May 052009

(asked by David B. from Québec)

I would like to know, what do the French really think of the Franco-Québécois, or even of the non-francophones from Quebec and Canada. Just to see as to how it differs from their overall and/or personal appreciation of that great American figure that is the college kid, the tourist, the expat, and their otherwise non as caricatural compatriots…

Well, first you need to know that the French are fully aware that Franco-Québécois are very different from anybody else in North America. That may not be the case with other Canadians, as French people can’t really make a distinction between Americans and Anglo-Canadians, and as far as non-francophones from Québec, it’s quite simple: they don’t exist for French people.
For the French, Canada is composed by two populations:
-The English speakers that are all over Canada except Québec and that are either no different from Americans, or simply irrelevant.
-The French speakers that are in Québec and only in Québec.
-All the other ones (francophones outside of Québec, non-francophones in Québec, natives, etc.) simply don’t exist.

And so, what do the French think about Franco-Québécois?
A few things…
Let’s see…

-They think they speak funny, but delusional anti-Anglo French (the Anti-American ones, and the ones that are convinced that English is going to destroy the French language) love French Canadians for the resistance they symbolize against the Anglo enemy.
But be aware that those Talibans of the French language love the Québécois in Québec, but when really confronted to them they can be very condescending, after all, Québécois don’t speak the “real” French according to them, just a bastardized French that just good enough as a wall against English.

-The second main issue with the Québécois and the French is : the Franco-Québécois singer issue. As our English-speaking readership may not be aware of, France is literally invaded by Franco-Québécois singers… Actually France has really few French singers, most of them really come from Belgium and Canada.
Why is that? Well, I think it makes sense when you’re a Franco-Québécois singer that if you have a potential market of 60 million people on the other side of the ocean why get stuck with your home market of 7 millions? Also, they’re somewhat exotic in France, which is always a good marketing tool.
And one thing everyone must be aware of, is that the French population is divided in two irreconcilable sides when it comes to Franco-Québécois singers in France.
On one side, you have people with no musical taste and/or standards whatsoever and they love them, they really are their favorite singers.
On the other side, you have people with musical taste/culture/standards, and they can’t stand Franco-Québécois singers, and they hate the Québecois for sending them to us. (you must be aware that Céline Dion has been huge since the early 80′s in France… yes… I know… I thank the Lord every day since the day she decided to move to the US and have a career there, except for the time when I lived in the US).
And actually I have a question for any Franco-Québécois that would read those lines: Why do your singers suck so much? Is that all because of the trend that Starmania started? Or were they terrible before that? Or do you have good ones, but you keep them to yourselves and prevent them from crossing the ocean?

Finally, I can’t talk about Franco-Québécois and the French without talking about Marcel Béliveau. Know that the French love Marcel Béliveau, that he may be the funniest thing that ever came from the Americas for them, and it doesn’t matter that he hasn’t been seen for more than 10 years, all the French still love him and miss him dearly. If you’re a Franco-Québécois and need a conversation starter with a French person, just mention Marcel Béliveau.

More Questions Answered:

  34 Responses to “What do the French think of the Québécois? (that’s French Canadians for US Americans)”

  1. You’re so right about French attitudes towards the Quebecois. I get TV5 Monde on my cable provider, and I was watching a French-produced travel show about Montreal. The whole time they played, “Dueling Banjos” from “Deliverance” in the background.

    Also, I love how they provide “proper” French subtitles for French Canadian shows.

    That the French ignore English Canadians just show that the French only pay attention to peoples they fear or envy.

  2. I did not know that about how “Dueling Banjos” would be construed by French people. Thanks for the insight. Ditto for the subtitles. It’s just that it’s so rare that subtitles are necessary for intra-English films or shows. The only case I can think of is a few scenes in “Trainspotting” were subtitled for American audiences, because the Scottish accents were just too much (I have a very good French friend in LA, who speaks absolutely perfect English, who tells me the Scottish accent is the most difficult for French people to understand).

