Home French Language Canadian French vs. French: 17 Essential Variations, from Pronunciation to Distinctive Phrases

Canadian French vs. French: 17 Essential Variations, from Pronunciation to Distinctive Phrases

Canadian French vs. French: 17 Essential Variations, from Pronunciation to Distinctive Phrases


canadian french

You step off the aircraft in Montréal and hop on a bus to your resort, solely to note that the French sounds just a little totally different from the French .

Canadian French has its personal quirks and traits and this publish will clarify what a few of these are!

Aweille! (Let’s go!)



An Introduction to Canadian French

After we discuss Canadian French, this refers back to the a number of dialects of French spoken in Canada. These embody Quebec French, Acadian French and Métis French, with Quebec French being probably the most widespread and well-known.  

Quebec French relies on the French that was spoken in Paris throughout the seventeenth and 18th centuries largely attributable to colonization.

Throughout this era, Quebec turned the middle of the francophone world as new settlers grew the native inhabitants.

Now, French is the native tongue for 78% of Quebec’s inhabitants, and almost 95% of the inhabitants is bilingual. English and French even have equal authorized standing within the authorities.

Whereas each Quebec and France use the identical grammar guidelines, verb conjugations and sentence buildings, there’s a huge distinction in accent, pronunciation and vocabulary.

What to Know About Canadian French

1. There are some particular nouns and verbs

Listed below are a number of the most outstanding vocabulary phrases which might be utilized in Canadian French however not French from France.

Within the parentheses you’ll discover the equal you’d see in France:

Apparently, French Canadian additionally has its personal distinctive set of religion-related swearwords that may confuse French audio system from France. For instance, tabarnak usually means “tabernacle” (an ornate field the place the Communion host is saved), however in Quebec, it’s a really profane swear phrase. 

2. There’s totally different consuming time vocabulary

Consuming time vocabulary in Quebec is sort of totally different from that utilized in France:

3. The accent is totally different

Individuals say that the Québécois  accent, is chantant  (sing-songy), when in comparison with different Francophone accents. 

Like all language, there’s no commonplace Canadian French accent as each metropolis and city has its explicit means of speaking and distinctive slang

Have a look at this video to see some variations in pronunciations between a French speaker from France vs. Quebec.

4. There are totally different pronunciations 


A particularity of Quebec French is the substitute of il  (him or it) with the sound/letter y. It’s widespread to listen to Y’est malade (he’s sick) or perhaps Y fait bon  (it’s good out).


You might right here elle  (she or it) changed with the letter a and an prolonged a sound: a mal au ventre  (her abdomen hurts).

Je suis

The chu sound to switch je suis  (I’m) is sort of charming. You’ll hear Québécois saying chu fatigué  (I’m drained) or chu en retard  (I’m late).

and D

A very distinctive function of québécois is that earlier than the letters i and e, the consonants t and d are pronounced in a different way. 

T turns into ts, and d turns into dz.

So, dîner  (lunch) may sound like “dzîner” and canadien  (Canadian) may sound like “canadzien.”


Québécois retains a lot of classical French’s authentic pronunciations, which now not exist in France.

Listed below are some examples:

5. Questions are requested a bit in a different way

On the subject of asking questions in formal settings, Canadian French makes use of vous (formal you) and say it precisely as you’ll in some other French-speaking space.

When kicking again or speaking amongst each other in informal settings, there’s just a little spin on sentence construction when asking questions.

See should you can spot the sample…

T’en veux-tu ? – Would you want some?

Tu m’écoutes-tu ? Do you hear me? / Are you listening?

Tu t’en vas-tu ? Are you going?

Discover the extra tu (you) on the finish of the query.

6. Quebec makes use of tu much more

In contrast to in France, Quebec French is much extra seemingly to make use of the casual type in non-business transactions—for instance, ordering drinks at a bar or talking to a grocery store cashier.

Nonetheless, if doubtful, use vous (formal you) and observe the opposite particular person’s lead.

7. Quebec French has tried to erase English

The difficulty of language is sort of political in Quebec because the Quebeçois are typically very protecting of French.

Quebec actually focuses on preserving French, generally ensuing within the adoption of recent phrases with a view to offset the affect of the closely Anglo surroundings.

For instance:

Cease indicators say ARRÊT, as an alternative of STOP as they do in different Francophone nations.

Faire du procuring (to buy groceries) is much less used, in favor of faire du magasinage  or magasiner  (from the phrase magasin, which suggests retailer).

