Living in Canada for six years, I’ve noticed that many French expressions are used in Quebec differently than in France or in Europe.
Here, I will share five expressions that confused me, the most as a French speaker.
If you learned French in France, you know that “allô” is used when you answer the phone.
The use of “allô” in Quebec is quite different. It comes from the English word “hello”, and it’s used exactly for that, to say “hello”.
Allô is also used both in written and spoken French.
So, don’t be surprised if you hear this word in Quebec or other French-speaking provinces.
The literal meaning of “Bienvenue” is “welcome” in French.
In Quebec, we use this to say welcome as in France.
However, “Bienvenue” is also used to say “you are welcome” following a thank you.
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Similar to "bienvenue", “bonjour” is also used differently in Quebec. It is used as a form of greeting to say "hello".
But in Quebec, Bonjour is also used to say “goodbye”.
4) C'est beau
In France, we use “C’est beau” to describe something “beautiful”.
But, in Quebec, "C’est beau" has different meanings and it can be used in various contexts. The most common meaning is “ it’s good”.
-Qu’est-ce que tu en penses? (What do you think?)
-Je pense que c’est beau. (I think it's good.)
5) Par example
The literal meaning of par example is, “for example”.
Be careful, in French, "par example" is written with “e” not “a”.
Je lis les auteurs québécois, par exemple Michel Tremblay et Nelly Arcan.
(I read quebecois writers, for example Michel Tremblay and Nelly Arcan.)
But in Quebec, "par exemple" is also used to say “but” which can be translated into French “cependant, par contre”.
Fais comme tu veux, mais viens pas te plaindre, par exemple.
(Do as you like, but don't come to complain to me.)
Watch my video below for their pronunciation.
Thank you for reading my post! Which French expressions do you find interesting? Do you know other French words used differently in Quebec? Let me know in comments.
Umut Incesu, PhD (he/him)