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Mariloup Wolfe – and Québec’s own scandal of sexual harassment against women (#119)o

This is my last night in Québec City.  Tomorrow I have to go back to Montréal for more meetings, and then back to Toronto.  A bit of advice… if you’re going to visit Québec City – do it in the two or three weeks running up to  Christmas.  It’s the low season for tourists, prices are cheaper – and you’ll have the whole place to yourself.  Places which are normally overran with tourists in the summer are completely deserted right now.  You just need a tuque and life is great.  The whole city is decked out for Christmas, carolers are walking around, there are Euro-style Christmas markets in the squares, and there’s no better way to get into the season.  Out of curiosity, I took a quick look at hotel rates, and most places are half (or even less than half) the rates which are charged during the summer season.

It’s starting to feel like Christmas

xms.qc.cty

Enough of the Christmas stuff… let’s now get into this post.

The next episode of “Qui êtes-vous?” will air across Canada on Radio-Canada on Monday, December 22 at 9:00pm.  See if you can catch it.   It will feature Marilou Wolfe. 

Marilou Wolfe… boy… I’m not sure how far to go with this post — simply for the fact that I’m sure Marilou Wolfe simply wants to get on with life after experiencing a more-than-traumatic year (she probably needs breathing space, and I’m sure she’s not looking for more public attention than what she has already received).  Therefore I’m going to be very tactful and respectful considering everything that has happened to her.  Thus, I’ll offer a summary of what happened only in the most general of terms.

For the last couple of months, Canada has been gripped with women across the country coming out and telling their stories of past sexual harassment.  I don’t really need to go into that aspect of things, since everyone is aware of what is happening (it was triggered by the Ghomeshi affair, amplified by the parliamentary affair, and then women across the country have been coming out ever since with their own personal experiences).

However, many people in English Canada may not be aware that Québec started to go through these events a little sooner than the rest of Canada.  Québec had its own public celebrity scandal – and it gripped not only Montréwood, but the entire province.

Approximately 14 months ago, a very famous Québec comedian, Gab Roy, published a post on his personal blog describing very explicit sexual acts he wanted to perform on the celebrity actress, Mariloup Wolfe.  (In Anglophone Canada, imagine if one of the best known comedians randomly described to the world how he wanted to perform obscene sexual acts with one of our best known actresses… it would be a huge scandal and the outrage would be enormous).

And what resulted in Québec was huge – and what happened was awful.  I, like most other people, read Roy’s blog in complete and utter disbelief.    The public was taken aghast.  Actually, now that I think of it, the public outcry and anger in Québec was somewhat comparable to what we’re now seeing with the Ghomeshi affair.  In this respect, Anglophone Canada and Francophone Canada very much think in the same vein, and our values in these kinds of issues definately point in the same direction.  I’m not sure that many any other countries would have reacted in the same way that Canada as a whole has reacted – these things really struck a chord across the country and across our linguistic lines.   (As an aside, the Ghomeshi affair and suspension of Parliamentary MPs is also garnering just as much attention in Québec as they are in Anglophone Canada).

The Gab Roy / Mariloup Wolfe scandal came to a head about 9 months ago when Wolfe sued Roy for $300,000 for public defamation — money which Roy didn’t have.  He quit is career as a comedian, and basically dropped from the face of the earth (his last public appearance was on Tout le monde en parle, during which people were less than impressed with his public apology).  For readers in the US, personal lawsuits are not nearly as common in Canada as they are in the US, and thus they have a lot more punch here and they can be life-breakers, not just financially, but for careers, relationships, everything really.

The final chapter in the affair occurred just a couple of weeks ago, when Mariloup Wolfe abandoned her $300,000 lawsuit.  Gab Roy simply didn’t have the money, and the two settled out of court.   In the end, the point was made that society simply will not tolerate this kind of behaviour.  Over the past year Wolfe has played a major role in bringing attention to the issue of sexual harassment in Canada, and for this she can be credited with single handedly helping to change Canada’s views and awareness towards this issue.  That’s a huge weight for anyone to carry on their shoulders – and she did it with conviction and principled action.

