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“Regional” Vocabulary and Expressions – Other Regions of Québec – 6 of 6 (#174)

This is the last post in our several-part series on regional vocabulary & expressions from different parts of Québec.  This last post will cover variations from several regions around Québec. A map of some of these regions was given a few posts ago (you can view the map by clicking here).

The vocabulary in this post is presented in the following format:

Name of the REGION or city:  Word “X”  (this will be the word or expression which is most apt to be heard in the specific region)

  • Word “Y” (this would be the equivalent of what could be heard more in the Montréal region or province-wide).  I will also include the English equivalent as well as reference notes.

Once again, there is no hard and fast rule regarding this vocabulary (after all, this vocabulary is based on very informal colloquialisms [informal oral speech]).  Words change with time, and a number of what is presented here may not be said by most people in the stated regions, some words may have fallen out of use with time, and others may also extend beyond the stated region.

Bas-Charlevoix: Pour que c’est fait pas simple de même?

  • Pourquoi tu fais simple comme ça?

Brayon / Acadie: Cuillère à marde

  • louch = ladle (it gets its name because it used to empty bed pans in the olden days – yum yum… eat your soup Johnny!)

Brayon:  ça va d’être

  • Ça va être

Brayonespère moi

  • attends moi


  • Mouchoir = Kleenex

Brayon:  un bat-à-ball

  • une batte de baseball = baseball bat. (note:  un club de baseball is a baseball team/club, but it can sometimes also be heard as the term for a baseball bat… but it sounds strange and hick’ish when used to refer to a bat).

Chaudière-Appalaches:  Fouettes tes brousailleuses

  • Clean up ones mop (ie: clean up one’s scruffy hair).  Bousailleux means scruffy (don’t ask me why it’s said in the feminine form in the above expression or when referring to someone or oneself when cleaning up their scruffiness. It’s a weird expression)

Chaudière-Appalaches:  hauller le char

  • pousser le char (en panne) – To push a car which is broken down.

Chaudière-Appalaches:  frock de cuire, une

  • une veste en cuire, un gilet en cuire = a leather vest

Chaudières-Appalaches:  pantrie, la

  • le comptoir (de cuisine) = the kitchen counter

Côte-nord:  beigne, une

  • The word is correct, but the gender can be feminine in the Côte-nord, whereas it is masculine in Montréal and elsewhere.  (I also met someone once from La Tuque, far north of Shawinigan, who also refered to beigne in the feminine).   An interesting note:  In France, un beigne (masculine) can sometimes (but rarely) be said for a doughnut, but is best known as a “beignet“.  However, when said in the feminine in France, une beigne, it means a slap (une gifle).  As far as I know, it does not have this latter meaning (gifle) in Québec or Canada (not that I’ve ever heard at any rate).   Another quirk:  note that the technical name for a doughnut, in the dictionary, is actually beignet… but nobody ever says this in Canada or Québec (and likely most people would not even be aware it is technically called a beignet.  Menus in Canada which serve doughnuts only show them as beigne (http://www.timhortons.com/ca/fr/menu/beignes.php).    In Belgium, Switzerland, and in different regions of France, a doughnut can have up to 23 different names, depending on the region… here’s the wikipedia article on it:  http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beignet

Côte-nord:  Ben manque…

  • Je pense que… = I think that…

Côte-nord:  frock, une

  • un manteau = a coat

Estrie:  pitoune, une

  • A four foot “chord” of wood (this word also has a more common meaning used everywhere, that of a nice looking woman, une belle pitoune)

Gaspésie:  Barbe-moi pas

  • Ne me derange pas = Don’t bother me.

Gaspésie:  bourriet

  • moutons de poussière = dust bunnies (note : they are “dust sheep” in Québécois and Canadian French)

Gaspésie:  Ça me barbe pas.

  • Ça ne me dérange pas = It doesn’t bother me (note: in old French, “faire la barbe à quelqu’un” meant to tease or make fun of someone.  I find it interesting that this very old language use managed to hang on so long in more isolated regions).

Gaspésie:  Pile pas dans mes bourriets

  • Get your mitts out of my stuff or things. Keep your hands out

Gaspésie:  tché-ben

  • Je sais ben, Je sais très bien = I understand

Matane:  rye, un

  • un ride, a ride

Maurice / Trois-Rivières / Shawinigan:  pelottes, des

  • Ragout à boulettes = meatball stew (“pelottes” is a specific recipe in the region). It has a funny name which makes people in other regions laugh when they hear it.  It becomes even funnier if you drop the word “ragoût” because the first “e” after the “p” is silent, thus the word sounds like PL#@TE… a very, very BAD word (it might even earn you a smack if the person you are talking to doesn’t know the context of what you are talking about) – Ta grand-mère là… son affaire de pelottes là, ça sent tellement bonne! Je peux-tu y goûter? (I’m going to skip on the explanation… suffice to say, just don’t say that to any females should they serve you ragoût de boulettes at Christmas or at any other time).

