French Canada, located just beyond New York on the eastern side of Canada, can cater to your needs. But do they speak the same variety of French as in France, you ask? Sacré bleu! Not quite. In Quebec, Québecois is spoken, and yes, there are differences. Before you go, let’s look at some of the history and the variations.
The origin of Quebecois French is from Classical French in the 17th and 18th centuries, brought to “New France” by French colonists. The influence of the area began to play a major role in the evolution of the language – that is, interaction and contact with Native Americans and their languages plus the different foliage and fauna gave way to new words. This, combined with the isolation from Europe and the fact that French settlers retained the older pronunciations, gave way to a new dialect.
One simple analogy would be to say that Quebec French = American/Canadian English and France French = England/UK English, but even that can be misleading because the differences in Québecois and France French are even larger.
Some fun differences:
‘France’ French: parking/parker
Québecois French: stationnement/stationer
FF: le weekend
QF: la fin de semaine
FF: Je t’en prie
Along with different pronunciations, idioms, slang, the speed of the spoken language, swear words and exclusive cultural references are definitely different in Quebec than in France. This, however, does not mean that you won’t be able to engage in the culture when you visit Quebec. As long as you try, the local Canadian will most likely appreciate your efforts.
Of course, English is sometime welcome, too. If someone starts a conversation with “Bonjour hello”, as if it is one word, they are actually inviting you to use whichever language you prefer. So even if you haven’t been on your French language course for long, and you just want to try out a bit of the language, you will be able to speak English in the more urban areas with ease.
Cactus Language offer French courses in the UK, New York, France and Canada, including Quebec!