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Tag Archives: Patois
The last post presented vocabulary and expressions which are used primarily in the Québec City region of Québec (although some of the vocabulary may occasionally be heard in other regions of Québec the odd time).
The last post covered “A to E”. This post will cover “F to Z”. Afterwards we will move on to other region-specific vocabulary of Québec.
Instead of using International French as the comparison vocabulary, I’ll concentrate more on Montréal and greater-Québec vocabulary for base comparisons. In this sense, this list could be considered a “Québec City versus Montréal/Québec Province vocabulary” list.
The vocabulary is presented in the following format:
Word “X” (this will be the word or expression which is most apt to be heard in the Québec City region)
- Word “Y”(this would be the equivalent which could be heard more in the Montréal region or province-wide). I will also include the English equivalent as well as reference notes.
Again. just keep in mind, there is no hard and fast rule about these expressions, things change with time, some of these may be odd-balls or not always said by the majority, geographic lines are blurry for words and expressions, and individuals may say things differently. Let’s keep going…
faces dédaigneuses, des
- kind of a “Whaaat???” face, with your lip curled up and nose scruntched (you will hear this expression elsewhere in Québec… it is standard vocabulary – but I’ve heard it much more frequently in the Québec City region than elsewhere). In Montréal, people will be more apt to just say “des faces”.
faire le train
- soigner les animaux, s’occuper des animaux (sur la ferme). Animal husbandry (raising / looking after animals). Said more in rural zones. Likely comes from leading animals, such as cattle, out to pasture or watering holes.
- ventilateur = electric fan. Careful: This word can be heard in Montréal as well, but it is masculine in Québec City, but feminine in Montréal (une fan). Careful: a “fan” (such as a sports fan, or pop-star fan) also exists in French, but it is masculine.
- robinet (English = faucet). In Montréal, a similar word exists, but it is sometimes pronounced “faucé”, although it is spelled “faucet” as in English (in this case, the “et” at the end comes with an “é” pronounciation in Montréal)
- youngsters, kid, teenager (in Montréal, we’d generally just say “des jeunes” or “des ados”) Adolescents / teens can be heard saying “mon gang de flos” = my gang of school friends / peers [group of young people who are friends]). I’ve heard stague (male) and staille (female) denote the same thing in other regions across Canada, but I think this is quite dated (perhaps 1980s or earlier).
fourrer la truie
- remplir la poêle à bois – put wood in the (wood) stove. A “truie” (f) is an Eastern Québec and forested Québec word for a small wood stove. Note… fourrer, in the “true” sense of the word, actually meant to stuff and oven or stove many decades ago, as well as over the past few centuries – which is why this expression exists. However, the word fourrer today has taken on a much different meaning. The word became twisted with time.
frite, un (masculine)
- une frite (feminine) = fries, i.e.: French fries (careful… when said in the “singular”, this word is masculine in the Québec City region, but feminine in Montréal). In the Québec City Region, it can sometimes be heard when actually ordered fries. Usage example: At the fast food counter, when you want to say “I’ll have an order of fries”, in Québec City you can say “Je prendrai un frite”. In Montréal, however, you’ll be more apt to hear people order in the plural: “Je prendrai des frites”. But it becomes confusing when you want to just ask for a petit(e), moyen(ne), or grand(e). But frankly – nobody who works at a fast-food joint cares. So don’t worry. If worse comes to worse, just ask for “des frites”. Perhaps the best way to pretend that Montréal is a boy, Québec City is a girl (and apply this rule to fries and buses).—— Unrelated note note: An expression which uses the word frites is un casseau de frites. “Un casseau” is the little basket in which fast food joints serve fries. The other context in which you’ll use “casseau” would be for a casseau of berries (the little basket of strawberries or blueberries at the supermarket). “Casseau” is standard French, spoken everywhere in Québec and Francophone Canada.
