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Posts Tagged ‘y’a-tu’

At a store, I heard one employee ask another the equivalent of this in French:

Does he have his card?

Can you guess how the employee might’ve said it? She said it in an informal way, without using est-ce que.

Here’s what the employee said:

Y’a-tu sa carte?

In this question, y’a-tu means does he have?, has he got?

Here’s why:

Il a sa carte means he has his card. But, in colloquial language, it’s more likely to be pronounced y’a sa carte. (This is because the final L sound of il is very frequently not pronounced: i’ a sa carte.) Then, by putting tu after the verb, we turn y’a sa carte into an informally asked yes-no question: y’a-tu sa carte? (Remember, this tu doesn’t mean you.)

In other questions, y’a-tu can mean is there?, are there?

Y’a-tu un problème?
Is there a problem?

This time, though, y’a is an informal pronunciation of il y a, not il a. This informal pronunciation occurs because the il of il y a is losing its L sound again: i’ y a. Then, by putting tu after the verb again, we create an informally asked yes-no question: y’a-tu?, is there?, are there?

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Here are a few more examples of French overheard in Montréal today, and that I’ve managed to remember long enough to create a new post! 😀

Y’a-tu une caisse pop?

Is there a (Desjardins) credit union (around here)?

A man who passed by in his car asked me this.

Y’a-tu is an informal equivalent of est-ce qu’il y a? You’ll remember that y’a is a spoken pronunciation of il y a. The tu after it turns it into a yes-no question.

Caisse pop is an informal abbreviation of caisse populaire. Desjardins is a caisse populaire.

Attention à gauche!

Look out on your left!

A man on a bike yelled this just before passing by some people walking on a bike path. He said à gauche because he was coming up quickly from behind the walkers and intended to pass on their left.

It’s also possible to say just à gauche! or attention!

Jus d’ananas

Pineapple juice

The final s in ananas isn’t pronounced — anana.

The letter a appears three times in ananas — you’ll probably hear the last a pronounced like the vowel sound heard in the word bas in this video (at 0:15) or in the words pas and chat in this video (at 0:20). The other two sound like the vowel sound in la, sa, ta, etc.

T’es ben fin.

That’s really nice/kind of you.
(literally, you’re really nice/kind)

Fin is often used in the sense of nice or kind, like gentil. The feminine form is fine. T’es, an informal contraction of tu es, sounds like té. Ben, from bien, rhymes with fin. (A better spelling would be bin, which is phonetic, but I use ben here because it’s the more common spelling.) Ben means really here.

If this had been said to a woman, it would be t’es ben fine.

Even though fin and fine resemble English words, they’re not — pronounce them as French words. As for gentil, remember that the final L isn’t pronounced. In the feminine form gentille, the final ille sounds the ille in fille. Be careful not to use that ille sound in the masculine gentil, which just ends in an i sound.

C’est gentil, merci!
That’s kind of you, thanks!

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I thought it would be useful to take another look at how il y a transforms in colloquial language to y’a, and to y’a-tu when used as part of a yes-no question. It’s a frequently occurring feature, so it’s a good idea to become familiar with it.

In the OffQc guide 1000, sentence number 111 reads:

Y’a-tu moyen d’avoir un remboursement?
Is there any way to get a refund?
Any chance of getting a refund?

Y’a-tu moyen de is an informal equivalent of est-ce qu’il y a moyen de. You’ll remember that il y a is generally pronounced y’a in informal language. By adding tu after it, we can turn it into a yes-no question.

y’a-tu…?
= il y a-[oui ou non]…?

That tu is definitely not the second-person singular tu meaning you.

In the same way, tu in all of the following is used to ask a yes-no question:

C’est correct. It’s fine, ok.
C’est-tu correct? Is it fine, ok?

Ça se peut. It’s possible.
Ça se peut-tu? Is that possible?

J’ai vraiment dit ça, moi. I really said that.
J’ai-tu vraiment dit ça, moi? Did I really say that?

Back to y’a-tu…?, remember that this means is there…? or are there…? Wherever you might have used est-ce qu’il y a…?, you’re likely to hear y’a-tu…? used spontaneously in conversations, although questions with est-ce que remain entirely possible.

Y’a-tu quelque chose qui va pas?
Is something the matter? Is something wrong?
(Quelque chose might be pronounced informally as què’que chose, where què’que sounds like “kek.”)

Y’a-tu moyen de bloquer les alertes/les notifications?
Is there a way to block the alerts/notifications?
(e.g., on a smartphone)

In an older post on OffQc, we came across the use of y’a-tu moyen de in a scene from 19-2, when a father in a moment of anger yelled at his son:

Y’a-tu moyen d’êt’ obéi dans c’te maison-là?!
Is there any chance of being obeyed in this house?!

Êt’ is an informal pronunciation of être, where the -re ending isn’t enunciated. C’te is a contraction of cette. To pronounce it, first say te. Then put an s sound at the beginning of it: s’te.

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Understand spoken Québécois French and sound less bookish when speaking: 1000 examples of use (#945)

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Y’a-tu quelqu’un?
Is anybody there?

What does y’a-tu mean in this question?

During conversations, maybe you’ve noticed that il y a is almost always pronounced colloquially as y’a (sounds like ).

Y’a-tu quelqu’un?
= Il y a-tu quelqu’un?

The tu after the verb here signals that we’re being asked a yes-no question.

Y’a-tu quelqu’un?
= Il y a-tu quelqu’un?
= Il y a-[oui ou non] quelqu’un?

In the song Maudite jalousie (listen on YouTube here), Kevin Parent sings:

Y’a-tu quelqu’un qui peut m’expliquer?
Is there anybody who can explain to me?
Can anybody explain to me?

A question beginning with y’a-tu…? means the same thing as one that begins with est-ce qu’il y a…?

Y’a-tu quelqu’un que ça intéresse?
Est-ce qu’il y a quelqu’un que ça intéresse?
Is there anybody who’s interested? Is anybody interested? Is there anybody who cares? Does anybody care?

Y’a-tu vraiment une différence entre les deux?
Est-ce qu’il y a vraiment une différence entre les deux?
Is there really a difference between the two?

Do you remember how tu is pronounced by most Québécois? It sounds like tsu. Y’a-tu sounds like yâ-tsu.

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