Anyway, enough said about that (like I said, I’m sure she wants to get on with life, and would now like to be associated with what she used to be known for;  an impressive and respectable acting career).

Wolfe is a very successful and respected award-winning actress.  She has been in the public eye for about 15 years (she was born in 78, so she has been an actress for her entire adult life).   The shows and movies she has appeared in may not mean much to Anglophone audiences, but they are certainly well known to Francophone audiences – some of which are, or were the highest rated shows on television (La vie la vie, Caserne 24, Unité 9 and 30 vies).   She also appeared in movies of varying degrees of success (one of the most successful was C.R.A.Z.Y., but she has appeared in over 10 films in the past 15 years).

On the family-roots television program “Qui êtes-vous?”, Wolfe discovers her Acadian ancestry (she makes the trip to Acadia to discover her family’s links to the expulsion of Acadians), and she also travels to Germany to discover her German roots.  I likely won’t have a chance to catch the episode myself next Monday, but if you watch it, leave some comments and share your impressions of it.

Mariloup Wolfe’s official website can be viewed here:  http://www.mariloupwolfe.com/

Let’s go fishing… and learn hard-core French while you’re at it! – Post 3 of 6 (#325)

SERIES:  COLLOQUIAL (SPOKEN) FRENCH – HARD-CORE LEARNING EXERCISE (6 POSTS)

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Here is the next in the series of colloquial conversations. (I’ve been super busy lately, so I’m a little slower getting these posts out).

I’m rating this one a notch higher on the difficulty level because of the speed with which things are being said.   Yet, this is perhaps normal speed for many people in a general conversation.

You’ll notice a few things (apart from the faster pace):

  • You will start to hear many more contractions,
  • Verb tenses and proper spellings are flying out the window (which allows for a faster pace of speech),
  • You’ll start to hear extremely colloquial expressions (such as “débile mentale”),
  • You’ll hear some English words and expressions which have become part of standard every-day colloquial speech (“yes”, “feeding-frenzy”, etc.)

There are a few things about how this guy speaks which identifies him as being from the Québec City region:

  • The way he pronounces certain words, such as
    • “pêche” (with a short “ê”)
    • “écoute” (with a closed “ou”),
    • “là” (with a short and higher “à”), etc.
  • People from Québec City also tend to say “conte” more often than the full word “raconte”

Try your best to follow along and become accustomed to the rhythm of everyday street-talk.

The good thing about these audio tracts is that I created closed captions, accompanied with a translation further down, with which to allow you to read and listen to segments over and over again until you are comfortable that you are able to distinguish all the words being said.

Don’t forget to turn on the closed captions by clicking the CC button.

Have fun with it — these types of colloquial conversations are very difficult to come by online.

I say this because most online material generally features

  • monologues or
  • very international / standardized French from professional interview programs,
  • the news,
  • documentaries, or
  • sitcoms purposely written with with only simple colloquialisms.  Industry professionals say that sitcoms colloquialisms are written to such a basic point that any 6 year old could understand them (I’m serious when I say that).  Thus, even if you listen to sitcoms such as Les parents, Unité 9, etc, you still will not get the “full picture” of how many adults normally speak.

But what I’m giving you here is something very different from the above — it’s the real-deal on how many people normally speak (not what you hear on television).

Again, I underlined bits and pieces of vocabulary which you may wish to learn / pay attention to.

Difficulty levels 3

cc

Caller

  • 0:00 – Oui Bonjour. J’ai une belle histoire de pêche pour toi. 
  • Yes hello. I have good fishing story for you.

Host

  • 0:02 – Go, chu prêt.
  • Go, I’m ready.

Caller

  • 0:03 – Il faut que je (te la) (ra)conte tout de suite?
  • Yes, should I tell it right away?

Host

  • 0:05 – Mais oui, t’est en ondes. C’est là que ça se passe.
  • Well yes, you’re on air. It’s happening now.

