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Old 05-03-2012, 09:09 AM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
25,444 posts, read 33,148,059 times
Reputation: 10558

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbyd72 View Post
The best way to learn Quebec French and not standard French (and yes there is a difference, natives will notice) is through this on line resource: www.toutcanadien.com.

You will score a lot of points with the Quebecois if you speak their French, not European French.
Of course, just because they don't speak with a typical Québécois accent, none of these people are well-liked in Quebec:


Lara Fabian - MusiMag (Musimax) - Interview - Quebec (2010) - YouTube


Marie Carmen a Sonia Benezra - YouTube


Tout le monde en parle-Dany Laferrière - YouTube


Entrevue avec Corneille - 3e édition du Gala SOBA - YouTube


Nabila Ben Youssef - Maman comprends pas - YouTube

It is always quite amusing (sort of) to be lectured (by people who don't speak the language at all) on the intricacies of the varieties of French that exist out there in the world
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Old 05-11-2012, 05:05 AM
 
36 posts, read 149,939 times
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I know this is an old discussion, but as others have said, Quebec City is a better choice.

That being said, there are even better choices, if you go outside Montreal or Quebec City. I live in a small town far south of Montreal and unlike Montreal or QC, I can go months without encountering a bilingual person (many people will switch because it's easier for them). I came here with only 1 basic French class and living outside of the major cities has helped me improve vastly, because I didn't have a choice. I won't lie, it was terribly hard at first, but worth it.

When I took French in university (in British Columbia), my teacher recommended L'Universite du Quebec de Trois Rivieres, since that would be a great choice for those who truly want to immerse. You can get away with not speaking a single word of French at McGill b/c of the anglophone community and even QC depending on the neighbourhood, due to tourism.
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Old 05-11-2012, 08:28 AM
 
Location: Temporarily in Niagara Falls, Ont. Canada
167 posts, read 810,882 times
Reputation: 150
I came to Montreal with basic high school French from Ontario. We were taught "International French" because it was supposedly more "pure." I can tell you that it did very little for me, and as others have mentioned, once the locals notice you hesitate or your accent, they immediately switch to English, thus defeating your efforts to practice French.

Incidentally, I think learning "international" French or "Parisian" French while living in Canada is like trying to push British English (or RP - Received Pronunciation like you hear the reports speak on BBC, the Queens English, etc) on to newcomers to Canada because British English is more "pure" than Canadian or American English. I've heard and spoken French in almost every province in Canada, and I can assure you, that with very little variation, it's pretty much like the French from Quebec.

I really wanted to learn French and I really wanted to live in Montreal. I liked it more than Quebec City. So, I made a conscious effort to practice it at every opportunity, listen to French radio, watch French television, etc. At first, it all sounded the same, but then I got to recognize Quebecois accents versus those from France. I got an apartment in a very French neighbourhood (Hochelega-Maisonneuve near the station for Métro Frontenac - yeah, not exactly the classiest neighbourhood, but it was cheap and hardly anyone spoke English, or would admit to it). I volunteered at a nearby centre for street kids (le bon dieu dans la rue). About half of the staff could not speak English, so as painstaking as it was, we did our best to converse in French.

Then the centre directors decided they really liked the work I was doing there and wanted to help me out. They got me on a government grant to get a small amount of pay for working there and also arranged for me to get intensive French classes at the Montreal YMCA. The classes were Monday to Friday, from about 9am to 3pm (I think) and were either 4 or 6 weeks in length. There were 6 levels. I took an assessment test and was put in level 2. I could have gone into level 3 but they said my French was a bit too weak. Most people in the class were in their 20s like I was then, but from various countries around the world. The teachers NEVER EVER spoke a single word of English or any other language. Only French! It was great.

Later on, I finish all 6 levels of French at the YMCA and finished working at le bon dieu dans la rue. My French was A LOT better, and I could get through a day speaking French. People who hadn't seen me in a few months were very impressed! I didn't notice my French improving, but others did. It took about 6 months of conscious effort. Then I moved to the Côte-Vertu area in Ville St-Laurent (more of a multicultural immigrant population than French, but there seemed to be more French spoken than English, if it wasn't some other language).

