4

This is a phrase I saw in the comments section under one music video on YouTube:

toujours à l'écoute sa

Could you please break it down for me in terms of grammar? Google Translate says that it means the following:

always listening to her

But I'm not exactly sure if that's really the correct translation.

  • A link to the page might help. – jlliagre May 14 at 0:07
  • @jlliagre I added it. – user69786 May 14 at 0:22
6

The sentence is agrammatical if only because the adjective sa cannot end a sentence.

Without more clues, it might be a seriously misspelled, phonetic transcription of :

Toujours elle écoute ça. (a colloquial way to say: elle écoute toujours ça)

but I really doubt someone would really use à l' for elle.

Alternatively, a word might be missing for:

Toujours à l'écoute de ça. (always listening/attentive to it)

After knowing the context, the author is a Réunion island native. This clearly explains both the Réunion créole spelling of sa for the French ça and the lack of de.

A quick search of her comments on You Tube and other sites shows she sometimes writes in Créole réunionnais and uses sa for ça:

Larissa Grondin il y a 2 ans
vient dans mon braaas rienk aou y gagne réconfort amoin. .. ♥

Toujours ô top ti son la hun . big up
Larissa Grondin Il y a 3 ans

Larissa Grondin il y a 3 ans
c'est sa le bon son ♡ ! .

  • 2
    Though I agree with your analysis of a de swallowed at the end of écoute, I have to say that the à l' = elle wouldn't surprise me either :p I've collected a few far-fetched misspellings from YouTube comments, forum posts, etc. and nothing surprises me anymore... a favourite few recently are « annevant », « appro peau », « à cause de louis connat gagné » and « je les emai mes ces tes pas pour moi ». If you're thinking the vowel shift is too far, I was just reminded that sometimes ellea in Québec... – Luke Sawczak May 14 at 10:24
  • @LukeSawczak Yes, phonetic writing is getting more usual these days (and is what all alphabetical languages should have stayed using by design in the first place anyway...) The fact the author is sometimes expressing herself in créole is reinforcing this theory. – jlliagre May 14 at 10:45
2

One should manage their expectations when reading comments or chats on French-speaking social networks: they are often written in relaxed French where spelling, grammar and punctuation rules are seen as unimportant, and are often meant to transpose how the writer would spontaneously speak in colloquial French.

In this case, my take is that the writer wanted to say:

[C'est une chanson dont je suis] toujours à l'écoute, ça !

The confusion in spelling of ça/sa is a typical grammar mistake among young French native speakers when they learn to write (from my own school memories, native speakers typically learn in grammar lessons about that around the age of 8/9). It is yet quite common among "uneducated" (no prejudice intended, I cannot find a better word...) native speakers, and is even frequent in "short messaging" language, because it is faster to type than ça or even ca on a French phone keyboard (you can find other instances such as eg. "ses" used for "c'est").

  • So, how would you translate "C'est une chanson dont je suis toujours à l'écoute, ça !" into English then? "This is a song I always listen to!"? And what exactly does that "ça" at the end of the sentence mean? – user69786 May 14 at 10:28
  • 1
    Yes, that is roughly "this is a song I always listen to". The "ça" at the end (or the beginning) of a sentence is a common way, in spoken French, to repeat the subject (if the subject is "cela" or "ce") to put the emphasis on it. Ex: "Now that is what I call a nice car would be "ça, c'est une belle voiture !" or "C'est un belle voiture, ça !". Or: "this is so stupid !" would be "c'est vraiment bête, ça" ! – Greg May 14 at 11:46
  • @user69786 In standard French you wouldn't say "à l'écoute"; this expression is proper when you listen to something intently, something that requires a mental effort : "à l'écoute de l'allocution" du président" for instance. "à l'écoute de musique" is not found; for listening in a casual way or for music in general you say only "écouter", never "à l'écoute de Johnny Halliday", "à l'écoute de mes disques", à l'écoute de mon morceau préféré"; "C'est une chanson que j'écoute tout le temps, ça." is correct. "c'est une chanson que j'écoute toujours." is ambiguous. – LPH May 14 at 12:04
  • Je doute que le processus de complémentation fasse partie de la pensée de l'auteur, même si sans le mot charnière « dont » ; de plus « à l'écoute » n'est pas vraiment idiomatique pour de la musique et convient plutôt dans le cas d'écoute qui implique un effort intellectuel, et c'est le plus souvent ce que l'on entend et lit dans une langue courante; il y a donc peu de chance, à moins que l'expression ait été déjà détournée dans le milieu où vit l'auteur de « toujours à l'écoute sa », que ce soit la correspondance. (champ 1) – LPH May 14 at 12:35
  • Finalement, il existe une autre solution : « Ça c'est écouté tout le temps par les gens.» et même « Les gens n'ont pas encore arrêté d'écouter ça.». (fin) – LPH May 14 at 12:38

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.