My Favorite Québécois Canadian French Expressions

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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 travelled.
It indicates that your 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", 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".

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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".

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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