The Word on the Street Is . . . Me, I

Syllabus Montreal Translation Word on the StreetWhoa be it to any English teacher who, fresh off the boat, seeks to remove this diamond in the rough from the mouths of down-home Montrealers. “Me, I” (a literal translation of “moi, je”) is a classic gem that you won’t find anywhere else in continental America. (And if that isn’t reason enough to encourage its proliferation, I don’t know what is!) This poetic idiom/idiosyncrasy is the Montreal-speak equivalent of “I, for one,” but without all the haughtiness.

“Me, I” emphasizes that you’re stating your opinion, while breaking grammatical rules with wild abandon. That’s what I love about it—it doesn’t give a rat’s ass what English grammar should or shouldn’t do. It’s a mix of French and English that marches to the beat of its own drum.

“Me, I” is hands down one of my favourite Montreal idioms—up there with “Thanks, God” (a personal fave which seems to thank God in a much more personal and direct way than its bland Anglophone equivalent—“thank God”—could ever achieve, but that’s a blog for another day).

So if you’re looking to blend on the streets of Montreal—take “me, I” for a spin. Pin it to the front of any personal opinion (like “Me, I prefer the colour blue”) and voilà! You’ve gone native.


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