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French Language in Different Countries

French in France:


Standard French is based on the dialect of Paris called "francien", which is the official language since the XVI Century and made disappear, or at least almost disappear, most of the other French and not french languages of the country.

The French language
History of French Language

Nowadays, beside French, survive Breton (spoken only in Brittany, North of the country), Flemish (spoken in Flandes), Catalan (spoken in Rosellón, South of France) and Basque (spoken in a small part of Gascony, Southeast of the country. Italian (in Côte d'Azur) and German (in Alsace) are also spoken. In the overseas territories and independent countries that once were conquered by the French, they still use French as their official language. It is a neutral communication medium among the ethnic groups who occupythe country and owns each one their own dialect (such is the case of African French speaking countries like Morocco, Ivory Coast, etc.). Or it has been transferred with French culture, as it is the case of French speaking Canada.

French in Canada:

Canadian French distinguishes itself from the French spoken in France by the great quantity of words that came from aboriginal languages, particularly referring to the flora and fauna of the country, which is quite logical. Examples are orignal, pichou, maskinongé, achigan, micouène and especially the toponyms: Quebec, Rimouski, Ottawa, Chicoutimi, Manicouagan, etc. It is accustomed by French Canadians to use the language of the sea to name common moves, for example, to get in a car, in Canadian French it's said "to embark" (embarquer), and to get down, "to disembark" (débarquer).

Another characteristic of Canadian French is the extended use of archaisms of many kinds, as a turn to an old pronunciation (for example, it is said moé instead of moi). It is also common to refer to the use of old meanings for the words (for example espérer instead of d'attendre), or the use of words or phrases already disappeared in France (for example, to use mais que with the subjunctive to indicate dès que). French Canadian phonemes can still be traced to some archaisms (like the maintenance or Latin /r/ in some areas of Canada), although it generally keeps the French norm, particularly in Quebec. It is also necessary to understand that if dialectal differences are perceived among different areas in Canada it is because when French migrated to this region they brought with them their own original dialectal differences, different from the Parisian dialect (francien).

The presence of Anglicisms in spoken French Canadian is inevitable, being an officially bilingual country. We find, therefore, many French words derived directly from an English one: for example: bines from beans, bécosse from back-house, drave from drive. Nevertheless, the way that Canadians perceive Anglicisms is not the same as the French do. Normally, French usually respect the original spelling, as the closest pronunciation; however, Canadians try to frenchify the Anglicism as much as possible, in such a way that sometimes they prefer an Anglicism over another by its similarity to French. For example, instead of using stop, they prefer arrêt (that is also an Anglicism); to avoid week-end they replace it by fin de semaine. Some other times, if they don't change the spelling, at least they frenchify the pronunciation. The reason stems from the social validation that the French give to Anglicisms, while Canadians see them as a threat. This difference in the treatment of Anglicisms can be felt in the assignment of gender for certain English words. Like job or sandwich, which, because they don't have an e at the end, are considered masculine by the French and that's the way it is recorded in dictionaries, but Canadians use them as feminine in their everyday way of speaking.

 

 

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