Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
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 Post subject: Quebecois V. French
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 1:13 pm 
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Is there that much of a difference between Quebecois and Parisian French that someone would not recognize Quebecois, especially if spoken nasally, as French?


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 Post subject: Re: Quebecois V. French
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 1:56 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:14 pm
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Location: UTAH. Yes I'm from Utah. No I'm not a Mormon.
I assume while I'm reading the book that it's similar to the difference between American English and English English. My family has a friend who lives in Spain that comes over to visit us in the U.S. every once in a while. She's really good at English, but still struggles for the first little bit when she comes because she learned English from a British teacher. Different inflections, different slang words, etc. kind of throw her off for the first little bit before she adjusts to the American version of English versus the British version she was taught. As a non-native speaker, it's harder to pick up on the dialect.

Apparently it works the same with Spanish. One night she asked me to set up the TV for English subtitles and Spanish audio. When she heard it she screamed "AAAHHHH! Not Mexican Spanish! That is so UGLY!" Apparently the Spanish you hear throughout Latin America is considerably different than the Spanish in Spain.

Not to mention the 13 Chinese dialects listed in Ethnologue: Languages of the World...


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 Post subject: Re: Quebecois V. French
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 2:50 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:26 pm
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Location: Shippensburg, Pa
JosephFinn wrote:
Is there that much of a difference between Quebecois and Parisian French that someone would not recognize Quebecois, especially if spoken nasally, as French?


I can help with this one since my family is from Quebec and my wife speaks Spanish. Yes there are differences between Parisian French and Quebecois. It is more of slang and where you emphasize certain words while speaking it. My wife who is fluent in Spanish can talk to anyone from Mexico and Puerto Rice but has a hard time with someone from Cuba.

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 Post subject: Re: Quebecois V. French
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 12:17 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 8:44 am
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Location: Montreal
There are some big differences between the Frenches of Quebec and of France! Much bigger than those between British and American English! And allegedly moreso than among varieties of Spanish and Portuguese.

Wikipedia has a pretty good overview of Quebec French here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quebec_French

Essentially, Quebecois is much like the French spoken in France a few hundred years ago. Since colonization, the languages have evolved separately.

I had little trouble understanding France French on the basis of what I'd learned at school, but Quebec French was to my ear at first near unintelligible (a little clearer now after living in its midst for many years).

Anecdotally, in Paris a few years ago, my other half (a Quebecer) was asked to repeat everything he said. My own Canadian/Polish accent was perceived as more "neutral" and was more readily understood.

Apart from the issue of pronunciation, vocabulary and usage can also differ widely. I don't think it's fair to say it's more slang, as that's a judgemental term. In fact, one could argue that Quebec French is more French, by insisting on Frenchifying words that are the world over borrowed from English; for example, la fin de semaine for le weekend, and courriel for email.

There are differences enough to have caused a diplomatic incident this past winter. Here's the best summary in English I could find of this particular faux pas:
http://www.alisoncummins.com/category/culture/


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 Post subject: Re: Quebecois V. French
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 6:19 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:16 am
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Hello and salut!
I would like to respond to your query in terms of the novel. The most striking difference between Quebecois and French is at the heart of the novel's plot. In French, we say "fauteuils roulants." In Quebec, except if the author is having us on, they say 'fauteuils rollents." Anyone happening upon the novel, and who speaks french, is astounded to see this discrepancy between rolling and rolling.


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 Post subject: Re: Quebecois V. French
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 7:19 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 8:44 am
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Location: Montreal
tomcollins wrote:
In Quebec, except if the author is having us on, they say 'fauteuils rollents."


Then the author is having us on. I have in the last 2 weeks asked dozens of Quebecers about this and none can posit a reasonable explanation for DFW's alternate spelling/pronunciation. If you do a Google search for the phrase, all results are in the context of IJ.


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