Caller

  • 0:07 – Hey, salut salut salut. Écoutes, j’étais l’année passée à peu près début juillet au Lac-des-Neiges avec des chums.
  • Hey! Hi hi hi. Listen, last year, around the beginning of July, I was at Lac-des-Neiges with some buddies.

Host

  • 0:13 – Ouais
  • Yah…

Caller

  • 0:14 – Écoutez. Y a venté.  Je pense d’hier d’écoute.    Les trois jours qu’on était là il a venté tout le temps.   À la dernière soirée il était huit heure et quart (8:15).  La soirée était vraiment entamée.  
  • It was windy.  I’m thinking back like yesterday, listen.  It was windy the whole three days we were there.  The last night it was 8:15.  The night was in full swing.
  • 0:24 – Le vent tombe.  On devait cru à une explosion d’éphémère incroyable.   Ça sortait des bois.  Des buissons se causaient de désastres. 
  • Then the wind came. You would have thought it was an incredibly instant explosion.  It was coming out of the woods.  The bushes were causing a disaster zone. 

Host

  • 0:30 – Ouais
  • Yup…

Caller

  • 0:31 – C’était incroyable. Complètement là.  Je sors ma canne à moucher.  Je commence à moucher.  Il a eu un début de feeding-frenzy absolument… hein… j’étais là à couper le souffle.  J’ai vu des dots de poissons, et dots de truites à moucher pendant qu’ils mangent…
  • It was incredible. Like seriously.  I took out my fly-fishing rod.  I started to cast and fly-fish.  It was the start of an absolute feeding-frenzy… uh… it took my breath away.  I saw the spots the fish were creating [on the surface of the water], and spots from trouts which were going after flies as they were eating…

Host

  • 0:45 – Ils avaient faim là.
  • They were like, hungry.

Caller

  • 0:46 – Ils avaient faim, mais ç’a créé vraiment un feeding-frenzie là. Vraiment un effe  Ils ont tous remonté au complet.
  • They were hungry, but really, it, like, created a feeding-frenzie. Really in a lively flash.  They all came up to the surface, completely.

Host

  • 0:53 – Ça bouillonnait.
  • It was boiling.

Caller

  • 0:54 – Aïe, regarde. C’était débile mentale.  Au bout du quai j’étais sorti une truite de neuf et demi.  Pis (re)garde, écoute, c’est juste parce que j’étais le seul qui avait sa canne à moucher prêt…
  • Wow, listen. It was completely mind blowing.  At the end of the dock I brought in a 9-1/2 [inch] trout.  And look, listen, it was only because I was the only one who had his fly-fishing rod ready…
  • 1:03 – euh… (é)coute, j’sais pas s’il y a beaucoup de monde qui qui a c’t expérience. C’est… qu’ils ont l’expérience d’t’ça dans leur vie.  Mais c’était absolument incroyable.  Vraiment là
  • Er… listen, I don’t know if there are many people who have had that experience. It’s… I mean who has had that experience there in their lives?  But it was absolutely incredible.  Like really.

Host

  • 1:10 – Ah, ben c’est cool comme ça. Merci d’avoir appelé.  Pis euh, quand t’es là, c’est toi le guerrier-pêcheur, pis ta canne est prête, mettons que tu dois avoir une petite fierté un peu.
  • Huh, well, that there is pretty cool. Thanks for calling.  And, er… when you’re the one there, it’s you who is the fishing warrior, and your rod is ready, and let’s say that’s gotta give you a little dose of pride.

Caller

  • 1:20 – Ah, écoute! J’ai des moments, des moments que je vais jamais oublier dans ma vie. 
  • Uh, listen! I’ve had moments, moment which I’ll never forget in my life.

Host

  • 1:23 – Hey, merci d’avoir appelé.
  • Hey, thanks for having called.

Caller

  • 1:24 – Hey, merci.
  • Hey, thanks.

Host

  • 1:25 – Salut.  Bonne journée.
  • See ya. Have a good day.

