Posts Tagged ‘vidanges’

Here are 7 random expressions in French that I overheard in Montréal this week and made a mental note of.

1. Tu me niaises-tu?
(Are you kidding me?)

When the métro train I was on pulled into the station, it came to a stop, and then the lights and motor when off completely. A young woman near me, standing with her friend, exclaimed: tu me niaises-tu? She was frustrated that a long delay seemed imminent. An older woman behind me yelled out sarcastically: super!

2. Allô? Allô? Ça coupe!
(Hello? Hello? You’re cutting in and out!)

A man talking on his mobile phone couldn’t hear what the person on the other end was saying. He kept saying allô? allô? and then ça coupe! The connection was obviously bad.

3. Y mouille un p’tit peu.
(It’s spitting out.)

The verb mouiller is often used in the same way as pleuvoir in Québec. Someone who says il mouille is saying the same thing as il pleut. The man who said this also said un p’tit peu. It was only spitting out when he said it.

4. Voulez-vous la facture?
(Do you want the receipt?)

When you order food at the cash, like in a food court, the cashier may ask if you want the receipt. You’ll hear a lot of employees working at the cash refer to the receipt as la facture.

5. En régulier?
(By regular post?)

I took an envelope to the post office. The man working at the cash asked if I wanted to send it by regular post: en régulier? If you wanted to send an envelope by regular post, you could say: en régulier, s’il vous plaît.

6. On va checker ça.
(We’ll check it out. We’ll take a look.)

A guy speaking into his mobile phone said this to the person on the other end. If you heard someone say check-moi ça! or even just check!, it means “check it out!” or “take a look at that!”

7. C’est moins dispendieux.
(It’s less expensive.)

An employee in Pharmaprix was showing a product to a customer. She told her that product was less expensive, moins dispendieux, than another similiar product. This means exactly the same thing as moins cher, which is of course also said in Québec. The word dispendieux looks big and fancy and formal, but it’s not. It really does just mean the same thing as cher in Québec.

And an image…

In entry #631, you read about how the Québécois use the word vidanges in the sense of garbage. In the comments, roxannabanana asked if this word is always used in the plural.

In the sense of garbage, yes, vidanges is used in the plural. You may come across the singular form when vidange is used to refer to an oil change in a vehicle, however.

In the image, taken at a garage, we read: vidange d’huile (oil change) above the door on the left. This usage in the sense of oil change is known throughout the French-speaking world, but the plural usage in the sense of garbage is québécois.

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On the sign in the image above, we read:

Les déchets domestiques ne vont pas dans cette poubelle!
Do not put household waste in this bin!

Déchets is just one of the words used to refer to garbage in French.

Another one that you’ll hear in Québec is vidanges, which is an informal use. You’d wouldn’t see vidanges in the sense of garbage used on a sign like this, for example.

Here are some ways that you might hear vidanges used.

As-tu sorti les vidanges?
Did you take out the garbage?

J’ai oublié de sortir les vidanges.
I forgot to take out the garbage.

Je l’ai jeté aux vidanges.
I threw it in the garbage.

In a scene from the television series La Galère, we hear the term un sac à vidanges, or garbage bag.

A character called Stéphanie has broken up with her boyfriend. She’s at home packing up his clothes neatly into a box so that she can return them to him.

Stéphanie’s friend Claude gets pissed off at how nice Stéphanie is being towards her ex by packing his stuff up for him. So Claude grabs the box, empties it all over the place, and tells Stéphanie to just dump his damn stuff into a garbage bag:

Tu me crisses ça dans un sac à vidanges!

[La Galère, season 4, episode 9, Radio-Canada,
Montréal, 7 November 2011]

The verb crisser comes from the name “Christ.” So when Claude tells Stéphanie to Christ his stuff into a garbage bag, she was really telling her to just throw his stuff the hell out.

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Louis and his wife from the show Les Parent are going on holiday in Cuba. At one point, Louis tells his kids to remember to take out the garbage while they’re away.

Louis used a word that you might not be familiar with: vidanges.

Informally, les vidanges is often used in the sense of “garbage” in Quebec French. It’s a feminine plural word. The informal expression sortir les vidanges means “to take out the garbage.”


As-tu sorti les vidanges?
Did you take out the garbage?

J’ai oublié de sortir les vidanges!
I forgot to take out the garbage!

[This entry was inspired by the character Louis in Les Parent, “Une semaine tout compris,” season 3, episode 11, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 10 January 2011.]

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