Student Life

STUDENT LIVING: How to…Talk shit in French

A few years past, one’s command of the French language had to be fairly deft to survive in Quebec for very long. McGill students, for the first weeks after arriving in Montreal, would need to assiduously commit dozens of key phrases to memory in order to obtain everyday household items, from milk to light bulbs.

However, in recent times, Montreal retailers have pussied out on us, many self-respecting businessmen demanding their staff be fluently bilingual. Many a young, studious migrant has drifted through Montreal – or even sojourned here for an extended period of time – without learning a single word of French. This is shameful. And for the sake of multiculturalism upon which this city was founded (well, perhaps not founded, but the fur trade and proselytizing really does nothing to advance my argument here), the Tribune has taken up the task of teaching young McGillians all the French they’ll ever need to know in order to curse appropriately when some bad shit goes down (or to get into a damn good barfight).Here goes…

En français: “Tabernac!”Pronunciation: Tah-bar-nakBackground: Refers to the tent where the Arc of the Covenant was stored.English equivalent: “Fuck!”

En français: “Hostie!”Pronunciation: Us-tyBackground: The word itself denotes a communion wafer. Hardly anyone uses the term in a religious context anymore.English equivalent: “Fuck!”

En français: “Ciboire!”Pronunciation: See-bway-reBackground: Church vase in which the communion wafers are stored.English equivalent: “Fuck!”

These terms can be used in combination, endless succession, in fact, by simply adding the French preposition “de” in between each word.

En français: “Hostie de tabernac de calisse de marde d’enculé de ta mère!”Pronunciation: Let’s not even bother.Background: Basically a bunch of bad shit tacked on back-to-back and a “yo mama” at the end.English equivalent: I think you get the point.

En français: “Mange d’la marde!”Pronunciation: Mahn-je duh lah mahrd.English equivalent: Eat shit.

En français: “Trou du cul”Pronunciation: Troo du ku.English equivalent: Asshole.

En français: “Je t’emmerde”Pronunciation: Jeuh tahn-mehr-duh.English equivalent: I shit on you.

En français: “J’m’en calisse.”Pronunciation: J’mahn kaw-lee-suh.English equivalent: I don’t give a fuck.

En français: “S’ti que j’vais te niquer, fils de pute!”Pronunciation: Let’s not even bother.English equivalent: Damn am I gonna fuck you up, you son of a whore. Then you just let the punches fly. Note: “S’ti,” as it is commonly pronounced, is a contraction of “Hostie.”

En français: “Mais sorts-toi donc le doigt du cul, fénéant!”Pronunciation: This is another hard one. Play it by ear.English equivalent: Basically, it means “Get off your lazy ass and do something!” Literally translated, it reads: “Take your thumb out of your ass, you lazy bastard!”

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