French Conversation–Real-life Example 2 From Quebec — Part 1

Ear training for Quebec French Conversation

This installment in our series of case studies of real-life French conversations looks at a sample French spoken in Quebec in a variety of voices and accents. This series is part of what we call a multi-pronged or multi-layer approach to helping people improve their fluency and accuracy in French conversation.

I believe this starts by training the ears to distinguish the sounds of spontaneous spoken French and ultimately develop an understanding of how French conversation really works. The next step is to transfer this knowledge to actually speaking the language.

All of this is explained in my post on how to get the most out of this series of real-life French conversation case studies.

Part 1 in this post contains the recording, the transcript and the translation. Part 2 in the next post contains a detailed technical commentary of things to listen for.

Why this example of Quebec French conversation?

Although this sample does not have a lot of back and forth conversational interaction, it is interesting because it combines a number of accents and speaking styles. In this example, a pair of journalists from Canada’s national French-language television broadcaster, Radio-Canada, conduct a tasting survey of four brands of chocolate ice cream.

On the one hand, we have the well articulated and perfect French of two professional journalists. Their speech is crystal-clear and typical of Radio-Canada. And on the other hand, we have many unscripted voices of the public. This is an excellent snapshot of a wide range of speaking styles.

How to use

You should first print out this post. You may want to try listening to the post without the transcript to see how much you understand. Then listen to to recording in small doses while reading the transcript. And consult the translation where necessary.

The next post will draw your attention to certain features of the language in use. Then listen repeatedly until you feel you truly understand the passage naturally . You should, of course, try to listen to the entire recording.

Our excerpt ends at 2:45 of the original recording.


–Avec l’été qui est à nos portes (1), on a eu envie (2) de faire un test de goût de crèmes glacées (3) au chocolat. (4)
–Nous avons donc choisi quatre crèmes glacées très populaires auprès du public.
–Si elles (5) sont toutes glacées, elles ne contiennent pas toutes de la crème. (6)
–Identifiée par le point rouge, les gens ici présents au marché Jean-Talon, (7) vont goûter la Haagen Dazs (8). Identifiée par le point bleu, la Nestle. Identifiée par le point jaune, la Breyers et par le point vert la crème glacée Coaticook. Bonne dégustation ! (9)
–Les ingrédients de base d’une vraie crème glacée sont d’abord et avant tout (10) du lait, de la crème, du sucre et des jaunes d’œufs.(11)
–Y en a-tu avec des œufs ?(12) Ça se peut-tu? (13)
–Je dirais la rouge(14) elle aurait des œufs pis (15) l’autre moins…(16) plus granuleuse…plus…en tout cas, j’aimais (17) mieux la bleue.
–Dans une glace chocolat noir (18), une vraie glace chocolat noir bien intense, on goûtera pas (19) tellement la crème, On ne goûtera pas le jaune d’œuf (20) parce que naturellement le chocolat, c’est (21) quasiment un prédateur au niveau du palais. Là il va camoufler les autres saveurs facilement.
–Qu’est-ce que vous cherchez quand vous achetez une crème glacée au chocolat?
–Un bon goût de chocolat noir surtout…plutôt…
–Pas trop sucré.
–La rouge, je l’ai trouvée la plus chocolatée. (22)
–Le goût y est franc.(23) Le goût est franc. uhm, c’est une (24)…je dirais une belle glace au chocolat au lait et non pas une glace chocolat noir.
–La rouge, je l’aime la mieux parce qu’elle goûte.. elle a comme (25) un goût plus franc de chocolat.
–C’est la jaune que vous préférez? (26)
–Elle goûte moins le chocolat, (27) elle goûte plus la crème.
–J’aime la verte.
–Pourquoi tu préfères la verte ? (28)
–Parce que ça goûte plus le chocolat.
–Je vais mettre mes lunettes pour mieux goûter.
–Ah c’est bon ça.
–Parce que la texture…
–Là elle est un peu plus granuleuse.
–La texture, c’est un (29) défi pour un fabricant de crème glacée.
–À l’intérieur de la crème il y a de l’eau. (30) À l’intérieur de chaque élément, il y a de l’eau. Donc ces éléments-là vont avoir tendance avec le temps à se séparer. Quand qu’on sort une glace qui a…(31) où on a l’impression de retrouver de petits grains de sable, mais en fait c’est tout simplement des gouttes d’eau qui ont cristallisé. Elles, (32) les glaces commerciales naturellement y (33) vont mettre d’autres éléments (34)… ils (35) vont mettre beaucoup plus de gélatine souvent qui vont (36) faire en sorte que la glace va se tenir.(37)
–La jaune, qu’est-ce qu’elle avait de plus que les autres ?
–J’aime bien la consistance et voilà(38),
–Un des agents stabilisateurs qui donnent de la consistance c’est la gomme de caroube.
–J’ai l’impression que c’est pas du chocolat. J’ai l’impression c’est (39) du caroube ou autre chose.
–Pour moi c’est ça.
–Quelle couleur ? Vous avez préféré la bleue ?
–Elle est bonne, elle.
–Vous avez la verte ?


