Quebec French (French: français québécois [fʁɑ̃sɛ kebekwa]; also known as Québécois French or Québécois) is the predominant variety of the French language in Canada, in its formal and informal registers. Quebec French is used in everyday communication, as well as in education, the media, and government.
Quebec (/ k ə ˈ b ɛ k /, sometimes / k w ə ˈ b ɛ k /; French: Québec ()) is one of the thirteen provinces and territories of Canada.Located in Central Canada, the province shares land borders with Ontario to the southwest, Newfoundland and Labrador to the northeast, New Brunswick to the southeast, and a coastal border with Nunavut; it also borders the U.S. states of Maine, New Hampshire ...
- Preservation of Forms
- Nautical Terms
- Political Terms
- Quebec Specialties
- Slang Terms
- Use of Anglicisms
- Other Differences
The Office québécois de la langue française believes that neither morphology nor syntax should be different between Québécois and Metropolitan French, and even that phonetic differences should be kept to a minimum. However, starting in the 1960s, it agreed to the use of words then called "well-formed Canadianisms (canadianismes de bon aloi)," that either are regional in nature (such as names of plants and animals), have been used since before the Conquest, or are justified in their origin and are considered to be equivalent or "better" than the standard equivalent. A very small list of words was published in 1969, mainly containing words that were archaic in France, but still common in Quebec. This list especially contained imperial unitsand words from aboriginal languages. Subsequent lists have been published regularly since then. Many differences that exist between Quebec French and European French arise from the preservation of certain forms that are today archaic in Europe. New...
Many differences that exist between Quebec French and Metropolitan French arise from the preservation of certain forms that are today archaic in Europe. For example, espérer for "to wait" (attendrein France). Cour in Quebec is a backyard (jardin in French), whereas in France cour has dropped this meaning and primarily means a courtyard (as well as other meanings like court). However, in some areas of France, such as in the mining regions of northern France, cour still means backyard. The word breuvage is used for "[a] drink" in addition to boisson; this is an old French usage (bevrage) from which the English "beverage" originates. Breuvage may be used in European French, but generally indicates some nuance, possibly pejorative. The word piastre or piasse, a slang term for a dollar (equivalent to "buck" in English), was in fact the term originally used in French for the American or Spanish dollar (they had the same value for a long period). The word couple is used in standard French...
A number of terms that in other French-speaking regions are exclusively nautical are used in wider contexts in Quebec. This is often attributed to the original arrival of French immigrants by ship, and to the dominance of the Saint Lawrence River as the principal means of transport among the major settlements of the region in the past centuries. An example is the word débarquer, which in Quebec means to get off any conveyance (a car, a train); in France, this word means only to disembark from a ship or aircraft (descendre from other vehicles), plus some colloquial uses. Another example would be vadrouille for mop (in French it would mean wandering or a mop made of ropes and used on a ship, the regular house mop would be called serpillère).
Since Canada uses the Westminster system, unlike republican France, many political terms devised in English have had to be imported or new terms created. This is not always easy, and can lead to awkward constructions, the most famous example being Dominion, for which there is no French translation. As well in Canadian English the first minister of the federation is called the Prime Minister and the first minister of a province is called a Premier.However French makes no distinction and both are called Premier ministrein all cases. For example, "Premier ministre du Canada", "Premier ministre du Québec / de l'Alberta", etc.
There are also words for Quebec specialties that do not exist in Europe, for example poutine, CEGEP, tuque (a Canadianism in both official languages), and dépanneur (a corner store/small grocery; dépanneur in France is a mechanic who comes in to repair a car or a household appliance, which is called a dépanneusein Quebec). Blueberries, abundant in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, are called bleuets; in France, they are lumped together with myrtilles (bilberries) and bleuet means cornflower. (Bleuet is also slang for someone from Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean.) Although very similar, these are not the same plants (i.e. myrtilles are Vaccinium myrtillus and bleuets are Vaccinium angustifolium or corymbosum).
