Quebec French UA-4944458-2

Quebec French

Québec French, or Québecois, has its origin in early modern French, also known as classical French that was spoken in France in the 17th and 18th century.

This language was brought to New France by the early settlers. It was shaped by several different influences that transformed the language into Canadian French, which is spoken in Québec today.

The French settlers first came into contact with Native people and Native Place names. Many Native place names and expressions related to flora and fauna were adopted into the French language.

In addition, seafaring was of major importance for the early settlers, which left its mark on the language: Many terms and expressions are related to the language’s maritime heritage.

During the British rule that started in 1760, the language became isolated from European French. This led to different developments of the two languages. Canadian French kept pronouncing words in a more old fashioned way, while European French underwent certain modernization.

During the 19th century and the industrial revolution, the province of Québec started to trade increasingly with the English speaking provinces and the United States. The communication was overwhelmingly in English and many English business, law, government and manufacturing terms were adopted into the French Canadian language. In addition, many Quebecers started seeking employment in the United States and the new terms and expressions they learned in their working environments found their way into the French language.

Furthermore, in particular the city of Montréal attracted increasing numbers of immigrants from the United Kingdom and Ireland, which resulted in a blending of the two languages and enriched Canadian French with many new words.

In 1961, the Office québecois de la langue française was established with the objective “to align on international French, promote good Canadianisms and fight Anglicisms (.)”. Its goals were to make French the priority language in the province of Québec, to guarantee that French would become the language of public business and administration as well as in the civil business and working environment and to monitor the development of Canadian French.

Today, there is still no standardization of Québec French, because of fears that this would lead to a reduced intelligibility with European French and other varieties of French. However, the Office has published a great number of dictionaries especially for Canadianisms.

In contrast to its French counterpart, the Académie Française, the Office québecois de la langue française, seems less restrictive in terms of accepting and creating new word formations, especially in the field of scientific and technological evolution.