If you’re learning French as a second language, you may have heard about the differences between the French spoken in Quebec versus the French spoken in France. Here are a few fun facts about these variations.
The names of meals are different. If a Quebecois invites you to “dîner,” show up at noon. But if a Frenchman extends the same invitation, he means the evening meal. If you’re asked to bring your “blonde” to said lunch date, don’t worry if your wife is a brunette or redhead. A “blonde” is the common Quebec term for one’s girlfriend or wife. In France, she’s referred to as a “petite amie.”
The Quebecois swear using a colourful stream of religious-based curse words of a potency not found in France (or perhaps anywhere else in the world, for that matter). The Catholic Church played a fundamental role in people’s lives well until the 1960s, so it’s not surprising to find its influence on colloquial language.
Contractions are abundantly used in Quebec spoken French. Expressions like “tu sais” (you know) becomes “tsé”; ça fait que (so) is “faque”; and bien (good) is bin. These constructions are commonly heard in informal conversation in Quebec (not in business or more formal contexts), yet are nonexistent in France.
Let’s hope this little exposé on French-language variants hasn’t discouraged you from learning the langue de Molière. If anything, these fun facts make it even more endearing, n’est-ce pas?