    I would not agree, though, that Americans only are interested in peoples they fear or envy. Americans have a kind of inferiority complex relative to Europe, and especially England, the old colonial master. This interest is based neither on fear nor envy. Americans I think are genuinely curious about the world, though perhaps not that proficient in acting on that curiosity, because we have people from all over the world living among us.

  3. I grew up in Montreal, Quebec back in the early 60's. We were taught Parisian French yet we had a hard time understanding the French spoken in Quebec. I took immersion courses in the various patois and can honestly say after 40+ years I still have problems with it. My hubby & his twin had problems with Quebecois French when they emigrated. Its a mix of English & French - understandably. Try talking to an older Acadian


  4. Thanks for your input Penny.
    You mean, you're an English-speaking Québécois, but didn't learn the local French? How odd…

    One thing I want to correct though. There is no such thing as Parisian French (except for the odd use they have of the words "brasserie" and "traiteur").
    If people just learn one thing from this blog, I wish it to be that Paris is not France and France is not Paris, but apparently some work still needs to be done in that field.

    also, I kinda disagree with you when you say that Québécois French is a mix of French and English, but more on that topic in the appropriate post.

  5. I just discovered your blog and I find it quite entertaining. Always good to have another perspective on things.

    Now, about the Québécois singer bashing theme… I agree that we exported a few crappolla singers (sorry about Roch Voisine) but at the same time, maybe if they're so successful here in France, it’s because your singers are even worse… Or even yet, maybe the French public has no taste in music? Ah, these are the difficult questions Seriously, most of the generic Québécois singers that are popular but no one ever admits to liking them have the same non-love back home in Québec. You should maybe give your ipod a québécois input to include a few of the following and try to forget about Céline, Roch, etc:

    Ariane Moffatt
    Stefie Shock
    Jean Leloup
    DJ Champion
    and many others including a very strong english music scene as well!

    Montreal is frequently considered to have one of the best music scenes on the planet. Too bad France only seems to know/like/desire the shitty stuff.

  6. Oh, I agree French singers are crap too…
    I think there's a "Québécois singer" syndrome and/or running joke, because they're all the same (same style of singing, same lame styles, etc) so they become stereotyped.

    And yes, most of French people have no taste in music, I agree. Come on: the most popular French singer ever is Johnny Hallyday, I think that tells it all.

    Now, don't get me wrong, there are a lot of French people that have good tastes in music too, but strangely they'll listen to non-French music mostly.

    (I may have 200+ CDs and no more than five French singers (Dutronc, FFF, Arno (who's Belgian) and I think that's it).

    And I also know that Montréal is a great music scene, but none of it make it to France (in recent years I can only name the Arcade Fire, and the general population has never heard of them).

    Among the ones you mention, Jean Leloup is the only one that made it to France in the early 90's (and I liked him very much), but he disappeared almost as quickly (until recently I thought he was a one hit wonder, until I hear that he had a whole career in Canada).

  7. How very interesting — Korean American singers often venture out to Korea as well.

  8. Interesting yeah.
    Do you know why (maybe you have an entry that I missed on your blog about the topic)?
    Because I see how Québécois singers are interested in the French market, it's huge compared to Québec…
    Is that because Korean American singers in the US are seen as a niche market or something?

  9. Incredibly, no one has asked that question yet.

    Basically, Korean American singers face an even smaller niche market than Quebecois. Asians are not sufficiently mainstream just yet to draw a mainstream crowd in America. Much, much easier to go back to Korea to get big. And given the way Korea has begun to export its stars (e.g. Rain in Ninja Assassin — don't laugh,) it might end up being the better way to advance in the American market as well.

