My Favorite Québécois Canadian French Expressions

Hero Images / Getty Images.

As Quebec French language is very rich and full of nuances, it is difficult to choose a few representative phrases. Nevertheless, after much debate, this is my top list. These expressions are difficult to translate, so make sure you read the example to really get the meaning. I also added the French from France equivalent whenever I could. Enjoy!

Michel is French and Canadian. He lives in the gorgeous island of Belle-Isle in Brittany where he offers French immersion. He also taught at McGill in Montreal where he also spends a few months each year.

1 - Avoir de la misère
J’ai ben d’la misère à jouer au tennis
Literal translation: I have a lot of misery playing tennis
It means: I’ve got difficulty playing tennis.
“Ben” comes from "bien" and means “beaucoup”, a lot of.
In “français de France”, one would say : j’ai du mal à jouer au tennis.

2 - Avoir son voyage
J’ai mon voyage!
Literal translation: I’ve got my trip, I have traveled.
It indicates that you are surprised, or that you are fed up.
In français de France, one would say : ça alors! (to indicate surprise) Or j’en ai marre ! (to say you're fed up).

3 - Le boss des bécosses
Il se prend pour le boss des bécosses.
Literal translation: he thinks he is the toilets boss.
One would say that about someone who wants to lead a group of people who do not want any leader. Les bécosses, a familiar feminine plural word, comes from the English word back-house and means toilets.

4 - C’est l’fonne!
C’est ben l’fonne
It’s really fun. See the Québécois transformation of the English word "fun" into "fonne", the word that doesn't exist at all in French from France. Note however that Canadian use both spellings, "fun" (more common) or "fonne".
The opposite phrase would be: c’est platte. It literally means "it is flat" (from the literal translation "plat", but put in a Québécois way...) but really means "it is dull".

Continues on page 2

Continued from Page 1

5 - En titi
Il est riche en titi.
It means he is very rich, so "en titi" means "very".
The origin of this adverbial phrase is unknown.

6 - Être aux oiseaux
Quand il écoute de la musique, il est aux oiseaux
When he listens to music, he belongs to birds
It means to be very happy, ecstatic.
In French from France, one would say "aux anges" (with the angels).

7 - Ya du monde à la messe
Quand ya des soldes, ya du monde à la messe.
When there are sales, there are people for Mass.
It means it's crowded. Note the common street French way to say (sometimes even write "ya" instead of il-y-a. This is true for both Canadian and French from France French)
In French from France, one would say "il y a foule".

I will be adding more expressions soon, so be informed of new articles, make sure you subscribe to my newsletter (it's easy, you just enter your email address - look for it it's somewhere on the French language homepage) or follow me on my social network pages below.

I post exclusive mini lessons, tips, pictures and more daily on my Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages - so press the links below - talk to you there!

More articles I wrote about Canadian French:

- Dialogue in French Canadian ≠ Français de France + English translation
- My favorite French Canadian Expressions
- 7 Best French Canadian Idioms
- Love in Québécois French

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Denance, Michel. "My Favorite Québécois Canadian French Expressions." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, Denance, Michel. (2021, February 16). My Favorite Québécois Canadian French Expressions. Retrieved from Denance, Michel. "My Favorite Québécois Canadian French Expressions." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 22, 2021).