Then I enrolled in the "Certificat en français langue séconde pour le non-francophones" at the Université de Montréal (a French university in the Côte-des-Neiges area). By this time, I was getting quite fluent in French and was feeling like I was totally immersed in the Québécois lifestyle. This program went year round, and had both local English students as well as international students. It took a while - I'm thinking a year or year and a half to finish, as it was worth 30 credits. I took more than what was required, and since I had lived and worked in Québec for over a year already, I qualified for the lower (subsidized) tuition Québec residents pay. Otherwise I would have paid more, a rate that out of province Canadians pay, but much less than international students pay.

Then I went on to take regular courses in Russian and Spanish at the university, along with francophone students. So, any friends I made there were originally from Québec, and we spoke only French. One of them was very helpful and corrected my pronunciation to make sure I had the perfect Québécois accent! Then I got a job as a driving instructor and had to speak in English and in French (in the area I was in, mostly French). And I have to say, I got very fluent and very comfortable speaking French after that. All this in less than 4 years! But after the first 6 months I was able to live in French, sometimes stumbling through. After a year, I was a lot better. After 3 and 4 years, very good. Still not perfect, but pretty good.

So, yes it is possible to learn French in Montreal. It will be a bit more of a challenge since it is a fairly bilingual city, and if your French is not perfect, you will be spoken to in English. Once you feel confident in your French and feel you could carry on the conversation, just keep speaking back to them in French. They'll usually see you can carry yourself well enough, even if you have an English accent - unless they don't know English, in which case they'll gladly speak French to you. I'm guilty of speaking French back to francophones who try to speak broken English with me, lol!
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Old 05-11-2012, 08:41 AM
 
Location: Temporarily in Niagara Falls, Ont. Canada
167 posts, read 810,882 times
Reputation: 150
Oh, and later on, I moved to Pierrefonds, a suburb in the "West Island." Although all of the signs are in French, and supposedly half the population is French there, you rarely hear French being spoken there (Don't be fooled by the French name - most cities there have French sounding names but are very English). You would almost think you're living in Ontario. Well, not any old city in Ontario - maybe Ottawa.

While living in the West Island, I decided I needed to make some extra money and took a part time job delivering pizzas in the Pierrefonds/Dollard-des-Ormeaux area. Every time I went to the door to deliver a pizza I always said "Bonjour, hello!" or "Bon soir, hi!" with a perfect French accent for the French words and a perfect English accent on the English words to let them know they could speak either language with me. I'd say about 95% of the time, people spoke to me in English. Even if they were French! Most people seemed to be English anyway, but sometimes you'd hear the person speaking to another family member in French. Or you could detect they spoke with a French accent. Sometimes senior citizens would speak to me in French, but like I said, the majority of the time on the West Island, it was English all the way!

So if you want to live in Quebec but are scared to learn or live in French, then live in the West Island! But if you truly want to learn French, DO NOT live there! People will not speak French to you.

Oh, and regardless of where you are in Quebec, especially in the Montreal area, do not try to speak French to an anglophone! An English person from Quebec will not only find it weird that two English people are speaking French to each other, but some may get insulted. One funny story: once I was downtown and speaking to some in French. Downtown I always speak French. My accent was pretty good, I'd like to think. The person I was speaking to also spoke very good French. Then one of us (I forget who) could not think of a word or phrase in French and said something like "en anglais on dit..." and so, after several minutes of speaking French to each other, we realized we were both English, had a good laugh about it, and then promptly continued our conversation in English!
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Old 05-11-2012, 08:46 AM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
25,444 posts, read 33,148,059 times
Reputation: 10558
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustSomeGuy73 View Post
I came to Montreal with basic high school French from Ontario. We were taught "International French" because it was supposedly more "pure." I can tell you that it did very little for me, and as others have mentioned, once the locals notice you hesitate or your accent, they immediately switch to English, thus defeating your efforts to practice French.

Incidentally, I think learning "international" French or "Parisian" French while living in Canada is like trying to push British English (or RP - Received Pronunciation like you hear the reports speak on BBC, the Queens English, etc) on to newcomers to Canada because British English is more "pure" than Canadian or American English. I've heard and spoken French in almost every province in Canada, and I can assure you, that with very little variation, it's pretty much like the French from Quebec.

I really wanted to learn French and I really wanted to live in Montreal. I liked it more than Quebec City. So, I made a conscious effort to practice it at every opportunity, listen to French radio, watch French television, etc. At first, it all sounded the same, but then I got to recognize Quebecois accents versus those from France. I got an apartment in a very French neighbourhood (Hochelega-Maisonneuve near the station for Métro Frontenac - yeah, not exactly the classiest neighbourhood, but it was cheap and hardly anyone spoke English, or would admit to it). I volunteered at a nearby centre for street kids (le bon dieu dans la rue). About half of the staff could not speak English, so as painstaking as it was, we did our best to converse in French.

Then the centre directors decided they really liked the work I was doing there and wanted to help me out. They got me on a government grant to get a small amount of pay for working there and also arranged for me to get intensive French classes at the Montreal YMCA. The classes were Monday to Friday, from about 9am to 3pm (I think) and were either 4 or 6 weeks in length. There were 6 levels. I took an assessment test and was put in level 2. I could have gone into level 3 but they said my French was a bit too weak. Most people in the class were in their 20s like I was then, but from various countries around the world. The teachers NEVER EVER spoke a single word of English or any other language. Only French! It was great.

Later on, I finish all 6 levels of French at the YMCA and finished working at le bon dieu dans la rue. My French was A LOT better, and I could get through a day speaking French. People who hadn't seen me in a few months were very impressed! I didn't notice my French improving, but others did. It took about 6 months of conscious effort. Then I moved to the Côte-Vertu area in Ville St-Laurent (more of a multicultural immigrant population than French, but there seemed to be more French spoken than English, if it wasn't some other language).

Then I enrolled in the "Certificat en français langue séconde pour le non-francophones" at the Université de Montréal (a French university in the Côte-des-Neiges area). By this time, I was getting quite fluent in French and was feeling like I was totally immersed in the Québécois lifestyle. This program went year round, and had both local English students as well as international students. It took a while - I'm thinking a year or year and a half to finish, as it was worth 30 credits. I took more than what was required, and since I had lived and worked in Québec for over a year already, I qualified for the lower (subsidized) tuition Québec residents pay. Otherwise I would have paid more, a rate that out of province Canadians pay, but much less than international students pay.

Then I went on to take regular courses in Russian and Spanish at the university, along with francophone students. So, any friends I made there were originally from Québec, and we spoke only French. One of them was very helpful and corrected my pronunciation to make sure I had the perfect Québécois accent! Then I got a job as a driving instructor and had to speak in English and in French (in the area I was in, mostly French). And I have to say, I got very fluent and very comfortable speaking French after that. All this in less than 4 years! But after the first 6 months I was able to live in French, sometimes stumbling through. After a year, I was a lot better. After 3 and 4 years, very good. Still not perfect, but pretty good.

So, yes it is possible to learn French in Montreal. It will be a bit more of a challenge since it is a fairly bilingual city, and if your French is not perfect, you will be spoken to in English. Once you feel confident in your French and feel you could carry on the conversation, just keep speaking back to them in French. They'll usually see you can carry yourself well enough, even if you have an English accent - unless they don't know English, in which case they'll gladly speak French to you. I'm guilty of speaking French back to francophones who try to speak broken English with me, lol!
Good story. I think it is a huge exaggeration to say that learning French in Montreal is hopeless. It is still the main language of the city, and everything than can be called "officialdom" operates in that language.

In the Greater Montreal, there are probably a million people or more who were not native French speakers at the outset but who did learn to speak French just by living in Montreal for a while, and not by going off to immersion in Quebec City or Chicoutimi.
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Old 05-11-2012, 10:36 AM
 
Location: Temporarily in Niagara Falls, Ont. Canada
167 posts, read 810,882 times
Reputation: 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
Good story. I think it is a huge exaggeration to say that learning French in Montreal is hopeless. It is still the main language of the city, and everything than can be called "officialdom" operates in that language.

In the Greater Montreal, there are probably a million people or more who were not native French speakers at the outset but who did learn to speak French just by living in Montreal for a while, and not by going off to immersion in Quebec City or Chicoutimi.
Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it.