French speakers of Quebec use the informal second-person pronoun tu more often and in more contexts than speakers in France do. In certain contexts it may be perfectly appropriate to address a stranger or even the customer of a store using tu, whereas the latter would be considered impolite in France. The split often runs across generations in Quebec: Persons between 40 and 60 years of age often feel that sales persons, or service personnel giving them a tu instead of a vous are uncouth or uncultivated. Persons 60 years of age and older will sometimes feel insulted if a stranger uses the tu to them. Government employees (such as policemen or bureaucrats with some contact with the public) as well as employees of large stores or large chains in Quebec are usually instructed to use vous with everybody, unless some kind of camaraderie is in play or they know the person well. Sometimes the split is also across social or educational lines. For instance, young academics are usually hesitan...
There is a huge variety of idioms in Quebec that do not exist in France, such as fait que ("so"); en masse ("a lot"); s'en venir (for arriver and venir ici); ben là! or voyons donc! ("oh, come on!"), de même (for comme ça). Entire reference books have been written about idioms specific to Quebec. A handful of examples among many hundreds: 1. J'ai mon voyage = J'en ai marre / Pas possible!= I'm fed up / Unbelievable! 2. C'est de valeur = C'est dommage= What a pity 3. Habillé comme la chienne à Jacques= Dressed up like a dog's dinner 4. C’est malade/fou raide= That's sick/crazy/rad 5. Se faire avoir= to get fooled 6. Mais que = lorsque, quand que= When... (the subjunctive must follow this form) 7. Tirer le diable par la queue = Avoir les difficultés avec l’argent= I'm in a tight spot financially 8. Se faire passer un sapin= To be lied to 9. Avoir une face à claque= a bad person 10. Avoir les yeux dans la graisse de bines= to be in love or to be tired (glassy-eyed) 11. Avoir l’estomac...
As with any two regional variants, there is an abundance of slang terms found in Quebec that are not found in France. Quebec French profanityuses references to Catholic liturgical equipment, rather than the references to prostitution that are more common in France. The expression "you're welcome" is bienvenue or ça me fait plaisir in Quebec, though de rien or pas de quoi is also used in Quebec. Note that the expression bonne journée (as opposed to bonjour) is also often used for "goodbye" in Quebec (similar to "Good Day"), which it is not in France (where it is more common to say au revoir or bye). Some slang terms unique to Quebec:
Loanwords from English, as well as calques or loans of syntactic structures, are known as anglicisms (French: anglicismes).
Like most global languages there are regional differences. Even within Quebec there are regional uses of words or expression. Here are some other differences between standard Quebec French and European French: Many, but not all, of the European equivalents for the words listed above are also used or at least understood in Quebec.
The portions of the former New France that remained under British rule were administered as Upper Canada and Lower Canada, 1791–1841, and then those regions were merged as the Province of Canada during 1841–1867, when the passage of the British North America Act of 1867 instituted home rule for most of British North America and established French-speaking Quebec (the former Lower Canada) as one of the original provinces of the Dominion of Canada.
- Combinatory phenomena
The phonology of Quebec French is more complex than that of Parisian or Continental French. Quebec French has maintained phonemic distinctions between /a/ and /ɑ/, /ɛ/ and /ɛː/, /ø/ and /ə/, /ɛ̃/ and /œ̃/. The latter of each pair has disappeared in Parisian French, and only the last distinction has been maintained in Meridional French, yet all of these distinctions persist in Suisse Romande.
Apart from /ɔ̃/, the nasal vowels are very different from Modern Parisian French, but they are similar to traditional Parisian French and Meridional French. is pronounced exactly as in Meridional French: /ɛ̃/ → ~, /ɑ̃/ → ~, quand 'when', /ɔ̃/ →, and /œ̃/ is ...
Long and nasalized vowels are generally diphthongized in closed syllables, but,, and are not diphthongized if they are before /v/: 1. → ~ ~ ~, but ~ ~ before /ʁ/, as in fête ~, Eng. "party"; père ~ ~, Eng. "father"; fêter, Eng. "celebrate"; 2. →, as in neutre, Eng ...
