Two years after my experience in Paris, I decided to get back into French and move to Montréal (in 2007). It was a drastically different experience to my time in Paris! Everyone was so incredibly nice to me, people were much less formal and more open to making friends, and they especially had more patience to help me with my French.
Montréal and Quebec in general are among the most favourite places I’ve lived in, in the last decade of travelling. I still think very fondly back to my time there with my amazing and hilarious flatmates (Je m’ennuie de vous, Marie-Ève et Marlène!!), the parties, the Jazz fest, Juste pour rire and the amazing city and its open mind and warmth.
I especially liked Saint Jean (which I went to Quebec city for) – an incredible celebration which is comparible to other world festivals, but with the bonus of everyone coming up to you and wishing you Bonne Saint-Jean! Even the Carnival in Brazil didn’t have that level of interaction!
The Quebec spirit is one I definitely agree with and I highly recommend people go there (especially Americans due to proximity and likely easier bureaucratic visa etc. process) if they’d like to learn French.
Interview en français avec ma Couchsurfeuse Geneviève
The reason I’m bringing this up now, even though I’m in Amsterdam, is because I’ve been hosting a Québécoise for the last couple of days via Couchsurfing. As I’ve described in detail before, I use Couchsurfing as a means to maintain and practice all my languages on a regular basis, no matter where I am.
Since it’s been four years since I’ve lived in a French speaking country, I should technically have totally forgotten my French, but luckily I have been maintaining it thanks to hosting francophones.
Geneviève agreed to let me test out my new camera (which I’ll be using to interview those I host and come across in my travels in various languages in future) and ask her to share some thoughts on Quebec and Quebec French, and even share some frustration we both had Parisians (which luckily hasn’t been my experience elsewhere in France).
[Correction: She said that outside of Quebec they only speak English, which is of course forgetting about New Brunswick and many strong francophone communities throughout Canada.]
Hopefully you liked the questions I asked her! The 13 minute video goes as follows:
- Intro 0:00 – 0:36
- [0:37] What’s different between Quebecers and the French?
- [2:21] Some unfairness about preference for English in Montreal and the need to preserve French
- [3:27] How foreigners are very much welcomed in French-speaking Quebec
- [4:00] The history of where Quebec curse words come from and some examples
- [5:30] Things to do to be more Quebecois
- [6:27] Difference in use of “les anglais”
- [6:53] Differences in how “a” is pronounced in some words
- [7:41] Spending time with Quebecers to get used to the accent
- [8:11] General vocabulary that is different in Quebec French
- [10:55] Geneviève’s travels and thoughts on travelling to keep an open mind
- [12:41] Wrapping up and me saying “I miss Quebec” in Quebec French
Hopefully my rusty (but still fluent) French doesn’t slow the interview down too much As you can imagine, my preference will be to share interesting videos like this rather than using my languages as a dancing monkey for no good reason. This is what languages are all about for me; interesting conversations with people. Expect more of these to feature on the blog
Any thoughts on how different Quebec French sounds? Have any of you been to la belle province? Let me know in the comments below!
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This article was written by Benny Lewis
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