Canadian French

Canadian French

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Canadian French'
Start a new discussion about 'Canadian French'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Canadian French is an umbrella term
Umbrella term
An umbrella term is a word that provides a superset or grouping of concepts that all fall under a single common category. Umbrella term is also called a hypernym. For example, cryptology is an umbrella term that encompasses cryptography and cryptanalysis, among other fields...

 referring to the varieties of French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 spoken in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. French is the mother tongue of nearly seven million Canadians, a figure constituting roughly 22% of the national population. At the federal
Government of Canada
The Government of Canada, formally Her Majesty's Government, is the system whereby the federation of Canada is administered by a common authority; in Canadian English, the term can mean either the collective set of institutions or specifically the Queen-in-Council...

 level it has co-official status alongside English
Canadian English
Canadian English is the variety of English spoken in Canada. English is the first language, or "mother tongue", of approximately 24 million Canadians , and more than 28 million are fluent in the language...

. Provincially, it tends to have more limited status, except in the case of New Brunswick
New Brunswick
New Brunswick is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the only province in the federation that is constitutionally bilingual . The provincial capital is Fredericton and Saint John is the most populous city. Greater Moncton is the largest Census Metropolitan Area...

, which is officially bilingual (with English), and in Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

, where it is the only official language. French is also co-official in the three territories.

Varieties


Quebec French
Quebec French
Quebec French , or Québécois French, is the predominant variety of the French language in Canada, in its formal and informal registers. Quebec French is used in everyday communication, as well as in education, the media, and government....

is spoken in Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

. Closely related varieties are spoken by francophone communities in Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

, Western Canada
Western Canada
Western Canada, also referred to as the Western provinces and commonly as the West, is a region of Canada that includes the four provinces west of the province of Ontario.- Provinces :...

, Labrador
Labrador
Labrador is the distinct, northerly region of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It comprises the mainland portion of the province, separated from the island of Newfoundland by the Strait of Belle Isle...

 and in the New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

 region of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and differ from Quebec French primarily by their greater conservatism. The term Laurentian French has limited application as a collective label for the varieties spoken outside Quebec, and Quebec French has also been used for the entire dialect group. The overwhelming majority of francophone
Francophone
The adjective francophone means French-speaking, typically as primary language, whether referring to individuals, groups, or places. Often, the word is used as a noun to describe a natively French-speaking person....

 Canadians speak this dialect.

Acadian French
Acadian French
Acadian French , is a regionalized dialect of Canadian French. It is spoken by the francophone population of the Canadian province of New Brunswick, by small minorities in areas in the Gaspé region of eastern Quebec, by small groups of francophones in Prince Edward Island, in several tiny pockets...

is spoken by over 350,000 Acadians in parts of The Maritimes, Newfoundland
Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador is the easternmost province of Canada. Situated in the country's Atlantic region, it incorporates the island of Newfoundland and mainland Labrador with a combined area of . As of April 2011, the province's estimated population is 508,400...

, les Îles de la Madeleine
Magdalen Islands
The Magdalen Islands form a small archipelago in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence with a land area of . Though closer to Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, the islands form part of the Canadian province of Quebec....

, and The Gaspé
Gaspé Peninsula
The Gaspésie , or Gaspé Peninsula or the Gaspé, is a peninsula along the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River in Quebec, Canada, extending into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence...

.

Métis French
Métis French
Métis French, along with Michif and Bungi, is one of the traditional languages of the Métis people, and the French-dialect source of Michif.-Michif:...

is spoken in Manitoba
Manitoba
Manitoba is a Canadian prairie province with an area of . The province has over 110,000 lakes and has a largely continental climate because of its flat topography. Agriculture, mostly concentrated in the fertile southern and western parts of the province, is vital to the province's economy; other...

 and Western Canada
Western Canada
Western Canada, also referred to as the Western provinces and commonly as the West, is a region of Canada that includes the four provinces west of the province of Ontario.- Provinces :...

 by the Métis
Métis people (Canada)
The Métis are one of the Aboriginal peoples in Canada who trace their descent to mixed First Nations parentage. The term was historically a catch-all describing the offspring of any such union, but within generations the culture syncretised into what is today a distinct aboriginal group, with...

, descendants of First Nations
First Nations
First Nations is a term that collectively refers to various Aboriginal peoples in Canada who are neither Inuit nor Métis. There are currently over 630 recognised First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The...

 mothers and voyageur
Voyageurs
The Voyageurs were the persons who engaged in the transportation of furs by canoe during the fur trade era. Voyageur is a French word which literally translates to "traveler"...

 fathers during the fur trade
Fur trade
The fur trade is a worldwide industry dealing in the acquisition and sale of animal fur. Since the establishment of world market for in the early modern period furs of boreal, polar and cold temperate mammalian animals have been the most valued...