Metonymies provide interesting evidence of a phonological feminine. For instance, although most adults would probably say that autobus is masculine if they were given time to think, specific bus routes defined by their number are always feminine. Bus No. 10 is known as l'autobus
It has been postulated that the frequency of consonant reduction in Quebec French is due to a tendency to pronounce vowels with more "strength" than consonants, a pattern reversing that of European French. Consonant clusters finishing a word are reduced, often losing altogether t
The high front vowels in Quebec French show a net tendency to be unvoiced or even lost, as in municipalité /mynisipalite/ →,. Much more common is the nasalization of some long vowels placed before a nasal consonant: même → ~, jeûne →, jaune →, etc. Similarly ...
Liaison is a phenomenon in spoken French in which an otherwise-silent final consonant is pronounced at the beginning of a following word beginning with a vowel. The rules for liaison are complex in both European French and Quebec French.
Quebec City (/ k w ɪ ˈ b ɛ k / or / k ə ˈ b ɛ k /; French: Ville de Québec), officially Québec ( ()), is the capital city of the Canadian province of Quebec.As of July 2016 the city had a population of 531,902, and the metropolitan area had a population of 800,296.
- List of common sacres
- Non-profane uses
- Comparison to other languages
Quebec French profanities, known as sacres, are words and expressions related to Catholicism and its liturgy that are used as strong profanities in Quebec French and in Acadian French. Sacres are considered stronger in Canada than the foul expressions common to standard French, which centre on sex and excrement.
The sacres originated in the early 19th century, when the social control exerted by the Catholic clergy was increasingly a source of frustration. One of the oldest sacres is sacrament, which can be thought of as the French-Canadian equivalent of the English "goddamn it". It is known to have been in use as early as the 1830s. The word sacrer in its current meaning is believed to come from the expression Ne dites pas ça, c'est sacré. Eventually, sacrer started to refer to the words French ...
These sacres are commonly given in a phonetic spelling to indicate the differences in pronunciation from the original word, several of which are typical of highly informal Quebec French. The nouns here can also be modified for use as verbs. Additionally, some forms, notably ostie and criss, can become semi-adjectival when followed by de, as in Va t'en, ostie de chat!; tabarnak is often added at the end for extra emphasis. Often, several of these words are strung together when used adjectivally,
A very strong way to express anger or frustration is to use the words tabarnak, sacrament, and câlice. Depending on the context and the tone of the phrases, it might make everybody quiet, but some people use these words to add rhythm or emphasis to sentences. Usually, more than one of these words is used in French-Canadian profanity. The words are simply connected with de, without any restrictions. Long strings of invective can be connected in this way, and the resulting expression does ...
A slang term with the preposition en means "a lot of": d'la bouffe en tabarnak means "a lot of food", similar to English constructs such as "fuck-ton" or "shitload". Sacres are often used as verbs too. For example, câlisser une volée means "to beat the fuck out of" or, more literally, "to give a beating", where câlisser is used as a stronger form of "to give". There are constructions like détabarnaker or décrisser, which means "to leave" or "to destroy", using the dé prefix, which is ...
The use of liturgical profanity is not unique to Canadian French or Quebec. In Italian, although to a lesser extent, some analogous words are in use: in particular, ostia and sacramento are relatively common expressions in the northeast, which are lighter than the typical blasphemies in use in Italy, such as porco Dio and porca Madonna. Modifying the terms into euphemistic equivalents is used in Italy; for example, ostia is commonly modified to osteria. The word sacramento has produced the verb
Montreal (/ ˌ m ʌ n t r i ˈ ɔː l / MUN-tree-AWL; officially Montréal, French: ) is the second-most populous city in Canada and most populous city in the Canadian province of Quebec. Founded in 1642 as Ville-Marie, or "City of Mary", it is named after Mount Royal, the triple-peaked hill in the heart of the city.
- May 17, 1642
Quebec French (French : français québécois [fʁɑ̃sɛ kebekwa] ; also known as Québécois French or Québécois) is the predominant variety of the French language in Canada, in its formal and informal registers. Quebec French is used in everyday communication, as well as in education, the media, and government.
Quebec French was also influenced by the French spoken by the King's Daughters, who was of the petit-bourgeois class from the Paris area (Île-de-France) as well as Normandy. Thus, the 18th-century bourgeois Parisian French that eventually became the national, standardized language of France after the French Revolution , but the French of the Ancien Régime kept evolving on its own in Canada.