The differences for francophone Quebequois are arguably more grating to the French ear because of their fluency, the accent, and the unique Quebec vocabulary.The French are acutely aware of the cultural importance of their language, especially in holding back the enormous influence of English around the world.So they tend to look down upon Quebec as a place that could be more true to their roots in France, and a place that butchers the true language – but 99% of what is said is understood going either way.
If you are a native English speaker, your accent will invariably give you away no matter how fluent you become.In that case, even if your vocabulary leans to the Quebequois, my experience is the French are so pleased that a foreigner has learned their language they really make an effort not only to communicate, but also to turn up the charm.My school and street French learned in Montreal as a child is very basic and far from fluent, but I have had countless experiences in France where people have been especially kind and friendly just for making the effort to speak French first, which they regard as polite and respectful of their culture.
I have also seen many Americans receive a frosty “Je ne comprend pas” for assuming they can speak English … and then moments later when I have spoken in my poor French they immediately switch to better English.One frustration about Montreal and learning French is how often Montrealers, a high proportion of whom are fluently bilingual, will just switch to English as soon as they hear an English accent.So often you get the weird situation of you speaking poor French with an English accent, and the Francophone Montrealers replying in highly French accented English.
But again, in Montreal making the effort to speak French first is appreciated.Elsewhere in Quebec there are places where more people speak no English or have a frosty view of English because of the politics of Quebec and Canada.You would probably have a better French immersion experience in Quebec City than Montreal, if you want to learn the language quickly, but Montrpeal offers a fantastic cultural vibe that is truly bilingual and welcoming.
As an American living in Montreal for the last 20+years, and married to a native european francophone, I can say that when you study French as a second language, you normally learn ‘classic French’, not the slang of the region, except maybe as a side note.If you think you will be able to learn French just by hanging out in the streets of Montreal, you probably won’t be successful as most people in Montreal will change to English in conversation as soon as they realize you are stuck searching for a word.Montreal is, after all, a tourist destination and thousands of Anglos visit the city every week.
There are however, words that are used to describe certain objects or actions that are different in each region, and which express the personality of that particular region.This exists in most cultures.You can usually figure out what a word means by the context of the sentence in which it is used.
Since the majority of Americans don’t speak French at all, any French you are able to speak in France will be met with surprise.You will most likely be congratulated.One word of advice, work on your accent.
Try not to speak the French as if you were speaking English.Study the sounds and try to imitate them.Listen to songs in French and try to imitate the inflections.
Songs are slower than speech and it gives you more time to form the muscles in your mouth in the correct way.Watch people on television speaking French and notice what part of their mouth they use to form the words.Practice your “r”.
Practice the difference between the sound of “u” and “ou”.Practice all the different sounds associated with the different accents associated with the letter “e” (é; è, ê).I would equate the difference between Montreal French and French from France to the difference between New York English and the English of Alabama, for example.
I assume you incorrectly think that québécois and French are different languages.They aren’t.Even if you spend all your time learning French in watering holes out east and come out of Quebec speaking like my buddy’s lumberjack uncle, any francophone will be able to understand you.
French people might laugh at you and tell you how “cute” your accent is.Some might even treat you like you are simple but they will understand you.I learned French in Montreal and then went on to spend two years living in France.
You will have a hard time learning French because everyone speaks English.How well you learn it depends where you learn French in Montreal.I did a whole degree in French at Concordia.
It has an excellent program if you are interested.If you study at any of the universities the language will be international French and obviously not the French you hear on the street.This would be the same in France.
France also has many different colorful accents.Can you imagine if people who studied French in Marseille came out of university speaking like they do in all those cop films from the 60’s that take place there?My personal favorite dialect of French is the sing-songy French spoken in Senegal but I digress.
Also keep in mind there are tens of thousands of French people who live specifically in Montreal, and hundreds of thousands of francophones in Montreal that are not the descendants of French fur traders but immigrants from countries in Africa, Haiti, Lebanon, Italy, Greece etc…Etc…So you can see how it is theoretically possible to learn the most neutral colorless odorless French in Montreal.
It would be a shame though because québécois is so very useful and at times quite poetic.
Yes, you will.With a few caveats.Canadian French and France French are essentially identical in written forms, however slang forms are radically different in pronunciation and expressions.
In daily usage nobody really speaks standard Canadian French, they speak joual, which contains numerous words considered obsolete in France, numerous contractions of syllables, highly unusual swearing, such that they are really very different.My favourite example is how “gosses” in France means children, but in Quebec it means “testicles”, which makes it very funny when a Frenchman tells you that his ex-wife kept his children after the divorce, or that he played with them all weekend-long.If you learn standard Canadian French, you won’t necessarily understand slang in France, which is totally distinct from joual, and features numerous syllable inversions often derived from other slang words.