. Many Métis spoke Cree
Cree language
Cree is an Algonquian language spoken by approximately 117,000 people across Canada, from the Northwest Territories and Alberta to Labrador, making it the aboriginal language with the highest number of speakers in Canada. It is also spoken in the U.S. state of Montana...

 in addition to French, and over the years they developed a unique mixed language called Michif
Michif language
Michif is the language of the Métis people of Canada and the United States, who are the descendants of First Nations women and fur trade workers of European ancestry...

 by combining Métis French nouns, numerals, articles and adjectives with Cree verbs, demonstratives, postpositions, interrogatives and pronouns. Both the Michif language and the Métis dialect of French are severely endangered
Language death
In linguistics, language death is a process that affects speech communities where the level of linguistic competence that speakers possess of a given language variety is decreased, eventually resulting in no native and/or fluent speakers of the variety...

.

Newfoundland French
Newfoundland French
Newfoundland French or Newfoundland Peninsular French refers to the French spoken on the Port au Port Peninsula of Newfoundland. The francophones of the region are unique in Canada, tracing their origins to Continental French fishermen who settled in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and not to the...

is spoken by a small population on the Port-au-Port Peninsula
Port au Port Peninsula
The Port au Port Peninsula is a peninsula in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Roughly triangular in shape, it is located on the west coast of the island of Newfoundland.-Geography:...

 of Newfoundland
Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador is the easternmost province of Canada. Situated in the country's Atlantic region, it incorporates the island of Newfoundland and mainland Labrador with a combined area of . As of April 2011, the province's estimated population is 508,400...

. It is endangered — both Quebec French and Acadian French are now more widely spoken among Newfoundland francophones than the distinctive peninsular dialect.

Brayon French
Brayon
Brayons are a francophone people inhabiting the area in and around Edmundston, New Brunswick, Canada. In French, they are called or feminine , and both terms are also used as adjectives, as in Brayon culture, or .) Given their location in New Brunswick, a Canadian Maritime province, they are...

is spoken in The Beauce
Beauce, Quebec
Beauce is a historical and traditional region of Quebec located south of Quebec City. It corresponds approximately to the regional county municipalities of Beauce-Sartigan, Robert-Cliche and La Nouvelle-Beauce, and its major communities are Saint-Georges, Sainte-Marie, Beauceville,...

 of Quebec and Madawaska
Madawaska County, New Brunswick
Madawaska County , also known as the "New Brunswick Panhandle", is located in northwestern New Brunswick, Canada. Over 90% of the county's population speaks French...

 in New Brunswick (and the American state Maine). Although superficially a phonological descendant of Acadian French, analysis reveals it is morphosyntactically identical to Quebec French. It is believed to have resulted from a localised levelling of contact dialects between Québécois and Acadian settlers.

Sub-varieties


There are two main sub-varieties of Canadian French. Joual
Joual
Joual is the common name for the linguistic features of basilectal Quebec French that are associated with the French-speaking working class in Montreal which has become a symbol of national identity for a large number of artists from that area...

is an informal variety of French spoken in working-class neighbourhoods in the province of Quebec. Chiac is a blending of Acadian French syntax and vocabulary with numerous lexical borrowings from English.

Historical usage


The term Canadian French was formerly used to refer specifically to Quebec French and the closely related varieties of Ontario and Western Canada descended from it. This is presumably because Canada and Acadia were distinct parts of New France, and also of British North America, until 1867. However, today the term Canadian French is not usually deemed to exclude Acadian French.

Phylogenetically
Phylogenetics
In biology, phylogenetics is the study of evolutionary relatedness among groups of organisms , which is discovered through molecular sequencing data and morphological data matrices...

, Quebec French, Métis French and Brayon French are representatives of koiné
Koine language
In linguistics, a koiné language is a standard language or dialect that has arisen as a result of contact between two mutually intelligible varieties of the same language. Since the speakers have understood one another from before the advent of the koiné, the koineization process is not as rapid...

 French in the Americas whereas Acadian French, Cajun French, and Newfoundland French are derivatives of non-koinesized local languages in France.

See also

  • Official bilingualism in Canada
  • French Canadian
    French Canadian
    French Canadian or Francophone Canadian, , generally refers to the descendents of French colonists who arrived in New France in the 17th and 18th centuries...

  • French language in Canada
  • Languages of Canada