Like an old couple…
France and Quebec have had a common history for 400 years, and as old couples do, both of them often bicker while being really still fond of one another.
With the Atlantic Ocean in between, France and Quebec were bound to follow their own paths and be influenced by different cultures.
Never dare to say to a Quebecker that they are Canadian though, or you would be no more than a “maudit français” to them!
“You’re the one with the accent!”
Quebeckers are proud of their language and country and any French who “dégobille” of France will be told off. They put a great deal of effort in conserving the French and adapt many English words into French while the French themselves use them as they are, for instance the verb “magasiner” to go shopping, and “fin de semaine” which literally means weekend and is said as such by the French.
French people are often blamed by Quebecers for incorporating English words into their day-to-day language. The French, on their part, laugh at some of their cousins’ film titles’ translations, which even have a Wikipedia page dedicated to them. Among these translations, Terminator literally translated into “Terminateur” or “Le Pouilleux Millionnaire” (literally “Tramp Millionnaire”) for “Slumdog Millionnaire”.
The reason for such literal translations is easily understandable: surrounded by the English-speaking Canada, Quebeckers want to protect their beloved language from being overwhelmed with English.
Should any foreign idiom be literally translated into another language in order to protect the latter? Neither French nor Quebeckers seem close to any agreement about that and it makes both of them unique while showing how two languages can develop and share the same root.
Only one Quebec French?
Saying that there is only one Quebec French in Quebec would be lying, as if there was only one French in France while neglecting all other regional dialects like Picard or Alsatian.
Quebec French encompasses at least 3 “sociolects”: Joual is the one French know most as it is spoken in Montreal area; Chiac, which is a French-English language mainly used by New-Brunswick’s youth, French Ontarian… And many other sublanguages that have created debates, which shows how complex the subject is for Quebeckers.
But France and Quebec are bound to each other by the sacred bonds of language, and for a long time!