For example, policier (police officer) became flic (slang) which then became keuf.Meaning that yes, you will be understood with your Canadian French, but unless you get familiar with France French you might not always understand the answer.
It depends on what you mean by “learning French”: growing up with a local accent and dialect, or going to a school with formal teaching?If you go to any school anywhere in the world with standard French written texts and phonetics, you will get by in France.Schools teach standard language, not local dialect.
Even the CBC (Canadian Broadcast network) in French has newsreaders who use a “standard” language very similar to “metropolitan” French.However, a strong, spoken Quebekker dialect is at times incomprehensible to a Frenchman, due to phonetics, intonation, phraseology and vocabulary set.In the reverse direction, Quebeckers can usually understand metropolitan French due to the films and TV from France.
I sometimes tell Americans that Quebec spoken French is as different from metropolitan French as an Outer Hebrides brogue is from Standard American.Both can write in English and be understood but an American would be lost in normal conversation, unless the Hebridan consciously shifts to Received Pronunciation.
I have been to France many times, I have lots of friends from France and I work with French people from Paris, Marseilles and Provence.From what I can see, Montreal French is understood with difficulty in France.They often have a hard time deciphering the way we put our words together.
Often similar phrases or words have a completely different connotation or are completely absent from the language depending on what side of the pond you’re on.Pronunciation is also markedly different– so much so that films made here in Quebec are often translated into France French so that they can be understood.For instance, the French find that the Quebecois speak very rapidly.
They also find that we swallow syllables and contract words that they take the time to enunciate.They also find that Quebecois grammar is lacking and that we put the wrong terms in the wrong place.The whole situation is similar to London English and Texas English.
Yes naturally.You would probably even speak a better language than some of us … because we talk every day with a lot of slang.Usually, Frenchs appreciate Quebeckers very much.
Yes, our “cousins” have both a funny and lovely accent.To hear them swear with their sacraments is rather amusing … Lots of words have different meanings … A French will give you news of his “gosses” … (gosses, familiar for kids in France, and … testicles in Quebec …) the first time it still surprises many “cousins of the beautiful Province”.My girlfriend in French is not my blonde …
The difference between French spoken in Quebec compared to the French spoken in France is similar to the difference between American English and British English; the language and spelling is more or less the same but the expressions, idioms, and accents may vary.So if you learned French in Quebec, you shouldn’t have problems communicating in France, though you might encounter some new slang you’re not familiar with.Interestingly, I was born and raised in Montreal and attended English elementary school (which in Quebec means that only half the day is spent on French lessons).
I’ve been told by French Canadians that my French accent and the expressions I learned are probably closer to what is spoken in France than Quebec.
French as a language is rather hostile to dialects which are regarded as uneducated, primitive or vulgar.This means that French is a more global language than, say, English or Spanish.The variations between Belgian, French, Swiss, Congolese, Canadian français…are limited and in schools we often use the same books or dictionaries.
The famous French new spelling that the French seem to (re)discover is already used to some extent in Switzerland, Belgium and Canada.So yes, you’ll be understood in France and in any country wher French is the national language or the first foreign language.
In my whole life I have never met someone who learned Québécois French as a second language to the point of differing from standardized French.People who learn the language learn the proper words, the proper grammar, and stay as close as possible to written French.They almost never pick up the accent to the point of sounding like a local (either from Paris or Montreal), and they almost never pick up the slang to the point of becoming unintelligible in the other country.
I have simply never heard of a person who came to Montreal, took some French classes and started speaking joual.What I have seen though is second-language French classes held in Montreal teaching expressions that are absolutely not used in Québec because a lot of our books and dictionaries are from France.
Given that everyone has answered yes, I will just let you know that they are all correct: french canadian and french are the same languages with different pronunciations and slang variations.My best friend at work was canadian and we spoke french all day.That said I often had to get him to repeat what he had just said.
But as a counterpoint, a canadian film (“La tete de Normandy St Ange “ if I recall the title) was shown in Paris with subtitles!that gives you an idea of how the accent can be difficult at times for native french to understand at first.
While learning French in Montreal is a very beautiful, exciting and fun activity.The fact is that there are simply too many english only speakers, you will fall into the trap of slipping back into English.Therefore Quebec city, which is much more exclusively french will help you in your quest of wishing to become fluent.
Yes, if you learn French in Quebec (Montreal) you will be understood in France.Since your not going to listen to me anyway…….……….Go for it, but try to suppress that part of you that wishes to communicate in English.
I’d watch French TV, read only french newspapers and hang out with francophones as much as possible.
That depends if you learn “academic French” and/or the metropolitan accent or the strange Québécois French.If it’s a small accent with the former, you’re good.I’ve always found Québecois to be hilariously wierd.
Which is kind of unfair because Québecois is apparently closer to Old French than Modern French.It’s understandable but some words have different meanings and the accent can be very disconcerting.
