Québécois-to-English for Texans Dictionary

For all you Texans (and everyone else from ''South of the (Canada-US) border"), you all know that regional dialects can be both fun and puzzling (think ''y'all'' and ''fixin' to''). Ellie and Louis, the lovers of languages that they are, have put together a little Québécois-to-Texan dictionary for you to look over so you can 1) get to know Louis' background a little bit, 2) impress the Québécois who are making their way down to Texas for the reception, and 3) have some linguistic fun!

One great thing is that both Texans and Québécois have taken the base languages of English and French and playfully moulded their accents, vocabulary, and slang into unique treasures! Both societies were for a long time rural, blue collar/agricultural areas filled with lots of room to thrive and mature into their current forms.

Both sets of speakers have the tendency to contract two or more words together, and to say thingswithout using all of the muscle and energy that other speakers may use.

Lastly, and most importantly, both Texans and Québécois take a lot of pride in the way they speak. So here's to learning more about each other's ways of speaking!

First of all, you've got to know that you are all “Anglophones,” meaning your native language is English, while native French speakers are “Francophones”. Language is a big deal in Québec, since it is a Francophone community surrounded by Anglophones (See how quickly you learned those words?!). We encourage you to ask the Québécois you meet at our wedding how they feel about language and to teach you some of their favorite phrases!

A couple of other things to know about Québécois French :

    • syllables are cut out or combined with others

    • there are a lot of English words that are used differently than in English

    • many people can understand a decent amount of English, but they might not feel confident in English and/or they want to keep the language alive so they prefer to speak in French

    • The cursing system is based on the church- really! We'll let you investigate that one on your own ;)

    • You'll probably hear the word 'là' [luh] at the end of a lot of Québécois sentences. 'Là' simply means 'there', so it's a little like saying 'You there!' or 'How ya doin' there?' It's a really easy habit to pick up, and it's fun!

Here are a few of the most basic French phrases to get you started (along with their pronunciation):

    • Hello! = Bonjour! [bawn jor] or Salut! [sah loo]

    • How are you? (literally : How goes it?) = Ça va? [sah vah?]

    • I am fine! (literally : It goes (well)!)= Ça va (bien)! [sah van bee-en]

    • Please= S'il vous plaît [seel voo play]

    • Thank you (very much)= merci (beaucoup) [Mare see (bow koo)]

    • Where is...?= Où est...? [ooh ay?]

    • How much is it?= C'est combien? [say cawm bee-en?]

    • Yes= Oui [wee]

    • No= Non [nohn]

    • Maybe= Peut-être [puh tet]

    • It is...= C'est... [say]

    • It is not...= Ce n'est pas... [suh nay paw]

    • Goodbye= À plus tard! [ah ploo tar] or ...

So now that you've got some elementary things in your pocket, you're ready for the fun stuff that's unique to Québec. We hope you minimally keep an ear out for these words, and we hope even more that you try a few out yourself (Believe us, you'll make a Québécois' day if you try 'em, even if you don't do it perfectly!).

    • Jaser [jaw zay]= to chit chat= shoot the sh*it

    • niaiser [nyay zay]= to kid around

    • faque [fek]= fais ce que= so, then

    • écoeurant [eh kerr awn]=

    • pas pire [paw peer]= not so bad (but it actually means it's pretty good in most cases)

    • pas horrible [paw zor eebl]= not so horrible (but still not very good)

    • un char [uhn shar]= a car

    • voyons donc [voy-awn dawnc]= what the heck?

    • bin [bayn]= bien= wellll... or very/mighty (T'es bin belle= You're mighty pretty!)

    • plate (plaht)= boring

    • pas pantoute [paw pon toot]= pas du tout= not at all

    • chui down [shwee down] = je suis down= I am down (to do that thing)= I'll participate

    • liqueur [leek err]= soda/pop = Coke

    • le fun [luh fun]= fun (C'est le fun!= It's fun!)

    • ma blonde= my girlfriend/female partner

    • mon chum= my boyfriend/male partner

    • malade [mal ahd]= sick= awesome (C'était malade!= That was awesome!)

    • checker (chek-ay)= to check (Check ça!= Check it out!)

    • dépanneur (day pahn err) = corner store

    • pis [pee]= and

A few anglicismes (English words) that you can use just the way they are :

    • cute (C'est cute!= That's cute!)

    • nice (C'est nice!= That's nice!)

*you can add a “tellement” [tel-mawn] to add emphasis- “C'est tellement cute!”

A few things you might think you recognize, but be careful!

    • Liquer= soda

Classic Québécois phrases you might hear :

    • On va se coucher moins niaiseux à soir= We'll go to sleep less stupid tonight= we learned something today

Here are some good romance words (since you ARE going to a wedding, after all!)

    • un bisou [uhn bee zoo]= a kiss

    • des bisous [day bee zoo]= kisses (like how people greet each other, with one kiss on each cheek)

    • bec [bek]= a peck on the cheek

    • câlin [caw lin]= hug

    • amour [a moor]= love

    • je t'aime [zhe tem]= I love you

    • un mariage [uhn may ree aj]= a wedding

    • une robe de mariage [oon robe duh may ree aj]= wedding dress

    • un costume= a suit

    • une bague [oon bahg]= wedding ring