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Parisian French and Canadian French

Travel Forums General Talk Parisian French and Canadian French

1. Posted by spongehead (Full Member 119 posts) 8y

Well, well. For those who have travelled to both France and Canada (Quebec), you'll probably notice that the French accent in both places are rather different. I subscribe to cable TV for my regular dose of French and when I watch programmes from Canada, I simply couldn't decipher what they are saying! With the exception of Radio Canada, the rest were....hmmm.

One example:
The word 'child' (enfant) is pronounced 'On-Fon' in Parisian French but 'On-Fang' in Canadian French (at least that's what I heard).

Then again, some peculiarities add spice to languages during our travel! ;)

Would any Canadians here like to share a few words of Quebecois French so that I can fully understand sitcoms from Canada? And that would be good for communicating in Quebec, I believe.

2. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 8y

I'll do my best to help! French is my second language but I live in Montreal so I hear it all the time. And Radio Canada has a weird cross between Quebec and France French that no one here ever speaks. They sound like they have sticks up their butts. :)

I can't figure out movies from France, myself. All the pronunciations are so elaborate and drawn out they go over my head. Plus the expressions are totally different. I understand all the words but the meanings are lost on me. I can get by fine, so long as people hear my accent and slow down a tad.

"Enfant" is more like "en-FAH". Then there's also:

  • T'say (tu sais)
  • E-sit (ici)
  • Guh (gars)
  • Byaille (bière)
  • Chaw (char)

And all the fine, adjective-laden swearing that comes out the few times I drive. It's very handy! Never have to say the same word twice.

3. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 8y

Quoting tway

And all the fine, adjective-laden swearing that comes out the few times I drive. It's very handy! Never have to say the same word twice.

TABERNACLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh wait, that's not adjective-laden. Sorry. But it is a word...

4. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 8y

Quoting Isadora

Quoting tway

And all the fine, adjective-laden swearing that comes out the few times I drive. It's very handy! Never have to say the same word twice.

TABERNACLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh wait, that's not adjective-laden. Sorry. But it is a word...

But it can be an adjective, as in "Tabarnacle de char!"

Oh, and spongehead, try listening to New Brunswick Acadian French. Or French from the Iles de la Madelaine. Now there's some mysterious French for you.

5. Posted by spongehead (Full Member 119 posts) 8y

Quoting tway

And Radio Canada has a weird cross between Quebec and France French that no one here ever speaks.

Speaking of which, I watch Radio Canada's news sometimes and er, yes, I feel the newscasters couldn't resist the urge to sneak in a few Quebecois twangs every now and then (even though they're required to speak in standard French).

And may I add in another interesting difference:
If I'm not wrong, the word 'stop' is used rather loosely in Canada (traffic-wise) as 'Arret' while it's simply 'Stop' in France!

Does anyone here watch 'Un Gars et une Fille' from Canada? I swear I can't understand a thing without proper subtitles at the bottom!

6. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 8y

That's funny--I have the complete opposite problem. If we flip to a movie from France, I have to keep asking my boyfriend--who studied French in Europe--what the hell they're saying. All that long, drawn-out verbiage--drives me crazy! I have to watch French movies with subtitles cause I miss half the stuff.

Radio Canada speaks this weird French/Quebec mix that just doesn't exist anywhere. I wish they'd just speak like normal Quebec people. I bet none of them articulate like that at home. I don't know if that's "standard" French that they speak during the news--it just sounds awfully snooty.

I think our difficulties come from French being our second language. I can watch programs from England, Ireland, Scotland (well, most), Australia--no problem. But give me French that's too different and I'm kinda lost!

I don't watch Un Gars Une Fille, but I do love Annie et ses Hommes. Do you get that, too?

7. Posted by spongehead (Full Member 119 posts) 8y

I guess it's the romanticism I associate with the French language (from France, not Canada)...all the pouting of the lips and vibrating Rrrrrrrs. It was true heaven for me when I went to Paris, practising French with the Parisians (no, they were not rude at all, in fact, they were very patient).

Anyone else here like to chip in their weird breed of French from other parts of the world...Senegal, Mauritius, Polynesia, Guyana...anyone?

8. Posted by norian (Full Member 71 posts) 8y

In France when you want to say "being drunk", you say : "être saoul". In africa you can say : "être goudri".

Or when u talk about someone stupid, in france you say "niais", in africa you say "touki". In Canadian french don't you say "niaiseux" for this word ?

9. Posted by dream.girl (Full Member 48 posts) 8y

Hi Spongebob,
I know exactly how you feel! But I would suggest trying to listen to some quebecois music, try Les cowboys Fringants, they're my fav. Try to find some slower songs and stop all the time to do a double take on the words. To be honest I find that quebecois french is like a drunk Parisian speaking! The swears are quite different, and the expressions too, but most everything else is at least similar. I find the Quebecois pronounce their "ain" 's a bit like the Marsiellais, more like and "-eng."

Enjoy!

10. Posted by spongehead (Full Member 119 posts) 8y

Quoting dream.girl

Hi Spongebob,

Just a friendly reminder, my nick is Sponghead...not Spongebob. although I do profess a liking for that underwater character!