4 Differences to Note Between Quebec French and France French
Language is the gateway into any new culture. If you’re planning to settle in Québec, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the French language in order to make the most of what the area has to offer. But it’s important to note that the French spoken in Québec is not entirely the same as the French spoken in France. From vocabulary and pronunciation to cultural references, Québec French brings its own dialect to the table.
Whether you’re preparing for a TEF exam or looking to advance your professional opportunities, understanding the nuances of Québec French will bring you that much closer to achieving your goals. Read on for a closer look at the differences you’ll encounter as a learner of Québec French!
Pronunciation Is Key
One of the most obvious differences you’ll notice between Québec French and France French has to do with pronunciation. These differences are particularly clear when it comes to vowels. Depending on the word, you may notice that Québec French tends to lengthen the vowel sounds in some words and replace short vowels with their lax equivalents. The letters ‘d’ and ‘t’ are also pronounced like ‘dz’ and ‘tz’ when they come before the letters ‘u’ and ‘i.’ For example, in Québec French, “Lundi” often sounds more like “Lundzi.”
By fine-tuning your ear to the local accent, you’ll have a much easier time understanding people in both a professional and social context. Online language courses are a great place to start. At POINT3 Language Center, you’ll have access to simulated listening exercises and courses that target pronunciation or accent reduction to familiarize you with the Québec dialect.
Pay Attention to Vocabulary in Your French Language Course
When engaging with working professionals and other locals in Québec, you may encounter words or idioms that are unique to the region. Today, learners will notice that some of the vocabularies of Québec French differ from that of France French. This stems from its development as a separate linguistic community as well as its relationship with the English language.
Generally speaking, some of the words in Québec French take a more traditional approach. For example, Québec French uses the word “char” to mean “car,” while this translates to “chariot” in France French.
Other words are used to refer to aspects of Quebec culture that do not exist in France. For example, the word “dépanneur” exists in France but it refers to a mechanic or electrician, whereas in Quebec French it refers to a “small corner store.”
Is English Slang Acceptable?
The differences in vocabulary are often most clear when it comes to their use of English words. In France, locals commonly adopt a more flexible dialect and incorporate English phrases into their vocabulary. In Québec, however, locals tend to avoid English slang in favor of a traditional French translation.
For example, road signs in Québec will have “Arrêt” written on them, while in France they read “Stop.” Other Anglicisms like “Parking” and “Shopping” are generally avoided in Québec French and translated into the French alternative.
You’ll notice in your online French course at POINT3 Language Center that Québec French and European French also have some variations in grammar. Generally speaking, Quebecers are much more likely to address each other informally, using the pronouns “tu” and “on,” as opposed to “vous” and “nous.” When communicating with someone from Québec, you may also notice that they shorten propositions, using “s’a” instead of “sur la,” for example.
By knowing what to expect from the local dialect, you can improve your confidence and abilities in communicating with the people around you as you move into Québec life.
Are you looking for virtual language courses to assist your transition into Québec culture?
Contact POINT3 Language Center to get started!