- des souliers = shoes
- la coulée = gravey made from meat (the kind you pour over your meat & potatos)
- chewing gum (also heard in Montréal, but is spelled gomme). In Europe you’ll hear chewing, or chewing-gum (the latter you’ll also hear in Montréal).
main, la (pronounced mayne)
- the drag, strip (in the sense of a road)… “Faire un tour sur la mayne” means “cruising down the drag /strip / street” in a car.
miroirs à souvenir, des
- photos : very interesting expression, especially one which could be of interest to linguists. Here’s the story as I understand it: At the time photos were being invented, the invention did not yet have a formal name. Some people called them “memory mirors” in French, before the word “photograph” existed (recall that some of the first photographs were invented in France). The word made it to this side of the Atlantic, and photos continued to be called “miroirs à souvenir” in some isolated communities in Québec, right up until very recent generations. I’ve been told some people can still remember their grandparents or parents calling photos “des miroirs à souvenir”. The fact that such an old word still exists to a certain extent illustrates just how isolated some communities were in Québec from one another up until the mid 20th century.
moine (pronounced “mwenne”, not “mwanne” like a monk)
- perceuse (a drill for drilling things) (France = foret)
- retrocaveuse (backhoe)
petacles (can have two pronounciations, with or without “é”)
- patates (pommes de terre) = potatos
pétacles (sometimes “des pétacles frîtes” if fried)
- patates (pommes de terre) = potatos (same as the above, but with a different pronounciation by adding an « é »)
pinces qui barre, des
- pinces-étaux or serre-joint en C, or serre-joint (international French terms you’ll see written on the packaging at Canadian Tire or Home Depot) = self-locking clamps, C-clamps, or vice-clamps.
- This is interesting, because you’ll hear it in Montréal and Ouataouis, as well as Ontario. But in these latter places it usually refers to a goatee, or facial hair when the “chin” is involved. In Québec City, you’ll hear it take the same meaning as elsewhere, however in Québec city you’ll also sometimes hear it refer to only a “mustache”. (which is generally a usage unique to Québec City).
pépites de poulet, des
- croquettes de poulet, nugget de poulet = chicken nuggets, little fried chunks of chicken. Some people may also refer to fried chicken strips as “pipites de poulet”.
- pour emporter. This phrase is the “evil twin” (or the “better twin” – take your pick) to the Canadian English equivalent. This is what you say if you want take-out instead of dining-in. In Québec city people might know you’re not local if you say “pour emporter”, whereas in Montréal, you would generally say “pour emporter”. This is quite interesting, because almost the exact equivalent situation exists in Canadian English between Eastern and Western Canada. Manitoba and anywhere further West = “to stay”, whereas Ontario and anywhere further East = “for here” (I mentioned this a couple of posts ago).
- chaussures de sport = sports shoes
soute, une (ie: une soute de ski-doo)
- un habit de neige. (note : habit is pronounced habee), a snow suit (often one piece, but sometimes just snow pants… the big puffy kind kids wear)
- lavabo, évier (a sink). Here’s a language-learning tip for people learning Canadian French… in general, (1) évier = kitchen sink for washing things, (2) lavabo = a sink for washing your hands or face in the washroom/restroom, (3) cuve = big deep sink you might find in the laundry room (usually those big, white plastic ones).
tarte à hubard
- tarte à rhubarbe = rhubarb pie
- espadrilles = tennis shoes, running shoes
tirer la chaîne
- tirer la chasse d’eau, flocher (flush the toilet, with the 1st one being international French, and the 2nd one, flocher, being very informal French you’ll hear across Canada)
- petit poêle à bois, small wood stove (careful because it has a completely different meaning in International French and in Europe where it is a cochonne = sow)
- ventilateur, electric fan
The next post will cover vocabulary and expressions in a different region of Québec. Stay tuned to find out which region… 😉
SERIES: “REGIONAL” VOCABULARY AND EXPRESSIONS (6 POSTS)
- “Regional” Vocabulary and Expressions within Québec – Introduction (#169) – PART 1
- “Regional” Vocabulary and Expressions – Québec City Region – A to E (#170) – PART 2
- “Regional” Vocabulary and Expressions – Québec City Region – F to Z (#171) – PART 3
- “Regional” Vocabulary and Expressions – La Beauce Region (#172) – PART 4
- “Regional” Vocabulary and Expressions – Saguenay Lac St-Jean (#173) – PART 5
- “Regional” Vocabulary and Expressions – Other Regions of Québec (#174) – PART 6