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People in Quebec speak French, however they don’t speak as the French do.  The accent, the words, the expressions are all greatly different than the Francophones overseas.  Admitedly the accent took awhile to get used to.  Quebecois tend to speak quickly with a more nasal quality to their sounds, versus the French who seems to always be pushing words out to the front of their mouth were they will stay.  The Quebecois also love to contract words, not helpful for those who can’t catch on to such subtleties.
Who are the Quebecois?

Who are the Quebecois?

Quebecois Expressions and Idiomatic Phrases

Hello hi
Ok granted this isn’t a word, but if you’ve spent more than an afternoon in downtown Montreal, or more than 15 minutes in a department store, you will get the words BonjourHi spoken to you, so closely jumbled it’s as if it were one word.  This is a bilingual city afterall and most people, in particular those working in restaurants, stores, etc need to speak English and French.  Since there is not distinguishing factor on who is Anglophone or Franchophone, the bonjourhi serves to allow the person to answer in his or her stronger language.

Ta Blonde
My Blond
Calling someone your blond is not in anyway refering to their haircolor.  Any blonde jokes are not refering to a ditzy personality, or an aloof demeaner.  If you tell a blonde joke you better make sure your girlfriend isn’t nearby because you will be making fun of her.

Mon Chum
My bud
To make matters confusing, the word chum can refer to a boyfriend or a male friend.  Makes the ‘what are we’ conversations you have with your significant other a little harder to decipher.  Are we chums or are you my chum? I also find the traditional French word for boyfriend a bit strange as well.  If someone is your petit ami they literally are your little friend, otherwise known as your boyfriend.

Baise-moué l’ail
Kiss my garlic
Come on use your imagination.  Kiss my garlic…  Kiss my…  Don’t know how garlic became appropriate for such a term, but hey, to each his own.

Avoir mal aux cheveux
Have a hairache
If you ever woken up to a splitting headache caused by excessive amounts of alcohol.  We aren’t perfect afterall.  To be mal aux cheveux means you have one of the worst hangovers of your life.  It’s so bad naturally your hair hurts.

être tiguidou
It’s all good.  Everything’s peachy. Okey dokey.  Everything is fine.  All is well.  Everything’s in order.  A-ok.  I think you get the picture.

Lâche pas la patate!
Don’t let go of the potato.
Hmm this is an interesting one.  When someone says don’t let go of the potato they don’t want you to wimp out. In other words, don’t be a pansy.  Not really sure why you have to hold on to a potato to do so.  Maybe it has something to do with poutine?

Se laisser manger la laine sur le dos
To let eat the wool right off your back
If you let someone eat the shirt off your back, well then you’re a complete idiot.  Although not so sure the other guy is that smart either.

J’ai la langue à terre
I have my tongue on the floor
In Quebec if you have your tongue on the floor it means you are extremely tired or extremely hungry, which can be a little confusing since each time you say it, you will need to elaborate which one you mean.

Note on cursing in Quebec: Similar to other cultures, the Quebecois have appropriated seemingly ‘good’ words and turned around their meanings.  Religious terminolgy can be used to express discomfort, annoyance, or merely to tell someone off.  By turning these relgious words into something negative, the Quebecois made a statement against the church, who had a stronghold on French Canadians in the past.

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