Other good answers notwithstanding, if you learn French in Montreal, you will very quickly notice: There’s French and there’s joual (BTW: joual is supposed to be the way they pronounce cheval…see?
If you learn French in an academic institution of Montreal, people in France will understand you for sure.Teachers in Montreal brings a type of French language where the pronunciation, gramma & vocabulary can be well understood in France.On the other hand, in Montreal, there are as many french languages as Neighborhood.
If you learn French on the street you may learn a french slang with words that will not be understood by French people.
If you learn it through classes then you will learn standard French and everyone from Dakar to Montreal through Paris will understand you fine.But if you learn it just through living there… yes, people in France will understand you, but they rarely hear Québec French so they will have to listen with extra attention to understand you.
I’ve lived in Montreal since 95 and did learn French in Paris.If you had to learn French in Montreal then visit France, the answer is a resounding YES.You will be understood.
I’m certain that most of the French teachers in Quebec have good diction and you will be able to learn good French.There are many Quebecers that have a very strong accent that not even Montrealers can understand them.So, I think you’ll be just fine.
Yes, you will.I met a girl in a bus one year ago, close to Aix-en-Provence.I don’t remember why I started to talk to her, but her accent hit me.
I knew she was a foreigner and we started to talk about that, she was from Quebec, probably Montreal.We talked for 20 minutes or more about life there, weather, random things.Her accent was different and we laughed about a few language expressions.
Previous answers here are painting it darker than it is.The answer is YES, and French people will look much more favourably on Montréal French than on a heavy American accent.However, you must then also learn metropolitan French synonyms, as a few nouns have different meaning across the Atlantic.
I don’t have anything really relevant to add but I just felt like I NEEDED to precise that thing that noone has said : You will understand and be understood (if you don’t use too much specific words from Canadian French) however please remember that if you get Canadian accent you WILL BE laughed at (just like Canadian English is mocked in the US).It isn’t always mean but I for example CANNOT here any Canadian in the subway without beginning to uncontrollably laugh (I usually just plug my earphones in my ears and play loud music to stop so the person won’t be upset).
Yes, you will be understood in France, though you’ll need some adjustment to the France French vocabulary.
Back in my schooldays over 40 years ago, we had this French Canadian schoolmate and she was perfectly understood 90% of the time whenever we went to France (give or take a few words that are uniquely French Canadian).
Yes you will.You will learn international French with some regionalism.But poorly educated French speaking people in Canada use a lot of English in constructing their sentences and don’t pronounce very well.
Don’t learn from them.
After a time of adaptation…The syntax is the same.
Imho I’ll say that (except from acadian) quebecois is the most different and difficult french dialect to be understood in France.
But still, french people will totally get you, the’ll just have to make efforts to do so…For sure, it’s easier to get any african french speaker, a swiss or a begian than a french canadian.
Québec French is basically the same as French spoken in France, minus the accent and with a few vocabulary additions.Many French say that it resembles older French spoken in the 16th and 17th century.A Frenchman can understand a Québecois as easily as they can other Frenchmen.
They’ll understand but not 100% of what you say.Pronounciation is really different…It is still the same words (or aproximately) though.
If you learn a very standard montréalais accent, you will be understood, but with considerable difficulty – almost like going to the Caribbean islands and learning pidgin English and then trying to use it in the hills of Tennessee.
According to my dad, some words in Québec are very close to his own “patois” from Charente and Charente-Maritime and I’m sure I’ve read somewhere that many words a related to other western “patois”, for obvious Historical reasons.
So if you stick to Western France, you’re more likely to be understood, especially by older generations of people 😉
If you plan on living and working in Europe, start from scratch in Europe.If you plan on living in Quebec, start from scratch in Quebec.
People from Montreal sound a bit like hillbillies in France due to their slang and accent.
French people outside of Paris often can’t understand one another because the Parisians speak much faster.
When I lived in France there were a few tourist agencies that specialized in travel to North America.One fairly humorous bit of advice one of them gave to French people planning to visit Quebec was (approximately): Evitez les commentaires sur les accents amusants.
If you are tutored in French by a professional, your French will be “clean”.By that I mean you will be taught International French and should have no problems.
It usualy take years before someone is enought confidant to use slang in a language he is learning, if you learn french from a text book with a serious teacher you will learn standart french which the same in France, In Quebec or in Senegal.
The form of French normally spoken in Montreal is very similar to that of Flanders and Picardy, so if you were to visit the area around Amiens, Boulogne or Calais, you would probably be taken to be a local.
Personally I have not been to both countries.
I am learning French currently as a subject in school but, I am pretty sure that you will be understood in France.
No… Trust me I live in Montreal…The Parisian will ask you to speak english …
If you learn it with me, yes .
Depends with whom you make your first steps.
Yes of course