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Old 07-17-2012, 06:31 AM
 
Location: Near a river
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Writer View Post
I heard a lot of French while shopping in Calais yesterday.

Do you know what the name Calais mean in French? Apparently Calais is a port in France. I looked it up in the Fr-Eng online dictionary but don't find a meaning. Maybe it's an old French family name.
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Old 07-17-2012, 06:43 AM
 
Location: Near a river
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Verseau View Post
Eh... you would if you were raised speaking British English. Nobody expects you to speak exactly the same dialect as your interlocutor. It's only polite to familiarize yourself with some of the vocabulary and expressions unique to North American French (which, in turn, can vary significantly between, say, Quebec City and the St. John Valley). But North American French speakers will still understand you 99% of the time if you speak European French.
Do you know what the main differences are with North American French? Is it accent as well? (I know some int'l French as typically taught in the public schools).

While I'm at it, and going off topic for a second, do you know a good source for Canadian French heritage research (genealogy)?
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Old 07-17-2012, 06:45 AM
 
Location: Maine
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I have no idea. Calais isn't Cal-ay here. It's callus.
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:15 AM
 
Location: New Hampshire
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
Do you know what the name Calais mean in French? Apparently Calais is a port in France. I looked it up in the Fr-Eng online dictionary but don't find a meaning. Maybe it's an old French family name.
It's just a city name. Apparently it was derived from Caletum, the name used for the settlement by the Romans. I'm not aware of a literal meaning, but if you were able to trace it far back enough, there might have been a reason why they chose this name. Most city names have very obscure etymologies - few would know that the name "Boston" is actually a truncation of "St. Botolph's stone" or "St. Botolph's town."

Although people in the UK now use the native French pronunciation for Calais - kal-lay - this pronunciation didn't become "fashionable" until relatively recently. Most English speakers used to pronounce it kal-iss (similar to the Dutch name for the city, Kales), which is why the town in Maine is still pronounced this way. It was named after the city in France, to honor France's help during the American Revolution.
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:31 AM
 
Location: New Hampshire
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
Do you know what the main differences are with North American French? Is it accent as well? (I know some int'l French as typically taught in the public schools).
Accent (pronunciation/intonation) is the most noticeable difference between the two dialects, although there is a healthy dose of vocabulary differences as well. Here are some examples. One of the most famous differences involves the words used for "breakfast," "lunch," and "dinner." In Europe these are petit déjeuner, déjeuner, and dîner, whereas the North American equivalents are déjeuner, dîner, and souper. The North American words are more "old-fashioned" and are exact cognates of the English words "breakfast," "dinner," and "supper." There are also numerous expressions that are unique to one dialect or the other.

If you want to hear the difference in accent firsthand, check out this video. It is an interview with Isabelle Boulay, a singer fom Québec, conducted by a journalist in France. The journalist has a typically Parisian French accent, whereas Isabelle's is typically Québécois. Note that both women are well-educated, so you aren't exactly hearing the more "pronounced" working class dialects (e.g. Joual in Québec).


Interview Isabelle Boulay - YouTube

The Acadian accent of Maine's St. John Valley or New Brunswick is even more different from European French - I'll see if I can find a clip of that one later.
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Old 07-17-2012, 08:38 AM
 
Location: Central Maine
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Before the Aroostook War, many of the towns along the St. John River were one town. An example would be the town of Violette Brook. This town spanned the St. John River until the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842, which made the St. John River the border between the U.S. and Canada. Since then, there have been two towns: Van Buren, Maine and St. Leonard, New Brunswick, Canada. It's tough to get much closer than that as far as heritage goes. You can find many more examples along the St. John River.

Even in recent times, the hospital was located on one side of the river or the other. Therefore, people were often born "across the border" and became dual citizens at birth. So, the connections between these towns are as strong as ever.
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Old 07-17-2012, 09:15 AM
 
Location: New Hampshire
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbyd72 View Post
It is surprising to me that North American French is not taught in New England.
Well, it does depend on the individual instructor, as many of them may have a Canadian background. However, the curricula tend to be built around US-published textbooks and ancillary teaching materials which are not necessarily tailored to students in New England. Standard European French is primarily the target of instruction, in no small part because it is the most universally understood dialect in the Francophone world. But French textbooks (particularly at the college level) are increasingly giving coverage of vocabulary from Canada and other places.
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Old 07-17-2012, 11:33 AM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Verseau View Post
One of the most famous differences involves the words used for "breakfast," "lunch," and "dinner." In Europe these are petit déjeuner, déjeuner, and dîner, whereas the North American equivalents are déjeuner, dîner, and souper. The North American words are more "old-fashioned" and are exact cognates of the English words "breakfast," "dinner," and "supper." .
Interesting anecdote: déjeuner, dîner and souper are still used for the three main mean meals of the day in French-speaking Belgium and Switzerland. When I first went to Europe I got accustomed to the French way of referring to the meals, and was very surprised when I crossed the border to discover that the same terms as back home were used in Switzerland and Belgium!

I have no idea why that is, especially since North American francophones are massively of French descent rather than Belgian or Swiss origins.
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Old 07-17-2012, 11:43 AM
 
Location: Central Maine
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It's funny to hear people talking about the different French dialects. The organization I worked for in northern Maine gave a language bonus to employees that could speak French at a certain level. The qualification test for this bonus was given in Parisian French and most native speakers failed the test, yet they communicated easily with the clientele. Funny how that works, huh?
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Old 07-17-2012, 12:01 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,045 posts, read 18,263,811 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Verseau View Post
Well, it does depend on the individual instructor, as many of them may have a Canadian background. However, the curricula tend to be built around US-published textbooks and ancillary teaching materials which are not necessarily tailored to students in New England. Standard European French is primarily the target of instruction, in no small part because it is the most universally understood dialect in the Francophone world. But French textbooks (particularly at the college level) are increasingly giving coverage of vocabulary from Canada and other places.
Which of the two French languages is spoken faster?
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