How to speak Frenglish

merci bucket frenglish
Katherine Sehl
Katherine Sehl

In Montreal, being bilingual doesn't guarantee you'll able to understand what the locals are saying. Why? Because for the most part, the city's denizens speak Frenglish. Boldly defying the presence of an official "language police" (whose job it is to maintain the city's separate-but-equal linguistic apartheid), here we show you how to ably navigate through this, the cronut of languages -- a sweet merger of French and English that's just as pleasing to the tongue.

Beer mug
Katherine Sehl

Salut, mon chum (sah-loo mawn chum)
“Hey there, friend!”
Tinged with shades of affection, this salutation should strictly be reserved for your really, really good friends. Example sentence: "Salut mon chum, I feel comfortable telling you that I think that Ben Affleck will make a good Batman."

Hot dog Montreal
Katherine Sehl

Un hot-dog, SVP (oohn hot-dog, ess-vay-pay)
"A hot-dog please"
The Language Police actually tried to replace hot dog with “un chien-chaud” (and failed... huzzah!), but that's beside the point. The point is that people in Montreal routinely say "SVP", in an apparent effort to turn the French language into LOLspeak.

tout garni

Tout garni (toot-gar-knee)
"All dressed"
Instead of ordering a deluxe pizza, or a hot dog with "everything on it" you can expect to hear Montrealers ordering it “tout garni”, which means "all dressed". Example sentence: "I never thought I'd say this, but I think I prefer Miley Cyrus tout garni".

Happy Hour beer mugs
Katherine Sehl

Cinq à sept (sink-ah-sehpt)
"Happy hour"
Because they have to have their happy hour in both French and English, it lasts two hours, hence cinq à sept meaning five to seven. Example sentence: "It's true, the moment cinq a sept ended I felt less happy".

Montreal dep
Katherine Sehl

Dep (dep)
"Convenience store"
Because Montreal has the greatest convenience stores in the world, they need a special name. That name is depannéur, which is way too much, so people just say dep. Example sentence: "Dude, I think Macaulay Culkin is working at the dep".

Katherine Sehl

Guichet (gwee-chey)
The Frenglish prefer to do their banking with the economically expedient two syllable word, over the just-plain-wasteful three syllable acronym. Also, taking money out of a guichet just makes you feel a little richer (note: in actuality, it does the exact opposite). Example sentence: "I tried to check my balance at the guichet, but I fell over".

Je ne care pas
Katherine Sehl

Je ne care pas (juh nuh care pah)
"I do not care"
As in, you could not more emphatically express how little you care. It isn’t possible for you to care less. You care so little, that you opt to express it in Frenglish, so you’re not faced with the burden of having to utter your disdain twice in two languages. Example sentence: "Ugh. This is two sentences, but je ne care pas."

Je suis tired
Katherine Sehl

Je suis tired (juh swee tired - dramatic, with an entitled whine)
"I am tired"
A first-world-problems kind of tired. The kind of malaise that neither backbreaking labor, nor sleep-deprived exhaustion can induce, but rather a waiting-in-line at the Apple store kind of tired. Example sentence: "I have beed twerking all day, and je suis tired".

Katherine Sehl

Metro (meh-trow)
Non, non, non. Frenglish people don’t ride the subway, they ride the meh-tro. Make sure you pronounce the first syllable with a considerable amount of throaty-apathy to convey the sense of ennui Frenglish people experience whilst performing day-to-day activities.

Subway (um, subway)
"A submarine sandwich franchise"
No one is ever talking about the transit system if they say “Subway”. They are talking about a sandwich.

Katherine Sehl

Terasse (tare-ass)
If you ask to be seated on the patio in Montreal, you might get a blank stare even if you’re dealing with an English Montrealer. Around these parts, we call these things terasses. Example sentence: "It's kinda cold out, so you grab a spot on the terrasse, I'll grab us a couple of beer jackets... and maybe a jaeger jacket too".

SAQ (the sack)
"Government-run liquor store"
In Montreal, you hit the sack both before and after getting liquored up. Also, in Montreal the government runs the liquor stores. Boy, all that bureaucracy sure makes you want a drink! Example sentence: "Yes, I'm quite politically active, I go to the sack basically every day."

Katherine Sehl

Brasserie (brass-errr-eee)
"Pub that serves food and (probably) brews its own beer"
Think: tavern meets alehouse meets restaurant meets dive bar, with sports. Also think: why in the world do we not have these all over the US?? Example sentence: "Should we hit up the brewery, resto, bar, pool hall, and that place where we can play old-school arcades and there's totally no line... or just the brasserie"?

Allonge Long espresso
Katherine Sehl

Allongé (guttural, coarsely throatal, with a light, playfully nasal undertone: al-lawn-shjay)
"Long espresso"
The kind of word that not only conveys meaning -- a lot of caffeine -- but which can also communicate the desperate need for that caffeine thanks to the facial contortions required to say it. Example sentence: "Boy, after saying the word Allongé, I really need an Allongé".