Mauricie / Trois-Rivière:  patate à frite

  • galette de pomme de terre, galette de patate, galette = hashbrown, (m’a prendre une patat’à frite = I’ll order a hashbrown)

Mauricie:  râdot, un

  • un petit rat = a small rat

Mauricie: magoua, un

  • quelqu’un qui manque un peu de classe = someone who is a bit rough around the edges and may not be the most classy

Sherbrooke / La Beauce:  sneaks, des

  • sneakers

Valleyfield:  miguenne, une

  • louche = ladle

Victoriaville:    coton, un

  • un coton-ouaté = a sweater. This word can also be heard outside the region.

Victoriaville:  fan, une

  • Fan = electric fan. Feminine versus masculine, un fan.

Victoriaville:  havralle

  • Combinaisons = Over-alls. The letter “r” takes the French pronounciation.

Victoriaville:  tarte à la tarlouche

  • tarte aux raisins sucrés = sweet grape pie (note:  Tarlouche is an old word from the Argonne dialect of French, Northeast of Paris near the Belgian border.  It used to mean a big piece of bread or meat in Europe.  I’m not quite sure how it made its way into Québec regional French or how it came to signify sweet grape pie).

That’s a wrap on the short blog-post series on Québec regional words and expressions.

Informal Québécois “regional” words and expressions (versus province-wide informal vocabulary) are very difficult (and almost impossible) to find online (most online material focuses on province-wide and Canada-wide spoken French words and expressions).  I am more than positive that what I have provided is just the tip of the iceberg, but I hope my own bit of insight through these last few posts has been of interest.

If you’re looking for informal, colloquial French vocabulary, but which is spoken all across Québec (yet sometimes Montréal specific, but also often Canada-wide), I’d like to refer you to Felix Polesello’s website, OffQc, at  www.offqc.com.  Felix has done an amazing job on his website, and has worked very hard and diligently to try to bring you what I believe is the web’s best and most interesting site on the subject.  Make sure to check it out.



“Regional” Vocabulary and Expressions – Saguenay Lac St-Jean – 5 of 6 (#173)

Building on the last few posts, here is another post with more regional vocabulary & expressions — this time from the Saguenay Lac St-Jean region.  You can refer to the map in the previous post to see where this vocabulary primarily comes from.

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 Saguenay Lac St-Jean 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.

In this sense, this list can be considered a comparison of French from the Saguenay Lac St-Jean region versus from the Montréal region.

As I said before, keep in mind that there is NO hard and fast rule about this vocabulary (we’re very much in the realm of lose oral colloquialisms).  Things change with time, some of these words and expressions may not always be said by the majority, the areas they’re restricted to may have fuzzy borders (therefore you may hear these words outside this region).  As well, individuals may say things differently.

Below is some vocabulary from the Saguenay Lac St-Jean region.

————– ——————– ———————

beigne, une

  • un beigne = doughnut.  You’ll recall from the prior “Québec City” vocabulary, there was a “masculine / feminine” difference for buses and french fries between Québec City and Montréal.  Here we have another gender difference between Saguenay Lac St-Jean and Montréal, but this time with doughnuts.


  • chaîne de troittoir, chaîne de rue = the curb (of the road), edge of the road, side of the road

durex, du

  • papier collant = scotch tape (note, not a condom)

expression:  A’Jaie pantoute

  • J’en ai pas.  I don’t have any.  The addition of “A” at the front makes this a bit more local (versus J’ai pantoute which is said everywhere in Québec and everywhere in Canada).

expression:  painter les rubbers

  • shine the wheels of your car

expression:  Prendre une petite frette

  • To have a cold one (beer). This one you will hear elsewhere, but perhaps more so in Saguenay Lac St-Jean (I’ve heard it other places… and I say it myself as part of my own vocabulary.  You’ll hear it in Montréal, Ottawa/Gatineau and elsewhere, but I think it’s quite “standard” in Saguenay Lac St-Jean).

expression:  rester en rack

  • tomber en panne = to be out of order, to break down (most often referring to cars, but can be for other mechanical things also).


