Around the World in French
Episode 2: Canada
Welcome to Around the world in French! Chapter 2 of this blog series brings us to our home country… Canada! In this bilingual country both English and French are spoken, and although the majority of French speakers reside in Quebec, there are pockets of French-speakers across the other provinces as well. What makes Canada special is the different cultures that are present in the country. French culture is certainly different from English culture in the country, it is unique and vibrant and makes provinces like Quebec seem like a different country. The French culture in Canada is rich and beautiful, it can be on full display in provinces like Quebec and it can be more hidden in other provinces like Ontario, but the francophone culture is prominent and important in all parts of Canada.
The essence of a culture is in the language, and the French language spoken in Canada is quite different from the rest of the francophone world, sort of like how British English is different from Canadian English. The accent, some of the vocabulary and the slang used in a language naturally varies based on the part of the world you speak the language, and Canada is no exception. Many French words have derived from the province of Quebec, for instance instead of saying “Copin” or “Copine” for boyfriend and girlfriend, the Quebecois like to say “Chum” and “Blonde”. They also have quite a few words that have been influenced by the anglophone side of the country, so it is common to hear “C’est le fun!” which is a combination of French and English to say “It’s fun!”. But the influence of the francophones is more than just a language here in Canada, there are many aspects that are a part of the culture and together these different gems make the culture glow and stand out. One of these gems is the food…
French Canadian food
Food is certainly a central part of the French Canadian way of life, it is simply delicious and a true staple of Canadian culture in general. For the people who don’t think Canada really has their own cuisine, they need to try French Canadian cuisine. Poutine, Montreal Smoked Meat, Pâté Chinois, Pouding Chômeur, the list goes on… These are classic dishes that originated from French Canadians and have become popularized throughout the rest of Canada, and they are a great way to get a taste of French Canadian culture. The cuisine that hails from Quebec is cherished by the francophone community and it is one of the many attractions for tourists visiting the country.
Exciting Tourist Sites
In addition to the restaurants, there are many sites to see on the French side of Canada. Ottawa as the capital of Canada is a great representation of both cultures in one city, and is well worth visiting, but Quebec is definitely the best province to visit for a true francophone experience in Canada. Some are drawn to Quebec City, an interesting place that can draw tourists with its unique aesthetics reminiscent of European countries, while Montreal’s city lights attract those seeking the thrill of a big city, and there are many appealing options in between. Popular attractions include the incredible churches like St Joseph’s Oratory or Notre Dame, or those seeking a more immersive experience may partake in the various festivals that take place such as Quebec’s famous Winter Carnival, there is always something to do.
Cultural Divide in Canada
At the end of the day, although Canada is a bilingual country not all Canadians are bilingual. Many Canadians believe that the two different cultures in Canada are too different to be compatible with each other, but this is far from the truth. Anglophones can live and enjoy Francophone culture and vice-versa. By embracing both languages of this country, you enrich yourself as a Canadian and as a person. It is beneficial to be open-minded and experience new cultures, perspectives, and ways of life. This is perhaps the greatest benefit of learning French here in Canada. The benefits also include more career opportunities, possibly higher salaries, travel opportunities, and connecting with new people. and developing a broader mind! Whatever your reason for learning might be, let it motivate you and go pursue your goals!
We talked about how some people don’t realize the compatibility of the two cultures here in the country, but to the same effect there is a multitude of people who understand and appreciate the importance of both cultures, for that reason there are many Canadians who are learning French across the country. Why not join them? Here at Le Petit Écolier we teach French and can help you reach the level of fluency you desire. We are based in Ontario, and we teach all ages, whether it’s kids or adults, we have a class that will suit you. So don’t be shy, you can sign up to one of our classes and we can help you learn so you can truly appreciate the other side of Canada!