Canadian French v. Standard French: what\'s the difference?
Thread poster: Evi Zierlein

Evi Zierlein
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:44
English to German
+ ...
Jun 12, 2002

Can anyone tell me in what Canadian French differs from Standard French? Can it be compared to the difference between UK and US English? And if it differs, are there differences in software related texts or would those terms stay more or less the same?

Unfortunately my French is a little bit rusty, but I thought this might be the best site to get an answer to my questions.

Thank you very much.



Nina Khmielnitzky  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:44
Member (2004)
English to French
It's as different as US and UK English Jun 12, 2002

First of all, French Canadian ressembles old French by the accent and the pronunciation (Apparently, Louis XIV said \"moé\" for moi, like we do in Quebec). In the 1760\'s, when the English won over New France (Quebec), the French speaking population was isolated from France. The French language from France and New France started evolving differently. With time, French from Quebec was influenced by the English from the US. We took the English words, but adapted them by the spelling and the pronunciation.

E.g. in France, they use \"parking\" and \"shopping\", in Quebec, we say \"stationnement\" and \"magasiner\", but some people will say \"bécosse\" for WC, wich comes from \"back house\". There are many many examples. I could not list them all here.

There are books about French Quebecois. I don\'t have any title to suggest, but if you\'d like, I could check at a bookstore in Montreal.

Hope it helps. Maybe someone will continue my tale and give you other examples.

If I may add, the French spoken on TV or written in the newspapers is more standard, but French would have to be you mother tongue to see the difference in standard French from Quebec and France. It\'s not as obvious as the oral French you hear in the daily activities.



Maya Jurt  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:44
Member (2002)
French to German
+ ...
Quite different Jun 12, 2002

navrant - fâchant

faker - faire semblant

filer - Tu ne file pas - Tu n\'es pas dans ton assiette?

le fendant - le prétentieux, l\'arrogant.

flaseux - vaseux

le flo - l\'enfant

des folleries - des petits folies

la madame - la dame

les menteries - les mensonges.

Half of the differences are due to old French expressions (which are beautiful) and the other half to the infuence of American English (less beautiful).

Two books fun to read: Le petit Guide du Parler Québécois (Mario Bélanger) Edition Stanké

Savoureuse Expressions Québécoise (Béliveau/Granger) Editions du Rocher.

Greetings from a Suisse romande



ALAIN COTE (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:44
Japanese to French
Try this... Jun 12, 2002

If you are familiar with \"standard\" French, then just go to the CKAC online radio. You will hear the difference... icon_smile.gif


Bart B. Van Bockstaele  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:44
+ ...
Very different Jun 12, 2002

I am in Toronto and the percentage of the population that speaks French is negligible at best. However, most products packaged for the Canadian market are in Canadian English and French. In the beginning, I was astonished with the enormous number of mistakes in the French text. Until I realised these were no mistakes at all, just Canadian French.

If you want to hear the difference, watch TV5, the international \"Francophonie\" broadcaster. If you are used to French and hear Québecois for the first time, you may not even understand a thing.


Nathalie M. Girard, ALHC (X)  Identity Verified
English to French
+ ...
I do adaptation work Euro Fr > Fr Can Jun 13, 2002

Good evening,

Just popping my head in here for a minute during a break. I actually do a fair amount of adaptation work from Euro French to Canadian French. I worked the last two years *in-house* with quite a few European French (really nice folks - we had a blast) and sometimes it was absolutely hilarious to hear us speak. We learned a lot from eachother actually icon_wink.gif

Some companies have their text translated into Euro French, and then turn around and ask for an adaptation for the French Canadian market to be made. It\'s easier that way than the other way around actually.

As my colleagues pointed out, there are some differences and you would find similar things going with Spanish for Spain and for Latin America.

To reply to Bart\'s comment about some translations in French Canadian (on products) in Canada: I\'m afraid that I have found some very poor and inaccurate translations... way too many times.

I cringe sometimes when I pick up products on the shelves when I go shopping... It\'s not always *good* French period.

Thanks Alain for the radio link, I never think to listen to radio online but once in awhile it can be fun icon_wink.gif

Have a great night!



François Laisné
Local time: 02:44
It IS really different Jun 13, 2002

Good evening Evi,

French from Quebec and french from Europe *are* really different, as the two cultures evolved differently for the last three centuries.

Thus there is not only the matter of different words, different structures, but also quite a difference regarding text localization.

(thanks for the CKAC link, it sure is fun icon_smile.gif)


Evi Zierlein
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:44
English to German
+ ...
Thanks! Software terms? Jun 13, 2002

Thank you very much to all of you, this info has really been very useful to get a better understanding.

Just one other little query: how do the French Canadians handle software terms? Do they change them like the \"standard\" French or are they influenced by the close by American market?



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