  • youngsters, kid, teenager. When you were an adolescent, you could say “mon gang de flos” = my gang at school [of young people]. (in Montréal, we’d generally just say “des jeunes” or “des ados“)

frite, un

  • an order of french fries (mostly “des frites” in Montréal).

frock, une

  • un manteau = a coat

gang de rotteux

  • coffee gang, coffee group, the same set of people you often whittle the time away with (des gens avec qui tu pottines la demi-journée). Mon gang de rotteux = “my coffee group” or “my usual gang” (doesn’t always have to be coffee… can just be for hanging out, etc.)

gesteuse, gesteux (a term more specific to the city of Dolbeau-Mistassini)

  • someone overly dramatic (someone who exaggerates a bit too much for the purpose of stretching things or getting attention… perhaps a drama queen in English, but applicable to women and men).


  • clouer = to pound a nail (with a hammer). The “e” right after the “k” is pronounced.


  • manteau = coat. (mettre ton palteau = put on your coat)

patalons, des

  • des pantalons = pants

patate à frite

  • hasbrown.  (M’a prendre une patat’à frite = I’ll take a hashbrown)


  • a bunch of wood, i.e.: perhaps a floating bunch of wood on a lake or river. (It doesn’t mean a nice looking woman in this case, which is another province-wide meaning).


  • siau = a bucket


  • bar-hop. Vas-tu trôler à soir?  (trôler in Montréal means to trole online, like in English).


  • Shrek’s wife (KIDDING!! But you paused for a second, didn’t you !?!).  Trôleuse is actually an old regional term for a bar table.

une soute (ie: un soute de ski-doo)

  • un habit de neige = a snow suite (one piece)

———- ————-

That has is for the vocabulary and expressions which  I know of from the Saguenay Lac St-Jean region.   However, this is a region rich in many other expressions and vocabulary, much of which I do not know or am unfamiliar with.   With that being said, there is more information online regarding this region’s own vocabulary than there is regarding any other region in Québec (with the exception of Montréal).  If you spend some times surfing the web, I’m sure you’ll be able to find more than what I’m able to offer.

I just did a quick 30 second web-search, and these two web-sites popped up at the top of the page:

The next post will be our last one on regional vocabulary.  See you soon!



Dolbeau-Mistassini – The worst cities? — Don’t be so quick to judge! — Part 2 (#158)

In the last post, The worst cities? — Don’t be so quick to judge! — Part 1: Introduction (#157), I said we’ll take a closer look at Québec’s lowest ranked city in which to live:  Dolbeau-Mistassini.

As I said in the last post, the MoneySense ranking was based on a narrow range of statistics, and did not take into account numerous subjective factors or other points beyond their narrow range of statistics.

I’ll give you some information about the town, the region, and lots of links to allow you to judge for yourself.  From my perspective, Dolbeau-Mistassini doesn’t seem like such a bad place.  Yes, it’s a little far from Québec’s largest cities, and it is not very large (just over 14,000 people), but it seems to offer full amenities which larger communities offer, and its location makes it ideal for lovers of outdoor activities.

The region – Saguenay Lac St-Jean:


The Saguenay Lac St-Jean region is one of the most well-known regions of Québec.  If you were to ask any Québécois to list four regions of Québec which first come to mind, chances are that Saguenay Lac St-Jean would be one of them.

If you were to ask them to list four things about Saguenay Lac St-Jean which first come to mind, likely the answer would include (1) the distinct local accent, (2) blueberries, (3) the Saguenay Fjord, (4) Lac St-Jean (Lake).


The word for a “blueberry” in Canadian French is a “bleuet”.  Because Lac St-Jean is associated so deeply with blueberries in the local food and culture, people from the region are called “des bleuets”.    A word of caution if you’re learning French;  In Canada, a blueberry is a “bleuet”, but in France it is referred to as a “myrtille”.  And in reverse, a “bleuet” in France is not a “blueberry”, but rather is a “cornflower” (I’ve been misunderstood before in France for using the Canadian terminology).  🙂


From Montréal, Dolbeau-Mistassini, it is a six hour drive Northwest through the forest (via the town of La Tuque).   From Québec City, it would be a four hour drive.

Despite being quite far North, it is situated in a micro-climate region.  The entire Sagenuay Lac St-Jean region is situated in a deep valley (wide enough wide that you cannot see the walls of the valley if you’re in Dolbeau-Mistassini).  Therefore, despite being quite far North, the low altitude in the valley floor traps warmer air, and makes for fertile farmland and deciduous trees (unlike the Canadian Shield climate outside the valley).   Temperatures and climate (in both summer and winter) would be more similar to places further south such as Québec City (and sometimes even Montréal).


The square insert from the first map above is shown in the map below:


The line on the map above is an elevation cross-section which is shown below to illustrate the valley micro-climate.


The largest city in the Saguenay Lac St-Jean region is the city of Saguenay, 160,000 (one of Québec’s best known cities).  It has one of Canada’s largest airbases (with many of Canada’s CF18 fighter jets), and a diversified economy (university, aluminum production, numerous services, research & training, forestry, biomedical).


