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What is "Canadian French"?

August 1, 2016

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 Canadian French, Quebecois, Quebec French

Canada is called a "mosaic nation" where various ethnic groups reside as the country accepts a lot of immigrants. In Canada, immigrants from approximately 100 countries are accepted by, in particular, the Province of Quebec, located in Eastern Canada. Residents in Quebec speak a version of French called "Quebec French" or "Canadian French." We will introduce you to what you should know in business development in Quebec as well as the history and characteristics of Canadian French.

Why French in Canada?

Generally, it may be considered that Canada belongs to an English-speaking region. Actually, various cultures and languages originating from a wide variety of regions exist in Canada, which actively accepts a large number of immigrants from countries around the world. In particular, immigrants from approximately 100 countries are accepted by the Province of Quebec, which is five times as large as Japan. A large number of people emigrated from France to Quebec in the 1600s, causing French to be used as the official language in Quebec even now.

In Quebec, you need to register a company with 50 or more employees in "French offices in the Province of Quebec." After registration, when it is judged that your office respects French, a French usage permit will be issued. In order to obtain this permit, the company establishes a French-speaking environment by such means as having its employees participate in French learning courses. "Canadian French" represents the inflexibleness and pride of the French who never give up their mother tongue even after they immigrate to their foreign land, which is Canada, and keep their identity as French Canadians.

Characteristics of Canadian French

What is the difference between French spoken in Europe and Canadian French spoken in Canada? While it is viewed differently by each person, the difference may be expressed as being "bigger than the difference between American English and British English."

Major characteristics of Canadian French are: the language inherits elements of old French, and it is more formal than French spoken in Europe. Those characteristics are caused by the fact that French used when it came down to Canada with immigrants from France still remains. Further, there are big differences in pronunciation from standard French. As long as your native language is French, you will be able to understand Canadian French even it may sound slightly awkward. On the other hand, if you have learned French as a foreign language, you may find Canadian French very hard to make out and sometimes it may sound like a totally different language.

Business Development in Quebec

Canada consists of "Francophone" and "Anglophone," which mean residents or regions that speak mainly French and English, respectively. When you conduct business in Quebec, where both reside, we suggest that you prepare all documents such as materials and contracts in both English and Canadian French. While Anglophone companies reside in Quebec as well, preparing documents also in Canadian French will show how you understand and respect Quebec, resulting in a relationship built on trust. When you also want to request translation services from a translation agency, you should tell them that the translated documents will be used in Quebec and have them provide you with a Canadian French translation as well.

In Quebec, if you are willing to pronounce "Merci" ("Thank you" in French) as "Marci" in the Canadian French way, it will help you to become closer to the residents. It will be a key to gaining trust to utilize languages smartly.

Local Primary Language should be Checked in Advance

In Canada, where more than one language exist, some regions accept English only and some regions mainly use French and do not welcome English. When you want to conduct business overseas, we suggest that you check the local language in advance.

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