers also often use this word in the sense of receipt. (Voulez-vous la facture? Do you want the receipt?) Un facteur delivers the mail.

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Fuck you l'été [Jordan Dupuis]

Fuck you l’été [Jordan Dupuis]

In an Urbania article called Le monde selon J : Fuck you l’été published at the end of March, Jordan Dupuis describes his displeasure over the fact that winter was ending and that hot weather was on its way. He writes:

Bref, 99,9% des gens sont à boutte de l’hiver… mais pas moi.
In short, 99.9% of people are sick of winter… but not me.

être à boutte de l’hiver
to be sick of winter
to have had it with winter

As usual, this Urbania article is full of colloquial language similar to what you’ll hear in real conversations. If you haven’t checked Urbania out yet, I encourage you to do so.

Unlike the author himself, Jordan says that people can’t take the snow anymore:

Les gens sont officiellement pu’ capables d’endurer la neige […].
People are officially no longer able to stand the snow.

endurer quelque chose
to be able to stand something

les gens sont pu’ capables
people are no longer able

Maybe you’ll remember pu capab from yesterday’s entry devoted to the word marde as used in Québec.

Jordan explains the reasons he hates summer. One of them is that his summer clothes no longer fit after gaining weight throughout the winter. As he looks at his summer shirts spread out on his bed, he realises he should forget about wearing them and donate them instead. He says that he should sacrer ses chemises d’été dans un beau grand sac à vidanges, or “throw his summer shirts the hell out into a huge garbage bag.”

One of the other reasons he hates summer so much is that some people (but not him) seem to be devoid of sweat glands. He curses these “chosen ones” for not sweating a drop in their cream-coloured linen shirts:

Ces êtres élus et gâtés par la vie, même à 38 degrés et avec un facteur humidex à te faire friser le poil de la noune, ne transpirent pas une goutte de sueur dans leur chemise en lin couleur crème.

38 degrés
Americans, remember: 38 degrees is hot! Québec uses Celsius.

Le facteur humidex is the humidex factor. In Québec, we LOVE to talk about the humidex factor. The humidex factor is what the temperature feels like because of humidity. So, the actual temperature might be 38, but the humidex factor might make it feel more like 45.

But, oh my, what does faire friser le poil de la noune mean?

Do you remember the word plotte from a previous entry? It’s a vulgar word that refers to the female sex organ. Une noune is the same thing. Le poil de la noune, well, that’s the pubic hair surrounding it. Faire friser (quelque chose) means to make it curl.

à 38 degrés et avec un facteur humidex à te faire friser le poil de la noune

In other words, he curses those chosen ones who don’t sweat a drop even when the temperature is hot enough to make pubic hair curl.

I’ll let you discover the rest of his text on your own!

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French quotes by Jordan Dupuis, «Le monde selon J : Fuck you l’été», Urbania, Montréal, 31 March 2014.

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