Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Transcript

Michael: Is Canadian French different from European French?
Aurore: And what are the differences?
Michael: At FrenchPod101.com, we hear these questions often. Let’s imagine the following situation. Ben Lee is flicking through a cafe menu. He sees an unknown word, and asks,
Michael: "What does ‘melon d’eau’ mean?"
Ben Lee: Qu'est-ce que « melon d’eau » veut dire ?
Dialogue
Ben Lee: Qu'est-ce que « melon d’eau » veut dire ?
Noé Najar: « Melon d’eau » veut dire « pastèque » en français canadien.
Michael: Once more with the English translation.
Ben Lee: Qu'est-ce que « melon d’eau » veut dire ?
Michael: "What does ‘melon d’eau’ mean?"
Noé Najar: « Melon d’eau » veut dire « pastèque » en français canadien.
Michael: "It means ‘watermelon’ in Canadian French."

Lesson focus

Michael: In this conversation, we hear Ben Lee say,
Aurore: Qu'est-ce que « melon d’eau » veut dire ?
Michael: which means, "What does ‘melon d’eau’ mean?".
Michael: In this lesson, we will discuss the relationship between French spoken in Europe versus French spoken in Canada.
Michael: When speaking about "European French," it’s important to note that, even amongst European French-speaking countries, there are some differences. Most of these differences are relegated to word choice and vocabulary in general. Similarly, in Canada, you will find several regional dialects, each with their own variations.
Michael: For the purposes of this lesson, we will talk about French Canadian
Aurore: français canadien
Michael: as one group, and European French
Aurore: français européen
Michael: as the other group, in which several differences are notable.
Within Canada, there are approximately 7 million native speakers. Local variations include Quebec French,
Aurore: français québécois,
Michael: Acadian French,
Aurore: français acadien,
Michael: and Newfoundland French
Aurore: français terre-neuvien.
Michael: On the other hand, there are about 80 million French speakers residing in Europe. Regional varieties include the French of France,
Aurore: français de France,
Michael: Belgian French,
Aurore: français de Belgique,
Michael: and Swiss-French
Aurore: français de Suisse.
Michael: The biggest difference between European French and Canadian French is vocabulary. Because Canadians also speak English as an official language, and perhaps because of Canada’s proximity to English-speaking areas of the United States, anglicisms, or the incorporation of English words—loanwords—are quite common in Canadian French. On the other hand, there is also a linguistic policy which aims to protect French in Québec.
This has led to an interesting situation where English words are used in Canada where French words are used in Europe, and vice-versa! Some commonly used English words in France are translated into Canadian French.
Michael: There are other vocabulary differences between the French spoken in Canada and Europe as well. In the dialogue, we hear Ben Lee ask about
Aurore: « melon d’eau »,
Michael: which is "watermelon" in Canadian French, but would be
Aurore: pastèque
Michael: when used in Europe.
Michael: Here are some other examples, to say "ice cream" in France, we would say
Aurore: glace
Michael: but
Aurore: crème glacée
Michael: in
Aurore: Montréal.
Michael: Next, the word for "breakfast" is
Aurore: déjeuner
Michael: in
Aurore: Québec,
Michael: and is actually the same in Belgium and Switzerland, but
Aurore: petit-déjeuner
Michael: in France.
Michael: These are just a few of the many vocabulary differences between Canadian and European French. So, whether you plan to travel soon to one of these countries, or you’re simply looking to build on your French skills now for use later on, it’s important to remember that French is spoken internationally and that each country comes with a unique culture, language, and heritage!
Expansion/Contrast
Michael: Let's review. Respond to the prompts by speaking aloud. Then, repeat after the native speaker focusing on pronunciation.
Do you remember how Ben Lee says "What does ‘melon d’eau’ mean?"
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Aurore as Ben Lee: Qu'est-ce que « melon d’eau » veut dire ?
Michael: Listen again and repeat.
Aurore as Ben Lee: Qu'est-ce que « melon d’eau » veut dire ?
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Aurore as Ben Lee: Qu'est-ce que « melon d’eau » veut dire ?
Michael: And, do you remember the reply? "It means ‘watermelon’ in Canadian French."
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Aurore as Noe Najar: « Melon d’eau » veut dire « pastèque » en français canadien.
Michael: Listen again and repeat.
Aurore as Noe Najar: « Melon d’eau » veut dire « pastèque » en français canadien.
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Aurore as Noe Najar: « Melon d’eau » veut dire « pastèque » en français canadien.
Cultural Insight/Expansion
Michael: There are also some differences between the French from France, the French from Belgium, and the French from Switzerland.
The differences are mainly in words. For example,
Aurore: septante
Michael: would be "seventy" in Switzerland and Belgium while French people would say
Aurore: soixante-dix.
Michael: And "ninety", which would be
Aurore: quatre-vingt-dix-neuf
Michael: in France, is
Aurore: nonante
Michael: in Belgium and Switzerland.

Outro

Michael: Do you have any more questions? We’re here to answer them!
Aurore: À bientôt!
Michael: See you soon!

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