If someone likes Montreal (more than Quebec City, for example), it's certainly possible to learn French in Montreal (une belle ville au goût impéccable!), although it's a bit different since many people there also speak English to varying levels. I learned French VERY well in Montreal. No need to go to Quebec City, Chicoutimi or Paris, France!

Incidentally, what normally comes out when I speak French is middle class suburban/urban Québécois French. If I really try to play it up, I can make it sound like a thick French accent from Lac St-Jean in la vraie joual. Or I can go the other way, and tone it down so it sounds more the reporters on Montreal news radio and TV stations (I typically do this when I speak to someone from France who is not used to a Quebecois accent - kind of like someone from London England coming to America and not used to the NYC accent or a southern drawl). If I really want to have some fun, outside of Quebec, in English-speaking Canada, I'll speak in French-Canadian accent, like a francophone with a weak grasp of English. "Today hi go to Cah-nah-d'yen Tie-er hand I buy da ting to put da hair in my tie-er. Hit cost tree dollar. Den hi go to Tim Horton la, may (mais) da guy make a mistake. Hi ask 'im for a med-yum, mais he give me a lahrr-ge!"
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:31 AM
 
36 posts, read 149,939 times
Reputation: 45
I learned "France French" in school but found it very easy to transition to Quebecois. Eliminate your "ne" from "ne [verb] pas" and scratch the imperative "vous" from spoken language and you're pretty much set. I haven't seen anyone care one bit about how formal/informal/regional someone's French is. Maybe some hardcore separatists arguing over a dinner but 99.9999% of the population just want to talk and get about their day.
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Old 05-11-2012, 03:47 PM
 
Location: Temporarily in Niagara Falls, Ont. Canada
167 posts, read 810,882 times
Reputation: 150
Yes, depending who I'm speaking with, I can be very lax like "ché pas" instead of "je ne sais pas". I started to pronounce être more "eye-truh" (not quite but hard to imitate through typing") rather than "eh-truh" - I just wanted to sound more Québécois. When I was first learning French, I found if my French was Parisian or International French (inevitably with an English accent) people spoke back to me in English. If I sounded more Québécois, they tended to keep speaking to me in French.

There's a bit more to making the transition from France-French to Québécois French. You can get the general gist of it, or you can be a perfectionist, like me! . Think of how people pronounce the word 4 - in France, it's more like "caw-truh" in QC it's more like "cat-ruh" or for 8 - "wheat" VS "whit" or "peu-teet" instead "peh-tit" or even "p'tit". I found I had to pretty much change the majority of the way I spoke. Think of listening to a French person from France speaking English, then think of a French speaker from Québec - their English will sound A LOT different. Some actors and stand up comedians get this wrong, and use a European French accent when imitating a French-Canadian speaking English.

Plus of course, typical QC slang, like "le dépanneur", "l'autoroute", "stopper", "barrer la porte" etc.
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Old 06-18-2012, 08:49 AM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
25,444 posts, read 33,148,059 times
Reputation: 10558
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustSomeGuy73 View Post
Plus of course, typical QC slang, like "le dépanneur", "l'autoroute", "stopper", "barrer la porte" etc.
Just looking at these examples, only "barrer la porte" could be considered Quebec slang.

"Dépanneur" is considered standard Canadian French, and is used at all levels from government to literature to street talk. It is certainly a word that is particular to this part of the world, but referring to it as slang is like saying words like "truck" and "diaper" are "American slang".

"Autoroute" is standard French used all over the world. In France, Quebec and Senegal.

"Stopper" is a real French verb borrowed from English. It is actually used way more in France than in Quebec. People in Quebec would say "arrêter" way more often.
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Old 06-18-2012, 01:12 PM
 
36 posts, read 149,939 times
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I can only imagine that a person going to Quebec with a France-based textbook is lost based on linguistic capabilities in general while in a foreign country and not the differences in "France" French and "Quebecois" French. I don't think anyone is here to claim that there is no difference, but you do realize that even Canadians learn "France" French outside of Quebec - I am from British Columbia and all textbooks are France-based (often written by American authors) and the instructors are usually from France. However, the transition was hardly noticable in real-life practice. Quebecois understand "France" French just as well, they are raised with it due to a lack of Canadian French-language materials. Much of the television channels here (including for kids like Petit Ours Bruin), papers, and videos are all from France.

I have never heard stopper here...
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