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SERIES:  COLLOQUIAL (SPOKEN) FRENCH – HARD-CORE LEARNING EXERCISE (6 POSTS)

Guylaine Tremblay – An “eavesdropping” short series: Moffatt-Tremblay – Post 2 of 3 (#151)

Few television actresses are as recognizable as Guylaine Tremblay.  She has played central rolls in some of Montréwood’s most successful TV drama and comedy series, which have included La Petite vie, Omerta, Unité 9, and Les Rescapés.

I recently listened to an on-air radio interview in which Marina Orsini interviewed Guylaine Tremblay.  In the interview, I think Orsini hit the nail on the head when she told Tremblay she believes Tremblay’s public appeal lies in her being someone the public can identify with – the person who could be anyone’s sister, mother, or daughter – and that it is not only reflected through her acting rolls, but how she leads her life in general.

Tremblay is the mother of adopted daughters (the theme of not carrying one’s own children is a theme which Tremblay and Ariane Moffatt discuss in detail – which I present in the next post), and lives with her husband.

I will say, one thing which caught my eye (actually quite surprisingly) was when Tremblay politicised herself (at least in the sense of giving herself a public political label in the mind of people who have followed her career).  I say this because, over the course of her 30 year career, she’s someone I, and others, grew up watching in Western Canada (she is very well respected by Francophones, Francophiles, and French speaking Anglophones all across Canada) – and she was someone I always considered to be part of my own cultural sphere. She unexpectedly appeared (at least for me it was unexpected) on stage at the Parti Québécois’Rassemblement national” prior to last-year’s election.   That doesn’t bother me in-and-of-itself (I think political engagement is important and a necessary part of our democracy – and a society must have to have opposing political views to make keep the democratic process healthy and make it work).  But it has always felt like a case of “innocence lost” when actors and actresses take on a high-profile political stance (regardless of the political party or ideology) — and when they do, it always seems to feel like they jumped off the pedestal on which you purposely wanted to place them.   When I saw Tremblay get on stage that night, I can distinctly remember thinking to myself “Oh man! Guylaine, of all the things you could have done, why did you have to go and choose to do ‘this thing’?”.   It’s a bit disconcerting, because as the public, we tend to think that our actors and actresses belong to all of us, regardless of political stripes.  In that sense, they are so often a point of commonality and unity in a world often filled with petty divisions and differences.  That’s one of the beautiful things of the acting profession which should be cherished.  But then some go and take that feeling away by placing themselves in a political camp – basically saying, there’s “us” and then there’s “you”.  It’s just not a nice feeling.

But I suppose at the end of the day, there is still a human behind every acting role, and everyone has the right to express their political beliefs – and we should respect everyone’s right to make such choices.  It’s maybe not a pleasant reality, but we live in a very real world, not in utiopia.

Regardless, she’s still an amazingly talented actor, one of the best Québec & Canada has – and all the drama series in which she appears would not have nearly the same degree of a human element without her (she is a very human person – and anytime I see her true personality in interviews, I really get the impression she could so easily have been any of the bubbly, kind, caring, and empathetic people I grew up with in Alberta, or anywhere, really – be it friends or family… that’s why I really like her).

In the next post, we’ll take a brief look at a summary of the conversation Guylaine Tremblay and Ariane Moffatt had when they met and shared a one-on-one meal on L’Autre côté à la table d’à côté.

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MINI “EAVESDROPPING” SERIES

Patrice L’Écuyer (#118)

This is the 5th post in the series “Qui êtes-vous?”.  I continue to write this series while on the road (I left Montréal this morning after meetings and catching up with a few friends for a couple of days, and I just arrived in Québec City where I’ll be for a few days for work stuff).

I lucked out with an Amazing 26th floor hotel room view of Québec City; great views of the old city, the St. Lawerence and another view looking West. 

Htl vw 1 Htl vw 2

… and a perfect perch in Place Royal Square from where to write this post (this is the spot where Québec City was founded in 1608, and where Canada’s first government was established, as well as for all of New France – from here down to Louisiana).