Un mail or e-mail , generally utilized in French, is completely un courriel  in Quebec.

Le week-end is all the time la fin de semaine  in Quebec.

8. Quebec French does use some English verbs

Regardless of state safety of French, the proximity of English has had its results.

It’s widespread to listen to Québécois conjugate English verbs into French sentences, for instance, in Quebec you may hear…

J’ai plugé mon cellulaire. — I plugged in my cellphone.

J’ai uploadé le doc. I uploaded the doc.

Je suis dans le rush et je suis hyper velocity. I’m in a rush and I’m going tremendous quick.

J’ai un hangover. I’ve a hangover.

On a crossé la road. We crossed the road.

9. Canadian French makes use of phrases influenced by English

The stress to keep away from importing English phrases results in American phrases being translated straight into French. These are known as calques , or mortgage translations.

Listed below are just a few:

Coca diète (Coca gentle ) — Weight-reduction plan Coke

la fin de semaine (le week-end ) — weekend

Je suis tombé en amour avec elle. (Je suis tombé amoureux d’elle. ) — I fell in love along with her.

être dans le hassle (avoir des problèmes / avoir des ennuis ) — to be in hassle

10. French Canadians say on, not nous

The impersonal pronoun on  (one) replaces nous  (we) in just about all casual Canadian French conversations. 

On (one) is adopted by the third particular person singular of the verb:

On est à la plage. (Nous sommes à la plage. ) — We’re on the seashore.

11. is used liberally as a casual marker

actually means “there,” however in québécois it seems on the finish of many sentences as a marker of emphasis or an exclamation.

It’s like including “eh” or “yeah” to an English sentence:

Là, là, écoute-moé, là ? — Hearken to me, yeah?

Comprenez-vous, là ? — Do you perceive?

Moi là, je pense que… — Personally, I feel that…

12. Ben is quite common

Ben (actually) is a superb phrase in Canadian French, and also you’ll hear it on a regular basis in casual speech.

It comes from the phrase bien  (nicely), and listed here are some examples of the way you may hear it:

C’est ben loin, là. — It’s actually far.

C’est pas ben beau. — It’s not very good.

13. Fin has many extra meanings in québécois.

In France, the phrase fin  (noun: finish; adjective: wonderful or skinny) is used actually, however in French-speaking Canada, it takes on one other which means.

It describes somebody’s character as type, just like the French phrase sympa  (good).

So, should you hear somebody speaking about you and so they say, “Elle est ben wonderful”  (“She is very nice”), that’s a real praise!

14. Bienvenue is far more widespread than you’d suppose.

In Canada, after you’ve stated merci  (thanks) to somebody, the particular person will reply with: bienvenue (welcome, as a greeting).

Bienvenue is the traditional technique to say “you’re welcome” in Canada!

15. Being sociable sounds a bit totally different

These are some good phrases to know if you wish to meet up with pals:

Une date (un rendez-vous ) is the phrase for “a date” (romantic or platonic).

Une blonde refers to a lady or girlfriend. And, it doesn’t matter what shade her hair is, she’s all the time une blonde.

Sortir en gang (sortir avec mes amis ) means to exit with pals. It’s much less scary than it sounds!

Aweille ! (Allez ! ) means “Yeah!” You’ll hear this lots. It’s just like the Spanish ándale and it’s used to inject ardour and vitality right into a state of affairs.

C’est beau. (C’est bon. ) means “It’s all good.”

De même (comme ça ) means “like that.” This one might be complicated for European French audio system however an instance is “Ça marche tout de même ?” (Does it work like that?)

Voyons  actually means “Let’s see.” That is used to specific shock and generally frustration, as in “Voyons, y marche pas ce téléphone !” (Agh, this telephone isn’t working!)

C’est de valeur. (C’est dommage. ) means “It’s a disgrace.”

16. There are totally different cash phrases 

As with most languages, French has a ton of slang phrases for all issues money.

L’argent (cash) in France is named le bacon in Quebec! That’s proper, this false good friend is one other loanword!

Le débit is the Canadian French title for la carte bleue / carte bancaire (financial institution card).

17. Canadian French has its personal distinctive idioms

Similar to France has its explicit expressions and phrases, so does Quebec!

Listed below are a pair:

C’est plate ! Boring!

Avoir mal au cœur. To really feel uneasy.


Now that the variations between Quebec French and French from France, you’ll be capable to sound like a real Quebeçois!