French verbs are conjugated with two topic pronouns TU and VOUS the place English makes use of just one, YOU. Merely put, TU is singular and used for informal and casual conditions. Then again, VOUS is used for extra formal singular and for all plurals.
The true drawback stems from the truth that TU and VOUS can each consult with singular topics. When do you employ one or the opposite? It is a fixed supply of issues for English-speakers studying French. Most grammar books cowl the excellence fairly nicely. To make issues much more sophisticated, nonetheless, there are regional variations within the utilization of those pronouns.
If you’re involved with plenty of spoken Quebec French, you could have observed that TU is extra widespread when in comparison with European French or the French taught in faculties. Linguists say that in Quebec the “tutoiement” is extra widespread than the “vouvoiement”. There’s extra to this than meets the attention, nonetheless.
Initially, this excessive utilization of the TU type in all probability displays much less inflexible attitudes in direction of social distinctions. Folks in Quebec are inclined to rapidly change to TU after an preliminary section of VOUS, particularly if the audio system are of the identical age group. My recommendation right here is to at all times let the opposite particular person take the initiative of switching from VOUS to TU.
Since TU is by far the commonest spoken type, many individuals, significantly youngsters and younger adults, should not at all times accustomed to utilizing the VOUS type and can spontaneously use the TU with everyone. That is usually seen in shops with younger workers. They could begin off with VOUS and rapidly change to TU as a result of the VOUS is not as pure. Shops could even need to remind the staff to make use of VOUS with all clients.
In case you really feel that the utilization of TU is inappropriate-typically from a younger salesperson-just stand your floor and carry on utilizing VOUS. The opposite particular person ought to rapidly take a touch.
Whereas listening to plenty of casual spoken Quebec French, you’ll discover a quite common TU that has nothing to do with pronouns. This may be very complicated as a result of it sounds precisely just like the pronoun. In actuality that is merely a tag added to the verb to point a query. Listed here are some examples:
Il vient-tu avec nous? (Is he coming with us?)
Je peux-tu poser une query? (Can I ask a query?)
Je le sais-tu? (How would I do know?)
La rue Ste-Catherine, c’est-tu loin? (Is St. Catherine Avenue far?)
Vous avez-tu fini de faire du bruit? (Have you ever completed making noise?)
Tu dors-tu? (Are you sleeping?)
On y va-tu? (Lets get going?)
This type can be utilized in Quebec slang so as to add emphasis to the verb, as in:
Ils l’ont-tu l’affaire! (They know easy methods to do it!)
C’est-tu stupide, cet accident! (Is not that accident silly!)
One other fascinating utilization of TU in Quebec French, and to a lesser extent in France, is to specific an summary or generic topic. Listed here are some examples.
Les prix augmentent si vite que tu ne peux plus rien acheter. (Costs are going up so rapidly that you may’t purchase something anymore.)
Avec la technologie actuelle, tu peux pratiquement tout faire. (With right now’s expertise, you are able to do absolutely anything.)
In these examples, the speaker shouldn’t be actually referring to the other particular person. She or he is definitely speaking in an summary sense.
Only a phrase of warning when utilizing these casual Quebec French usages. They’re considered as non-standard in lots of circles though they’re highly regarded. Be sure you really feel snug within the social setting earlier than utilizing types which may be thought of slang. When unsure, stick to VOUS.