• Quebec French

    Most Used French Canadian Words

    There are words in Québec French that refer specifically to French Canadian culture and that’s why they do not exist in Metropolitan French, such as “poutine” or “dépanneur”. Well for the word “dépanneur” that’s another story actually, as the word “dépanneur” does exist in Metropolitan French. But it is used to refer to a mechanic […]

    Most Used French Canadian Words
    By OFRENCH -
    2 years ago
    canada - depanneur

    Quebec French

    Most Used French Canadian Words

There are words in Québec French that refer specifically to French Canadian culture and that’s why they do not exist in Metropolitan French, such as “poutine” or “dépanneur”.
Well for the word “dépanneur” that’s another story actually, as the word “dépanneur” does exist in Metropolitan French. But it is used to refer to a mechanic or an electrician that comes to your place for repairing, whereas this word in Québec French refers to a small grocery store.

And because of its isolation from France during the British rule in the 1700s, some words are used in Quebec, yet have no longer been used in France for decades or centuries. For example, the verb “pogner” comes from the word “la pogne”, which is an old Metropolitan French word meaning “la main” (the hand).

List of Quebec French words and their equivalent in Metropolitan French

french-canadian-words-le-chandailLe chandail

Note that Québécois will perfectly understand Metropolitan French words. But they will prefer to use the Quebec French word in everyday conversations with other francophones from Quebec.

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[bullet_item text=”faire le party = sortir en soirée — (to go out and party)”]
[bullet_item text=”jaser = bavarder — (to chat, in person)”]
[bullet_item text=”barrer = fermer à clef — (to lock the door)”]
[bullet_item text=”un chandail = un pull/un t-shirt — (sweater/t-shirt)”]
[bullet_item text=”une sacoche = un sac à main — (purse)”]
[bullet_item text=”la fête = l’anniversaire — (birthday)”]
[bullet_item text=”Il fait frette = il fait froid (it’s cold) (weather)”]
[bullet_item text=”Il mouille = il pleut (it’s raining)”]
[bullet_item text=”une patate frite = des frites (French fries)”]
[bullet_item text=”prendre une marche = faire une promenade (to take a walk)”]
[bullet_item text=”un dépanneur = une épicerie/supérette (convenience store)”]
[bullet_item text=”C’est tiguidou = c’est parfait (it’s all good)”]
[bullet_item text=”un char = une voiture (car)”]
[bullet_item text=”pogner = attraper, prendre (to catch, grab)”]
[bullet_item text=”pis = et (from puis) (and)”]
[bullet_item text=”une blonde = une petite amie (girlfriend)(romantic only)”]
[bullet_item text=”un chum = un copain (boyfriend) (romantic or not)”]
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Canadian Suffixes

french-canadian-words-le-flanageLe flanage

Québécois tend to use more suffixes than French people, in particular suffixes such as “–eux”, “-age” or “-able”:

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[bullet_item text=”il est pas parlable (one can not speak to him/her)”]
[bullet_item text=”le flânage (strolling)”]
[bullet_item text=”niaiseux (stupid)”]
[bullet_item text=”un poteux (pot smoker)”]
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Words Borrowed From Other Languages

Anglicisms

french-canadian-words-la-gommeLa gomme

Québec French vocabulary is distinctive from Metropolitan French; primarily due to the strong influence of the English language upon it. Also called Anglicisms, the borrowed English words are even more obvious in spoken Québec French.

So just as French people, people from Quebec do use a lot of English words, yet they use different anglicisms:

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[bullet_item text=”la gomme (le chewing-gum) — (bubblegum)”]
[bullet_item text=”tomber en amour – (to fall in love)”]
[bullet_item text=”la job = le boulot — (job)”]
[bullet_item text=”la moppe – (the mop)”]
[bullet_item text=”un breuvage = une boisson — (a drink/beverage)”]
[bullet_item text=”focké – (destroyed – obviously it comes from the word f$ck)”]
[bullet_item text=”c’est cute = c’est joli – (it’s cute)”]
[bullet_item text=”checker – (to check)”]
[bullet_item text=”un cellulaire = un téléphone portable — (cell phone)”]
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You will notice that Quebec French has words that are taken directly from English, which makes it very easy to memorize and use! (“la gomme”, “la job”, “c’est cute”)

Sometimes the English word has been changed to the point that it sounds like a French word:

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[bullet_item text=”enfirouaper (to cheat someone = in fur wrap)”]
[bullet_item text=”un coqueron (cookroom : a tiny room, a shed)”]
[bullet_item text=”une bécosse (toilet = backhouse)”]
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Attempts to limit the use of Anglicisms

french-canadian-words-magasinerMagasiner

However, with the Quiet Revolution, the nationalist sentiment in Quebec prompted French Canadians to want to limit the use of Anglicisms, especially in formal speeches. In spoken language, when Quebec French uses too many anglicisms, it is called “franglais”, and it is a derogatory term.

And that is why ‘L’Office de la Langue Française’ in Quebec regularly creates neologisms to limit the use of anglicism:

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[bullet_item text=”un courriel – (email) → this word is a contraction of “courri-er” (letter) and “el-ectronic””]
[bullet_item text=”clavarder – (to chat) → this word is a mix of “clav-ier” (keyboard) and “bav-arder” (to have a chat)”]
[bullet_item text=”magasiner = faire du shopping — (to go shopping)”]
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Words borrowed from Amerindian languages

french-canadian-words-le-caribouLe caribou

Words borrowed in Quebec French are not limited to English only. Some are borrowed from the Aboriginal languages to which early settlers were exposed during colonization:

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[bullet_item text=”un atoka (cranberries)”]
[bullet_item text=”un caribou (reindeer)”]
[bullet_item text=”un ouaouaron (a bull-frog)”]
[bullet_item text=”la boucane (smoke)”]
[bullet_item text=”un maringouin (mosquitos)”]
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