Differences Between Canadian, Belgian, and Parisian French
28 Jul Differences Between Canadian, Belgian, and Parisian French
Why Canadians Speak French?
There are many stories from the past that we have only read in books, which is why we don’t think about them much. But colonization is something that our ancestors lived through, which is why most of us know a lot about it. We know that it affected various cultures around the world. In a way, it changed the way people lived in different parts of the world. Today, languages like English and Spanish are spoken in different parts of the world only because of colonization.
But before colonization, people used to influence each other by establishing their communities in distant lands. For instance, there are Italian speakers in the US because numerous citizens of Italy moved here in the 19th century. The French settlers arrived in Canada at the beginning of the 17th century, bringing with them European French. As more settlers arrived, they moved to different parts of the region, contributing to both Standard French and various regional dialects. They started trade there and created cities. However, when British rule took hold, they seized control from the French and deported many of them to Britain and France. Despite this upheaval, the French language persisted in Canada and is one of the official languages of the country today. The influence of British rule and subsequent interactions contributed to the evolution of Canadian French, diverging from European French in notable ways, and informal speech patterns emerged, influenced by cultural and historical factors. Furthermore, in regions like Kinshasa, the French language took on its own unique characteristics due to historical and regional influences, showcasing a diverse array of French variations across the globe.
Many European countries, including France, embarked on extensive colonial endeavors spanning over three centuries. As a result, the French language extends its influence across nearly thirty countries worldwide. While it may not boast the ubiquity of English or the widespread use of Spanish, it remains a significant linguistic force, boasting a collective total of 274 million speakers. Additionally, numerous French-based creoles have emerged, with the most prominent being spoken in Haiti. Projections suggest that the majority of French speakers in the future will hail from Africa. This language stands as one of the most prevalent foreign languages spoken within Europe. Moreover, within the realm of linguistics, the study of singular forms and the impact of exaggerated anglicisms on rapid speech has been notably explored by scholars such as Gaston Paris. Furthermore, within the context of languages, the diversity of aboriginal languages, particularly in regions like Atlantic Canada, showcases the rich linguistic tapestry present within French-speaking communities.
Differences Between Canadian, Belgian, and Parisian French:
It is impossible for things to stay as they are because change is the only constant force in the world. We are always evolving and turning into something different than what we were the day before. Everything that is directly connected to human life also changes continuously. For instance, every culture, including the French people, develops new features regularly. Quebec French, Acadian French, and Métis French are among the various French dialects spoken, each with its own nuances. Even in formal settings like Swiss French, the prestige form of the language may differ. In Western Canada, there are significant grammatical differences compared to Standard French. Every vernacular, such as Cambodian French, spoken by millions, is updated almost daily. A language that is only spoken in one country will also get divided into various varieties, with people from different regions adding their touches to the tongue. These variations can make the different varieties of the same language, spoken across regions like the north shore and beyond, become mutually unintelligible in informal language.
Belgium is a neighboring country of France and has no native tongue of its own. Its three officially recognized vernaculars are Dutch, German, and French. But it has plenty of regional tongues that are spoken by its population. The vernacular of France is spoken in various areas of Belgium. It is quite identical to the Parisian variety. The only differences it has developed over the years are the loanwords that were taken from regional tongues like Walloon and Picard. Some loanwords were also taken from Dutch. The unique accent of the Belgians is another way in which their speech differs from Parisian speakers. But the accents depend on the social class and education level of a person. It does not have any linguistic reasons behind it.
The vernacular is spoken by a little over seven million people in Canada, which is why it has been divided into various varieties. The most popular variety is the one spoken in Quebec, also the region with the highest number of French speakers. Canadian French has its own unique characteristics and differences from Metropolitan French spoken in France. Although the Canadian varieties are not mutually unintelligible with the Parisian vernacular, they exhibit many differences, including influences from English language and indigenous languages. Canadian French is known for its prevalence of Anglicisms due to the coexistence of English as the other official language in the country, resulting in lexical borrowings over the years that have become ingrained in the vocabulary of Canadian French speakers. Indigenous languages have also played a role in influencing the vernaculars of the country, contributing to the linguistic diversity observed in various regions. Interestingly, the variety spoken by Canadians retains linguistic features from earlier periods, including elements considered pure by various linguists. These linguistic differences and influences reflect the complex linguistic landscape of Canadian society, where regional dialects, grammatical borrowings, and characteristic differences coexist within the French spoken across the country.
It originated from Vulgar Latin in the 18th centuries and was the language of literature, which is why it influenced various other vernaculars of the region, particularly in North America where French Canadian and English speakers interacted. Jacques Cartier’s exploration and encounters with native language speakers further influenced its development. French pronunciations evolved differently in American English due to the interaction between British rule and French influence.
Unlike the Canadian varieties, Metropolitan France’s French does not use as many Anglicisms. Although English is popular in France, it has not heavily influenced the vernacular of the country. Even in casual conversations, the people of France prefer to use the formal form of addressing others. This is in contrast with the Canadian variety, where informal speech is common, especially among native speakers and in informal settings like cell phone conversations.
Canadian, Belgian, and Parisian varieties have some differences, influenced by African French and aboriginal languages, making them mutually intelligible to some extent. However, when a Canadian is speaking to someone from France, the accents might create a problem for them due to the diverse linguistic influences. It is only natural for vernaculars to develop their unique features, akin to how individuals grow and develop their own personalities distinct from their parents.
French, like English, has managed to stay away from significant changes in its structure, but slang words and different cultures will continue to affect it, making its varieties more unique with time, further distinguishing it across regions and communities.
Canadian, Belgian, and Parisian varieties have some differences. They are mutually intelligible to some extent. But when a Canadian is speaking to someone from France, the accents might create a problem for them. However, it is only natural for a vernacular to develop its unique features. None of us are exactly like our parents because we grew up and developed our own personalities. It is the same with vernaculars. They continue to become different with every passing day. Like English, French has managed to stay away from big changes. But slang words and different cultures will continue to affect it and make its varieties more and more unique.