Pl.Ryl

Back to the post at hand…

Patrice L’Écuyer is a famous television game show host, variety show host and actor.  He used to even have his own late night talk show, named “L’Écuyer”, in a David Letterman-like style (from 1995 to 2002 on Radio-Canada).

For Anglophones, his last name might be a little more difficult to pronounce.  “L’Écuyer” is pronounced Lay-Cwee-Yay.

As part of his acting career, he was a co-actor with a couple of other people mentioned in this same series of posts; with Marina Orsini in “Lance et compte”, & “Filles de caleb”, and with Dominique Michel in “Le Bye-Bye 1988” (the annual televised New Year’s send-off comedy show).  He also appeared in other Bye-Bye celebrations (one of the most-watched television programs of the entire calendar year).   He is one of the main actors in the very popular TV drama series Unité 9 (it was this past year’s most watched TV drama series… click here for the former post on this subject).

Being a game-show host has added to his notoriety (think of him as being the Drew Carey, or Alex Trabec of Montréwood).  He hosted the game shows “Détecteurs de mensonges”, “l’Union fait la force”, “Qui l’eût cru” (this last one is a good grammar sentence if your French is at an intermediate level 😉 )… and he’s currently hosting the after-school game show “Des squelettes dans le placard” (Squeletons in the Closet) on Radio-Canada.

If you want to work on improving your listening skills of informal street-level French, perhaps check out “Des squellettes dans le placard” on weekday late afternoons (currently in its 9th season).   The idea of the game show is to have several celebrity guests each tell an absurd, and sometimes difficult-to-believe story.  But out of all the stories, only one is actually true – you have to guess who is telling the true story (those who have the most correct guesses then win).    See if you can follow the stories – sometimes they can be quite funny (I would assume this could be a great way for you to practice your French if you’re at an intermediate level – and the show airs across Canada).  The show’s website can be viewed by clicking HERE.

Another game show he currently hosts is “Le moment de vérité” (The Moment of Truth), again on Radio-Canada (currently in its 5th season).  This game show has more of a reality-TV element to it.   Participants are grouped into teams, and they are given a week to accomplish difficult tasks.  At the end of the week, they are brought into the studio and have to finish the tasks during the final taping.   The show’s official website can be viewed by clicking HERE

Patrice l’Écuyer’s latest variety show is “Prière de ne pas envoyer de fleurs” (Please Do Not Send Flowers).   Celebrities are invited to the program so they can “die”… well… not really die, but fictitiously die.   Their friends, colleagues, and loved ones are then invited to the show to eulogize the newly-dead celebrity.  In their last testimony to the deceased, people say the craziest things about the celebrities, and it can become quite funny.   The show’s official website can be viewed by clicking HERE.  

All these roles make L’Écuyer one of Radio-Canada’s flagship stars.

Back to the family roots program “Qui êtes-vous?”, Patrice L’Écuyer found out that he has a forefather born in France in 1634, but who immigrated to Montréal as a young adult.  This began his family line in the New World – 10 generations.   He even had a family member who was involved in the Patriot Rebellions of the 1830s.   L’Écuyer travelled to France to investigate his roots.  Interestingly, his family came from the La Rochelle area of France, which, out of all the areas of France which sent colonialists to New France, the La Rochelle region had one of the greatest influences on Québec, Ontario and Western Canadian French accents (hmmmm, perhaps his direct ancestors spoke much in the way we speak today).   Just a quick anecdote on this subjet… I knew a person who was from La Rochelle, France, and some of the unique ways they speak today in La Rochelle (different from the rest of France) still very much resemble ways we speak here in Canada (but are not spoken elsewhere in France, only in the La Rochelle region of France and Canada)– they are shared remnants of dialects which existed in the 1500s and 1600s.   Examples:  “Que c’est que t’as (fait hier)?”,  “Où ce qu’y est allé?”, etc.).

Montréwood’s 10 hottest sitcoms and TV drama series (#77)

A couple of days ago Le journal de Montréal (one of Montréal’s largest daily newspapers) published an article highlighting 10 sitcoms and TV drama series (téléromans in French) which draw in over one million viewers per episode.

