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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
Brayon: espère 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.
- 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
- 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
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.
- 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.
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