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The Essential Guide to Québec French Pronunciation

The common language spoken in Québec – Québecois – can be easily identified by its distinct accent. You can say that Québecois is as different from Parisian French as North American English is from British English. The Québecois language has seven accents that differ based on the place where it is spoken. In the north, a deep Acadian accent can be observed. When you reach the Trois-Rivières region, an expansive accent can be heard. When you go near the American border, curt patois is spoken. The general rule is, the farther you are from the cities the deeper your accent becomes. This is why Québec ‘s most remote regions still have the pre-revolutionary “rolled” sound.

Why does this language sound different from Parisian French? It is because the language in Québec did not go through the same changes as its mother language in France. Québecois retained its historical accent while Parisian French changed over time. For that reason, Modern Québécois is characterized by 16th-century accents and modern English tendencies. Interestingly, many words and phrases were made because of accidental slurs of English words and phrases, examples include aldress (all dressed), poutine (put-in), and so on. The historical accents mixed with English words made the language somewhat pleasing to the ear although some people have a hard time understanding it. To make it even more challenging, Quebecers are known to be fast talkers, they usually slur or put two different words together.

Common Pronunciation tendencies in Quebec French

/i/ becomes /é/

Pronunciation : 2

Québec FrenchPronunciation
toi
toé

/u/ becomes /eû/ in front of a consonant

Pronunciation : 6

Québec FrenchPronunciation
une plumeune pleûme

/è/ become /a/…

Copy of Pronunciation : 2

FRENCHQUEBEC FRENCH Pronunciation
chercher
charcher

/i/ often becomes /é/ in front of a consonant

Pronunciation : 7

Québec FrenchPronunciation
vitevéte

/ou/ becomes /ô/ in front of a consonant

Pronunciation : 8

Québec FrenchPronunciation
il roule
il rôle

/ê/ becomes /AY/

Pronunciation : 5

Québec FrenchPronunciation
une bête
une bAYte

/e/ becomes /é/

Pronunciation : 3

Québec FrenchPronunciation
dehors
déhors

/è/ becomes /é/ when it’s final

Pronunciation : 4

Québec FrenchPronunciation
la terre
la tére

/a/ becomes /ô/

Pronunciation : 1

Québec FrenchPronunciation

Slurs in Quebec French

/ou/ often becomes /u/

FRENCHQUEBEC FRENCH Pronunciation
un bouchon
un buchon

vowels /i/, /u/, and /ou/ are often dropped

Québec FrenchPronunciation
allumerallmer

/u/ often becomes /i/

Québec FrenchPronunciation
une culotte
une kilotte

/re-/ at the beginning of words… sometimes becomes /ar-/

Québec FrenchPronunciation
revoir
arvoir

/j/ is often replaced by /ch/

Québec FrenchPronunciation
je suischwui

/le/ and /la/ often become /l’/

Québec FrenchPronunciation
le torchon
l’torchon
la vaisselle
l’vaisselle

Other pronunciation tendencies in Quebec French

/or/ is very often transformed into /aor/

Pronunciation : 19

FrenchQuébec French Pronunciation
d'abordd'abaor

final /r/ is often transformed into an /é/

Pronunciation : 21

FrenchQuébec French Pronunciation
le comptoirle comptoé

the ends of words are often dropped– especially words ending with /re/ and / le/

Pronunciation : 20

FrenchQuébec French Pronunciation
le cercle
le cerk

long and nasal vowels are often transformed into a more open and nasal sound

Pronunciation : 18

FrenchQuébec French Pronunciation
blancblawn

addition of an /s/ or /z/ sound after a /t/ /d/ or /u/

Pronunciation : 17

Québec FrenchPronunciation
je dis
je dzi

How to pronunce the verbs Être and Avoir

The verbs être and avoir are pronounced quite differently by Quebecers and are often almost inaudible in quick speech. Below is a table demonstrating English, International French, and common Québec pronunciations:

Être (to be)

Verbs : 1

ENGLISHQUEBEC FRENCH Pronunciation 
We are(use “on” form instead)
You are/tay/
They are/iyson/ elles sont/eson/
He/She/It is/yay/
/elay/
/onay/
You (pl.) are/vzêt/
I am/shui/

Avoir (to have)

Verbs : 2

ENGLISHQUEBEC FRENCH Pronunciation 
We have(use ‘on’ form instead)
You have/ta/
He, She, It has/ya/
/ela/
/ona/
I have/shé/
They have/ihyon/
/ezon/
You (pl.) have/vzavé/

Québecers also have the tendency to use the simple future tense all the time rather than using the verb aller to differentiate future events. For example:

Verbs : 3

ENGLISHQUEBEC FRENCH Pronunciation 
You’ll see him tomorrowTu le verras demain
I’ll go a bit laterJ’irais tantôt

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