Sunday, December 04, 2016

My other French teacher Justin Trudeau

I believe Trudeau is cursing in French Canadian here.
Yes I enjoy looking at him, of course but another good thing about watching videos of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is that he often speaks in French and sometimes he'll say a phrase in French and then repeat it in English, or vice-versa which is very handy.

I really love Justin Trudeau and it isn't just for his manly hotness combined with his proud feminism - although what the hell is not to like there???

No it's also because he is always trying to do the right thing. He's super-conscious and for the most part carries it off with a fair amount of grace and not too much self-consciousness. And he almost doesn't have to -  he's pretty much Canadian royalty, as the son of former Canadian PM Pierre Trudeau. The fact that he tries so hard to do the right thing makes him so admirable.

Another nice thing is that he's only been PM for a year, and so there are lots of videos from earlier in his political career and even before he went into politics, when he has a Justin from the Hood vibe. Also his hair tended to be longer in the old days and mon dieu, je l'adore!

And in this video I found, shot 10 years ago, see screen cap above - bonus! - he appears to be uttering a French Canadian curse. One of the hysterical things about Quebecois French is that they have an entire system of curse words that are based not on your standard shit-fuck-bitch trilogy beloved of most languages, but instead on ecclesiastic paraphernalia! Hence the "box of baptisms" above. I should mention that I couldn't understand him saying that in French, I only caught it because I had the English captions going - and luckily I had already read about the unique approach to swearing of the French Canadians previously and didn't just assume the caption translator was wonky. I mean WTF is a box of baptisms?

As this article from the Washington Post in 2006 says:
"Oh, tabernacle!" The man swore in French as a car splashed through a puddle, sending water onto his pants. He could never be quoted in the papers here (Montreal). It is too profane. 
So are other angry oaths that sound innocuous in English: chalice, host, baptism. In French-speaking Quebec, swearing sounds like an inventory being taken at a church.
English-speaking Canadians use profanities that would be well understood in the United States, many of them scatological or sexual terms. But the Quebecois prefer to turn to religion when they are mad. They adopt commonplace Catholic terms -- and often creative permutations of them -- for swearing.
In doing so, their oaths speak volumes about the history of this French province. 
"When you get mad, you look for words that attack what represses you," said Louise Lamarre, a Montreal cinematographer who must tread lightly around the language, depending on whether her films are in French or English. "In America, you are so Puritan that the swearing is mostly about sex. Here, since we were repressed so long by the church, people use religious terms." 
And the words that are shocking in English -- including the slang for intercourse -- are so mild in Quebecois French they appear routinely in the media. But not church terms.
"You swear about things that are taboo," said André Lapierre, a professor of linguistics at the University of Ottawa. In the United States, "it is not appropriate to talk about sex or scatological subjects, so that is what you use in your curse words. The f-word is a perfect example.
"In Canadian French, you have none of the sexual aspects. So what do you replace it with? You replace it with religion. If you are going to use a taboo word, it would be anything related to the cult, to Christ, the Communion wafer, Jesus Christ, vestments, and elements of the altar like tabernacle. There's quite a few of them."