Marde…and Kraft Dinner

I don’t even wanna think about what’s in that orange powder, but the stuff is strangely tasty.

Being the North American that I am, you would think that my French would be sprinkled with Canadianisms.  Not really: there are some words that I learned from Québécois and can’t seem not to pronounce like them–poussiaire when I should be saying poussière, lampadaillere when I should be saying lampadaire, and drette when I should be saying…well, actually I don’t know how to say drette in hexagonal French, which is why I say it in Québécois.  Some little stuff like that, but otherwise, you wouldn’t take me for a Canadian–ever.  (Well, there was this one incident on the métro… another time, perhaps.)

One exception to the general non-Canadianness of my (feeble) French: marde.  As an expletive, merde in Québec is…marde.  Why?  No clue.  Why is it what comes out of my mouth if I spill my coffee, drop my vocabulary flashcards on the RER B, or notice that I left my laundry in the washing machine overnight and now they’re moldy as fuck?  Also no clue.  But, if you wanna hear marde straight outta (outta explained in the English notes below) the mouth of an autochtone, you won’t find anything better than a recording of Québécoise superstar Lisa Leblanc.  She has a delightful accent–I believe from Newfoundland, given her pronunciation of words like gars as “guh.”  There are approximately one bazillion YouTube videos of her singing this song; I like this one because of her backup singers.  Linguistic mystery: why connes and not cons in

A matin mon lit simple fait sûr de me rappeler que je dors dans un lit simple avec les springs qui m’enfoncent dans le dos // Comme des connes…

…or maybe I’m just hearing it wrong?  Phil dAnge?  In any case: enjoy Lisa LeBlanc’s Ma vie c’est de la marde, and then scroll down to the English notes for a discussion of outta, plus a special bonus explanation of Kraft Dinner.  Why?  Keep reading, keep reading…


English notes

outta: an informal spoken form of “out of.”  Click here for a good video about how to use it.  It’s not typically written, but if it is, it’ll be o-u-t-t-a.  

Kraft Dinner: a disgusting but completely delicious kind of macaroni and cheese.  You buy it in a box, boil the pasta, sprinkle an envelope of orange powder on it, throw in some butter and some milk… I don’t even wanna think about what’s in that orange powder, but the stuff is strangely tasty, and at 25 cents a box the last time I checked (which was probably the last time that I could only afford 25 cents for dinner), you can live on it for surprisingly long.  Why it’s relevant to us today: it’s the title of a truly lovely Lisa LeBlanc song.

Au pire on vivra ensemble // En mangeant du Kraft Dinner // C’est tout ce qu’on a besoin…


Want to learn to speak Québécois?  Free lessons hereHilarious, and actually pretty helpful…

6 thoughts on “Marde…and Kraft Dinner”

  1. I can tell you she says “connes”but I don’t know what “des springs”are . If they are shoes for instance it can be logical she keeps the feminine as the English word has no gender . This happens sometimes with English words that have been adopted whose French equivalent is feminine . But Lise speaks a incorrect French anyway, and I don’t mean colloquialisms or regionalisms . Some of her sentences have a weird syntax .
    In a big part of France, if not all of it, we don’t make any oral difference between “è”, “ê” and “ai, ais, ait” . So you don’t need to mention your oral “handicap”with poussière .
    I worked with a woman from the very North of France and when she was saying “gars” she sounded “goh”, so even in the metropole people can butcher the “a” sound .

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I forgot : her “Marde” must be a personal offspring . I say so because among educated French there is a “Merdre” ultra famous . It is how the king Ubu swears . “Ubu Roi” is the legendary play written in 1896 by the ET genius Alfred Jarry, forerunner of the future Surrealists . He invented the term of “Pataphysique” as « la science des solutions imaginaires, qui accorde symboliquement aux linéaments les propriétés des objets décrits par leur virtualité ». Here is a portrait of this eminent king drawn by Jarry himself : . La pataphysique was later hugely praised and used by all the surrealist poets and writers of the 40s/50s who were in my eyes the last artists born from the soul of France before the US dumbifying steamroller normalized it .
    Alfred Jarry was a meteor coming from nowhere, he was intelligent enough to die in 1907 at the age of 34, and he’s worth a bit of research and reading .

    Liked by 2 people

  3. L-l-love this woman. The accent is so odd and some of the phrases too but her songs are brilliant. How can I not love a gal who sings about Kraft Dinner … you could almost call the amalgam of the two recordings Marde Gras 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pour “marde” il se peut que cela vienne des parlers idiomatiques du centre de la France. Ayant longuement vécu au find fond du Berry, j’ai souvent entendu les habitants de mon village l’employer. Il y avait d’ailleurs une rue qui s’appelait le “petit mardasson” et sa parallèle le “grand mardasson”. On imagine assez bien leur confort avant l’ère de l’asphalte et des caniveaux reliés à un système d’égout efficace.
    J’ai croisé une déclinaison de ce marde en Normandie il y a quelques jours. Il s’agit d’un hameau (le Mardreret) traversé par un petit cours d’eau.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. OMG, that’s wonderful–thank you! When talking about France in Canada and Louisiana, you always wonder what effect the regional origins of the settlers had–from France in Canada, and then from Canada in Louisiana…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Curative Power of Medical Data

JCDL 2020 Workshop on Biomedical Natural Language Processing


Criminal Curiosities


Biomedical natural language processing

Mostly Mammoths

but other things that fascinate me, too


Adventures in natural history collections

Our French Oasis


ACL 2017

PC Chairs Blog

Abby Mullen

A site about history and life

EFL Notes

Random commentary on teaching English as a foreign language

Natural Language Processing

Université Paris-Centrale, Spring 2017

Speak Out in Spanish!

living and loving language




Exploring and venting about quantitative issues

%d bloggers like this: