20 Dec

Canadian French vs French from France part 1

Bonjour à tous,

I have been teaching French for over 10 years, and I have met people from all around the globe. One of the most fascinating things for me, as a linguist, is the differences that time and distance have created in languages such as French, English & Spanish. I would like to share some of my findings with you in regards to the difference between French from France, and French from Canada.

– « Viens me donner un bec! » Which, for Canadians, means “Come give me a kiss!”, but for a French person, it means: “Come give me a beak!”. Yet we can recognize some similarity with our expression “Donne-moi un bécot!” which means “Give me a kiss!”

– As you may know, the French word for “corn” is “maïs”, but in Canada, it is called “blé d’Inde” in a certain dish. In French, “watermelon” is called “pastèque”, but Canadians decided to translate it word for word from English: “melon d’eau”.

– The following one is typically Canadian. The same way you would talk about 100 “bucks” in American English or 100 “quids” in England, Canadians talk about 100 “piastres” (the “tr” are not pronounced), which makes it sound like 100 “piasses”.

– In France, in order to say “Watch out for…” we would use “Fais gaffe à…” (colloquial), but in Canada, they say: “Fais gare à…” The French would only use the old-fashioned expression: “Gare à toi si…” meaning “Be carefully if…”

– In Canada, they would use the word “pacté” for “drunk”. It would make no sense in France.

– Talking about “making sense”, the French would say: “Ca n’a pas de sense” to say “It doesn’t make sense”. Canadians have an expression that the French would never understand in a million years: “Ca n’a pas d’allure” Given that the word “allure” means “look/appearance”, THAT makes no sense!

If you’re looking for a French tutor in Los Angeles or online, go to http://www.monprofesseur.org. I also offer French lessons online for groups, for adults as well as for homeschoolers.

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