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Video:Differences Between French in Canada Versus France

with Milo De Prieto

The main differences between French in Canada and France is in the spoken language, learn some interesting examples and general patterns unique to each in the language video from About.com.See Transcript

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Transcript:Differences Between French in Canada Versus France

Bonjour I'm Milo for About.com and today we are talking about differences between French in Canada versus France.  These ideas and more can be found on our French site.   

The Differences in French are Heard When Speaking

Between French in Canada and France there are differences in both pronunciation, vocabulary, and spoken language construction.  Generally speaking, think of the difference as analogous to the differences between British and American English.  Except for a few vocabulary words you wouldn't notice the difference between an American text and a British text.  It's in the spoken language that the differences come out. For instance, the Canadian French are slightly less formal. 

Canadian French is Slightly Less Formal

They don't use "vous" as much, preferring the informal “tu,” except in the most obvious of cases. They save "vous" mostly for plural. In Québec, it is usual to say “Fais-toi z'en pas,” instead of, “Ne t'en fais pas.” (Don't worry!) 

The pronoun “tu” may often be used informally when you ask a direct question: 

  • “C'est loin, ça?” is said in France versus “C'est-tu pas assez loin, ça?” which is said in Canada. (Is it far?) 
  • “Est-ce que j'ai l'air fatigué?” is said in France but, “J'ai-tu l'air fatigué?” is said in Canada. (Do I Look tired?) 
  • “Tu vas bien?” Is said in France versus, “Tu vas-tu bien?” (How are you?) 
  • In the spoken language the “pis” a variation of “puis” (then) is used for “et” (and). 
  • J'm'en vas à Montréal avec Martin pis Julie. I am going to Montreal with Martin and Julie. 
  • On est allé faire un tour pis boire un verre. We went to have a walk and a drink. 

Differences in French Vocabulary Between Canada and France

For some Canadian French speakers the preposition “à” is often used to express possession. In Metropolitan French, you would say, “la voiture de Pierre.”In Canadian French, it is, “la voiture à Pierre.”Pierre's Car. 

Canadian French and Metropolitan French present some major differences in terms of vocabulary, and some of them can be sometimes very confusing: For example, “une blonde,” “une petite amie.”

  • Hier j'ai vu ma blonde. (Canada) Hier j'ai vu ma petite amie. (France). Yesterday I saw my girlfriend. 

Also a boyfriend is “mon chum” in Canada. 

There is also some possible confusion with the meals. The three usual meals in France are in order:Le petit déjeuner, le déjeuner and at the end of the day le dîner. In Canada, they are: le déjeuner, le dîner and le souper. Also, whenever they can,

Canadian speakers of French create French words for American terms that are accepted in France, like “traversier” instead of “ferry” which is an Anglicism, or “stationnement” when French people say “parking” and they also use “nettoyeur” when “pressing” is used in France.  

Also, instead of email, they say, “courrier électronique.” Culturally France and Quebec share a lot, and it is common for a singer in Canada to be very famous in France as well, like Céline Dion whose album D'eux was the best selling album in France. 

For more helpful and excellent information on speaking and learning French, check us out at About.com.

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