I have touched on the Québécois accent in a previous blog, however, having reached the end of my time in Montréal I feel I should pass on a final guide to help those of you thinking of heading to Québec. Boy, are you in for a treat!
First things first, many people judge the québécois accent and laugh at how they pronounce certain words and I would be lying if I said I didn’t find it funny at first, but in fact, the québécois accent and vocabulary is actually closer to how French was originally spoken in France. Here is a video which will help explain better than I can.
But how do you ever prepare for this crazy accent if you have been learning French from France all your life?! Well, my advice is get a head start and do your research. Find out a little more about québécois and be aware of some of the differences before you go. There are plenty of books out there which help explain the accent and language and the interesting history and culture behind it. I used Speak Québec by Daniel Kraus. At the end of the day nothing is going to really prepare you but it makes life a little more exciting.
For the first couple of months I tried to avoid anything to do with the québécois accent, I didn’t want to pick up that accent or start adding ‘lo’ to the end of all my sentences but then I realised how special it was to be learning French in Québec and I started to just embrace the language and culture. EMBRACE IT. Language reflects a lot about the culture of a place and this is no different in Québec. Learn the little phrases and use them. They will really allow you to be fully immersed in the language and fully appreciate the culture.
Here is a video which helps explain some of the things you might hear being said in Québec, from a girl who was born in Montréal but lives in France.
In the cities, such as Montréal, the accent doesn’t tend to be too thick, however, you will meet people you just can’t understand, who have come from the more rural parts of Québec to study or work. Here is a video of a very extreme Québécois accent which I understand very little of. Be thankful accents this thick are rarely heard!
And take heart, often the French people struggle to understand the Québecers!
I hope this post opens your eyes to the quirky québécois culture and language. You really do get used to it so don’t worry.
Feel free to email me with any questions @ firstname.lastname@example.org