In order to keep some of the French structure apparent, I have deliberately made the translation less idiomatic than I normally would.

–With summer at our doorstep, we wanted to do a chocolate ice cream tasting test.
–So, we selected four very popular ice cream makes.
–They’re all ice cream, but they don’t all contain cream.
–Identified by the red dot, the Haagen Daas will be tasted by passer-bys here at the Jean Talon market. Identified with a blue dot, the Nestle. Idenfitied with a yellow dot, the Breyers and with a green dot the Coaticook ice cream. Enjoy!
–The basic ingredients of ice cream are mainly and above all milk, cream, sugar and egg yolk.
–Are there any with eggs? Is it possible?
–I would say that the red ice cream has eggs, and less in the other one…more granular…more,…whatever, I preferred the blue.
–In a chocolate ice cream, a real and very intense chocolate ice cream you will not taste the cream very much. You won’t taste the egg yolk because, naturally, the chocolate overwhelms the taste buds (is a predator on the palate). It will easily mask all the other flavours.
–What do you look for when you buy chocolate ice cream?
–A good chocolate taste above all…more…
–Not too sweet.
–The red one, I think it’s the most chocolate-like.
–The taste is strong. The taste is strong…umm, it’s a …I’d say that it’s an excellent milk chocolate ice cream and not a dark chocolate ice cream.
–The red one, I prefer it because it tastes…it has a more distinctive chocolate taste.
–Is the yellow your preference?
–It has less of a chocolate taste. It tastes more of cream.
–I prefer the green one.
–Why do you prefer the green one?
–Because it tastes more like chocolate.
–I’m going to put my glasses on to taste better.
–Ah, that’s a good idea.
–Because the texture.
–Now, this one is more granular.
–Texture is a challendge for ice cream makers.
–There is water inside cream. Inside every element there is water. So, with time, these elements will have a tendency to separate. When you take out ice cream that …you have the impression of seeing small grains of sand, but in fact it’s simply drops of water that have crystalized. Commercial ice creams will naturally use other ingredients. They’ll put lots of gelatin so that the ice cream will hold (it’s texture).
–The yellow one, what does it have more than the others?
–I prefer the consistency and so…
–One of the stabilizing agents that give consistency is carob gum.
–I’have the feeling that it’s not chocolate. I have the feeling that it’s carob or something else.
–That’s what I think.
–Which colour? You preferred the blue?
–That one is good…

Although you haven’t read part 2 yet, you sould already have a pretty good idea of what is going on here. This is not complicated French, and the video makes understanding easy. You want to develop a feel for French and move away from the temptation to translate into French from English or whatever native language. You should always be thinking, “This is how they say things in French.” The next blog post should help you take your active French conversation skills even higher.

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