This post might be of added interest to Anglophones who want to better their French, since many of the programs listed below are shown across Canada on television.

The viewership numbers given are strictly for television views, and do not include online views (which would boost the numbers even higher).

1st Place:  Unité 9 – 2,130,000 viewers per episode.

Radio-Canada every Tuesday at 8:00pm.

Official website: http://unite9.radio-canada.ca/

Wikipedia (French only, but feel free to use Google Translate):  click HERE 

2nd Place:  Yamaska – 1,500,000 viewers per episode.

TVA every Monday at 8:00pm.

Official website:  http://yamaska.tva.canoe.ca/accueil

Wikipedia article:  click HERE

3rd Place:  Toute la vérité – 1,300,000 viewers per episode.

TVA every Monday at 9:00pm.

Official website:  http://tva.canoe.ca/emissions/toutelaverite/accueil

Wikipedia (French only, but feel free to use Google Translate):  click HERE  

4th Place:  Complexe G1,230,000 viewers per episode.

TVA every Wednesday at 9:00pm.

Official website: http://tva.canoe.ca/emissions/complexe-g/saison1/concept

Wikipedia article:  None.

5th Place:  Au secours de Béatrice – 1,170,000 viewers per episode.

TVA every Wednesday at 8:00pm.

Official website:  http://tva.canoe.ca/emissions/au-secours-de-beatrice/

Wikipedia article:  None.

6th Place :  Mémoires vives – 1,165,000 viewers per episode.

Radio-Canada every Tuesday at 9:00pm.

Official website: http://ici.radio-canada.ca/tele/memoires-vives/saison-2

Wikipedia (French only, but feel free to use Google Translate):  click HERE  

7th Place:  O’ – 1,160,000 viewers per episode.

TVA every Tuesday at 9:00pm.

Official website: http://tva.canoe.ca/emissions/o/accueil

Wikipedia (French only, but feel free to use Google Translate):  click HERE  

8th Place:  Les pêcheurs1,070,000 viewers per episode.

Radio-Canada every Wednesday at 9:00pm.

Official website: http://lespecheurs.radio-canada.ca/

Wikipedia (French only, but feel free to use Google Translate):  click HERE  

9th Place:  Le dôme – 1,050 viewers per episode.

TVA every Tuesday at 8:00pm.

Official website:  http://tva.canoe.ca/emissions/le-dome/concept

Wikipedia article:  No site covering the Québec program, but the Montréwood French adaptation’s plot is the same       as the U.S. program, click HERE

10th Place:  L’Auberge du chien noir – 940,000 viewers per episode

Radio-Canada every Monday at 8:00pm.

Official Website:  http://ici.radio-canada.ca/tele/auberge-du-chien-noir/2014-2015/

Wikipedia (French only, but feel free to use Google Translate):  click HERE  

All of these shows air once a week.  In total, they attract almost 13,000,000 views a week – that’s a LOT of television.

A number of these shows feature people already mentioned in earlier posts.

TVSCH

Just another few words on how these TV shows can help you improve your French…  Two of the largest challenges when learning a language are ;

  • not hearing every-day street-language used in day-to-day contexts (ie: non-textbook language), and
  • knowing what might be the most entertaining sources with when searching material to help you learn.

The actors in these programs are using everyday street language in day-to-day circumstances.  The shows can also help to capture and retain your attention – after all, they are amongst the most entertaining and popular right now on Montréwood television.    When watching them, make sure you have a dictionary on hand to look up words you repeatedly hear (there are many dictionary apps you can download into your phone).

When I was learning Mandarin Chinese, the above two problems posed huge road-blocks for me.  My problem at the time was that I was given a very short window (of about 2 years) in which I had to bring my non-working-level Chinese up to a fully functioning working level (I was eventually required to conduct 100% of my work in Chinese:  reports, emails, training, meetings, writing, etc).  I therefore had to find methods which worked well, and worked fast, and this was one of the methods I used (with Chinese TV programs of course).

If this method can help to learn Chinese, then I’m sure it can be equally as effective in learning French.

Have fun !