Dolbeau-Mistassini is the region’s second largest community, and is a two hour drive to the West from the city of Saguenay.

Dolbeau-Mistassini’s economy is very much as a service hub for the surrounding areas (agriculture, forestry, service centre for other smaller communities).  It also has a large paper mill (AbitiBowater).   Although the community is located slightly inland from Lac St-Jean (a lake which is so large that you cannot see across it), the community is generally associated with the lake (which offers many outdoor possibilities).

At the risk of sounding like a promotional-brochure (which isn’t my intention)… if you’re a lover of four-season outdoor sports and activities, you’d likely be in heaven in Dolbeau-Mistassini.   Water sports, forest activities, hunting, fishing, skiing, ski-dooing are found in abundance.


The fact that the town has all the major services which large centres also offer, but with much more accessibility owing to its size, could be considered a major advantage.

As you saw from the MoneySense listing, housing prices are much cheaper than other Canadian communities, and as you’ll see below, there are many housing options.

Here is a promo-video for the town:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSQ5RBIotn0

I’ve lived in many communities across Canada in five provinces (ranging in size from 250 people to agglomerations of over 10 million people, and everything in between).   That experience alone has given me the perspective to know that making friends is key to feeling at home wherever you live.  I’ve said many times before that even if I were to live in a high arctic town without trees, if I were to meet the best friends in the world there with whom I were always going out and doing things, then the community would probably be the best place in the world!

It’s for these reasons that I consider community activities and hobby/interest activities to be key to feeling you can happily make a place home.   If you live in the largest of cities, but everyone sticks to themselves and do not mix, chances are you may not enjoy it too much (believe me, I’ve been in that situation before too).  But if you live in a small community, and everyone is always mixing, engaged in community volunteer activities, and the same groups of people constantly run into each other during community events, you will likely come to feel that the community is not only is super friendly, that it is easy to make friends, but that the community becomes a default family (I’ve lived in those types of places too, big and small).

I’ve never lived in Dolbeau-Mistassini before, but the activities and community events it offers seem to be just the types of activities which are conducive to the latter positive situation I just described.

I couldn’t find much online with respect to Dolbeau Mistassini’s economic plans (tax credits, corporate property taxes or rental / purchase rates, etc.).  But I noticed there are a couple of industrial parks.  Usually centres such as this, when a little further away from larger centres, are ideal for businesses which do not rely on major population bases, or which can be conducted online (or by phone).   In this sense, such centres are perfect for lovers of outdoor activities.

Community events:

The community has Saguenay Lac St-Jean’s region’s finest performing arts theatres.   Some of Québec’s  biggest names in Québec pop-culture come to town to offer performances: http://www.comitedesspectacles.com/

The town features numerous annual events and cultural poles which offer ample opportunities for volunteer activities and opportunities to become involved in the community :

There are a ton of photos of Dolbeau-Mistassini online, but I couldn’t find many which were not copyright protected (something I wish to respect as much as possible in this blog).  Therefore, the best way to allow you to see the town yourself is likely through Google Streetview links.

Choose the parts of town you’re interested in seeing, click on the links (below), and happy touring!!

Main street, Dolbeau-Mistassini

Waterfalls & Rapids downtown :

Full service, large hospital:


Large supermarkets like any city:

Sports complex (ice arena, fitness facilities, indoor swimming pool):

Cultural centre:

Public outdoors swimming complex:

Various types of housing options, including several condo complexes (often the first choice for newly arrived immigrants or singles):

Municipal library:

Fair grounds for various annual events:

Major box stores, like any larger centre:

Older distinct regional housing styles (with two-story square balconies):

Medium aged housing districts:

Newer housing districts (many of which are waterside):

Town’s major employer (AbitibiBowater paper mill):

Local ski hill on edge of town:

Jogging paths all around town and on the water’s edge:

Scenic drive around town (cliffs & river):

Fly fishing just 3 minute drive from downtown:

City drive along the lake:

Drive along the river:

City hall: 

Salle de spectacles (performing arts centre):

Forests on the edge of the city for outdoor activities (hiking, camping, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, quading) :


All-in-all, I’d say that Dolbeau-Mistassini doesn’t look like such a bad place after all.  I’ve seen many other places across Canada which don’t have nearly as much to offer.  Ranking it at the bottom of the pile is quite harsh if you ask me.    But at the end of the day, I think you have to look at the rankings from the perspective that there is not much of a difference between communities ranked in 50th spot, 100th spot, or 200th spot.   The differences are small, and such rankings should not be held against any one town or city.   There are thousands of communities across Canada after all, and Dolbeau-Mistassini is definitely not one of the worst ones!

It goes to show you should always take such rankings with a grain of salt (if not a huge block of salt!).