When the French drop “suddenly” for “fag.”

When the French drop “suddenly” for “fag.”

Fafa? What makes the French settlers here “suddenly” abandon their character to adopt the “faux” so beloved of Quebecers? Well, some people absorb the accent from here and others don't? Two researchers from the University of Montreal are trying to understand this.


When she arrived in the metropolis seven years ago, Frenchwoman Nadège Fournier noticed with surprise that her fellow residents sometimes had a completely different accent from hers.

A linguistics student, she turned her question into a doctoral project to discover the extent to which French living in Montreal had adopted elements of Quebec French. To answer this question, he teamed up with Julie Auger, a professor in the Department of Linguistics and Translation at the University of Montreal.

Over the course of several years, they interviewed 35 French people, men and women, sometimes new to Montreal, sometimes more than eight years.

Photo by Martin Chamberland, The Press

Julie Auger is a professor in the Department of Linguistics and Translation at the University of Montreal

Already, one observation emerges: it is “very common” for “du sati” to be replaced by “fog” or “fog”.

“In France, a lot of people criticize younger people who say “sudden” every three words. People here get “féque”. They don't pronounce it like us, they say “féque” more often. But we see that it's integrated into their speech,” says M.me Auger.

Another observation: “Here it is” would be changed to “That's it” because they were in Quebec for so long.

Prof. Auger notes that French people sometimes say to themselves that it is better not to adopt the way you speak in order to integrate into Quebec.

“If you always speak in the French way, twisting your mouth and, as they say, you run the risk of being left out,” says Julie Auger.

Nadège Fournier says some participants believed they wanted to speak like Quebecers, but feared it would be considered “a travesty.”

Generally, participants pronounce and say words [du français québécois] Don't bother them, but don't like the syntax for a good part. They detect French errors either orally or in journal articles. Examples are “I fell” or “I'm going” instead of “I'm going”.

Nadège Fournier is a PhD student in Linguistics at the University of Montreal

Mme Fournier says that as a linguist, he “doesn't judge”.

“Participants said that they correct their children when they make such mistakes, but also put a “tabarnak” in the interviews,” says Nadège Fournier with a laugh.

In this regard, Julie Auger explains, sociological studies show that people benefit from talking like the people around them. “We do it unconsciously. We do it because we need to establish connections, to create something together,” he explains.

Toé and moé, from France to Quebec

The participants interviewed were from Paris, but also from the north and west of France, where French speakers share characteristics with Quebec French.

Mo, do, it's in Normandy. Instead of believing, say believe. By now saying asture is something that was everywhere in France, but it wasn't in good French. It has disappeared in Paris, but it persists in the west and north of France.

Julie Auger is a professor in the Department of Linguistics and Translation at the University of Montreal

As part of this study, we will try to find out if people from these regions prefer to change Quebec vocabulary or phraseology unlike Parisians, for example, who may be more resistant to changing French.

Do they pick up other tricks from here? Julie Auger notes that the French don't use inversion when asking questions. “Are you coming to see me tomorrow?” They will say that. “Are you coming to see me tomorrow?” rather than » “.

“In Quebec, it's a construction we use a lot. It's not familiar, it's not standard. The French think we speak well,” says M.me Auger.

Acquiring another type of one's language varies depending on each person's personal journey: with whom one shares one's life, with whom one works, or not. “There are a lot of different factors,” says Julie Auger.

Nadège Fournier is a good example of the influence of those around her: for four years, she shared her life with a Beauceron.

“At that point, I adopted more Québécois elements,” he says. She asked for “tsé” or “in any case” at the beginning of a sentence, and accepted “moé itou” or “but let me do it.”

But over the past three years, she's noticed that the way she talks has changed again. “It will change,” he says.

Learn more

  • 65,550
    Number of French people living in Montreal

    Source: Consulate of France in Quebec

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