Our clients have asked us to shed some light on some of the key reasons why Canada’s French and France’s French are considered as separate entities.
When Jacques Cartier planted the French flag in what is now Québec, in 1534, he expected there to be a rich history of cultural exchange to unfold.
The truth is that Québec has since gone onto form its own unique linguistic entity within Francophonie. Despite the fact that both areas use the same grammar, differences can be noted in rhythm, intonation and pronunciation.
There are expressions like ‘être en shape’ that are clearly borrowings made from the English language while ‘être en forme’ would be more commonly used in France.
This can also be seen in the existence of ‘chien chaud’ in Québec, the literal translation of ‘hot-dog’ in English. Although this is uncommon in terms of usage, the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF), through enforcing the principles laid down by la Charte de la langue française, is keen to enforce francisation.
Contrastingly, Parisian French is less prone to adopt this attitude, even under the Académie française’s guidance; there is a growing trend, amongst young French people in particular, in the number of English sayings like ‘C’est un must’ (It’s a must) being used.
The key reason that Québec’s French is so far removed from that of France is the distance that separates the two territories. With Canada’s rich native culture, there was a need, during early colonisation, for new words to be coined in the French language in order to describe this new reality that French people were living.Furthermore, Québec’s economy has traditionally been more aligned with that of North America; organisations like the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) are working overtime to ensure that its member countries are doing their utmost to promote the language and sustainable development.
In short, Québec has evolved into a key player at the higher echelons of the French language, with its rigorous enforcement of francization, it continues to offer hope for its future existence. The fact that French-speaking countries are involved in 19 percent of the world’s trade in goods is a testament to its contribution on the world scene.
At Lingua Translations, we believe that translations should be placed with linguists that are immersed with the language that they translate into, so that our clients can be ensured that their translations have been localised according to the target readership.
*Thanks to http://www.freedigitalphotos.net for the image!