Thursday, November 15, 2018

j'y comprends rien

Commenter Neil Barker (who used to have his own blog... does he still?), who now lives in Canada, left some comments at this post, which prompted me to slap up a YouTube video that I recently attempted to watch and understand.

If you want a good dose of the québecois accent, listen to this "youtubeuse" named Diane. While I consider myself fluent in French French, I found listening to Diane a humbling lesson in how much I still don't know. A native speaker of French, fresh out of France, can probably understand Diane. I, by contrast, am forced to admit I understood less than 20% of what she said in this video. If you speak French, and you think you speak it well, listen to the video and good luck figuring out what Diane is saying. But if you can decipher her accent, please give me some clue as to what the hell she's talking about.*

Neil, if you're still blogging, please leave your blog's URL in a comment, and I'll gladly add your blog to my blogroll.

Further comment on the above video: Diane's delivery rubs me the wrong way in just about every sense. Her obnoxious mugging may be funny for the Québecois, but for me, it harks back to an older, simpler age in American TV and movies when people thought that sort of thing was funny. Humor is deeply cultural, of course; it's hard to translate across borders. But even in granting that, I don't think I can stomach too much Diane.

ADDENDUM: here's an example of French that I understand completely:

*I could list off the things I did understand, but it wouldn't be a long list. I learned more from the written blurb beneath the video than I did from the vid itself. Diane says something about Muslims and veils at one point; she also uses plenty of slang with which I'm utterly unfamiliar. Anyway, watch this space; I might actually give you a list of the few things I understood.

UPDATE: in the first few seconds, Diane says it's been a while since her previous video. If I understood her correctly, her YouTube account got shut down because people were like, "Blah blah blah—you can't say this; you can't say that!" But she's not afraid to speak her mind. [What she says next is incomprehensible to me except for her shouted, "JE T'AIME! JE T'AIME!" (I love you! I love you!)] She then says she had talked last time about her nephew Jonathan, who is in daycare (une garderie privée) that [garbled, but with naughty words like "ass" and "buttocks"]. She mentions something about how the daycare is sponsored (garderie subventionnée). Next comes something about Muslims and veils... is the daycare run by Muslims? I have no clue. Jonathan was apparently crying on the phone, but I didn't get what he was crying about. It sounded as if someone "wasn't there." Unattended kids at the Muslim-run daycare? I haven't the slightest. And the rest of the video is gobbledygook to me, except maybe for one or two words like "matin," pronounced with a heavy québecois accent (it sounds like "mah-teng," almost the way a Korean would hangeulize the French matin).


Neil Barker said...

Haha, yeah - I don't care for that mugging for the camera either - too over the top.

Sadly, gave up the blog many moons ago - but still follow yours a few others.

Here's a brief comparison of the accents as well:

That "Têtes à claques" is pretty funny. The channel is a gold mine for the local accent

Charles said...

I watched about 15 seconds of Diane before spontaneously combusting and turning into a pile of ash.


Kevin Kim said...


So you died before you got the full rant. Alas.


Quite a contrast, although I suspect that the "French-French" speakers were also Canadian; while their French was comprehensible, it had a bit of a Québecois twang. When I was traveling through Canada with my family, I had the easiest time speaking with people in the big cities; out in the countryside, the French was utterly impenetrable, and I spent a lot of time nodding stupidly and pretending to understand.