When speaking English, we use French words all the time- gaffe, café, cuisine, chauffeur, chic… And in France, English words and expressions are common in French speech –le parking, le brunch, le sandwich, le blog, le leader…
French tend to think of using a smattering of English occasionally as cool. But francophones in Québec and the rest of French-speaking Canada have a different idea. This is because French-speaking Canada is surrounded by English speakers and French-Canadians know they must work hard to preserve their language. In Europe, words from various languages are exchanged fairly routinely, but Canadians are much more alert to the threat of having their language be diluted and gradually disappear. As a result, the French have email while French-Canadians read their courriel. In France, you might take part in le networking, but in Québec you will probably participate in le réseautage.
This brings me to the expression Have a good weekend. In France, you will be wished bon weekend– in Canada- bonne fin de semaine!
But just to show you that nothing is black and white- check out this recent and amusing article from The Telegraph which discusses what happened when French President Emmanuel Macron recently used “bottom-up”!
What other examples of differences in France and French-Canada expressions can you share?
Are you interested in beginning to learn French? Try my free French course Unité Zéro!