  10. Yeah, that makes sense, I forgot how racially unsegregated music still is in the US.

  11. I think that quebecparis's comment is great - of course the fact that those particular singers are popular in France has a lot more to do with France than Québec! Here are a few more to add to your list of Québecois musicians worth listening to:
    Vulgaires Machins (if you like a hard rock sound)
    Amélie Veille (if you don't)
    Les Cowboys Fringants (my favourite, because of their sense of humour…but my husband who speaks no French at all likes them too, so it can't be just the lyrics)
    Just spend some time on itunes - they are all there, and they all link to each other. I can spend hours following those "if you liked this, we recommend…" prompts!
    As for 'French from France' music, I am into a few hip-hip artists: Amel Bent, Kenzah Farah and Shy'm. Bénabar's funny songs make me laugh (I'm a sucker for that) and my kids love Grégoire. Well…anyway, there's good francophone music out there to suit every taste, you just need to go looking for it!

  12. Ooooh meeaany ! Lol.

    It’s not true, lots of people in France love the Québécquois. At least there are much more Québécquois lovers in France, than French lovers in Québec. From what I could hear at least (but I would be delighted to be wrong… anyone ?). No blame on the Québécquois, it should be upsetting for them. Because it’s an important issue for them to be recognised… when French people simply don’t care, and don’t really understand why they should be taking off. “A problem ? Where ? We are the French, speaking French… where is the problem ? The Québécquois have a different language, Québécquois. That’s normal, it’s a different nation and a different country on a different continent with a different history… So what ?”

    The fact is… there accent is not pleasant to hear (for a French I mean). Because it’s an American reasonning accent with much nasal sounds. The good point : it enables them to produce powerful sound because they have the throat open. Hence the “chanteur à voix” (voice singer?) thing (and the reason why Americans are “loud” when they speak - from a French point off view that is). The bad point ? In France we don’t like that. It can rapidly give us headaches (me at least). We might love to hear it a bit ( I’m definitely a fan of Starmania), but not all the time.

    What counts in music is not the voice. It’s the lyrics. Not the performer, but the creator. The writer. Ah ! The love for literature again… Aaah those (annoying) French…
    And unfortunately (from a French point of view), Québécquois is a mixture of English and popular Parisian French of the XVIIth Century (if I remember well… but this can be easily corrected thanks to the Internet). And popular means popular (with full of familiar words). We French love “pure” language.. that is to say the language of the elite.

    So unfortunately… the Québécquois not only sound like people from a province. But also from a province that never had contact with the outside world for 400 years. And they have an Anglo-saxon way to see the world… even if they still pretend (or try to convince themselves ?) that they are unaffected. But to a French point of view they are definitely Anglo-saxon. They are completely shaped by Canadian (and American) culture, much more than by the European one. Is it a bad thing ? For us, no. But for them… well, maybe you should not raise the subject if you want to be polite.

    There is no reason for a quarrel here. Québécquois and French are two different languages. And as Lévi-Strauss wrote (about cultures), there is no “child”. Both are grown-up languages.
    I would so love the Americans to STOP confusing the two. What Disney made on “Tangled” was nothing but a SHAME. Even if you hardly hear anything in dialogues… in songs it became really obvious. A French never wrote those lyrics.

    • I’m afraid I will have to correct you again.
      First you really have to drop the “Anglo-Saxon” thing.

      The accent in Quebec French is not “American sounding” (By “American” I assume you meant “US English” right?). I mean, have you ever heard an American speak French? Do they sound like a Québecois? Not at all. It doesn’t come from a mix of 17th Century Parisian and English.
      No, Quebec French is French that “separated” itself from France French and evolved differently, just like US English or Australian English did from UK English, all the South & Central American Spanish languages from Castillan, and basically any other language in the world that became geographically separated from its motherland.
      And no, despite what the Taliban of the French language would like to think Quebec French is as much French as France French is. There isn’t “one true French language” like some people would like to believe, usually people that are completely clueless about linguistics as well as about the history and evolution of languages.

      And for the music, it has nothing to do with “an opening of the throat coming from the language.” It comes from different schools of singing, maybe influence by US styles, but it’s definitely not a language thing.

      Sorry Frenchgirl, but I find you a bit too assertive here and not much of what you are asserting is a fact, just prejudices one hears way too often in France (you even expressed some of the ones I listed in the entry).

  13. Hi to all,

    Respectfully said, it is sad in 2011 to have to explain to people the National identity of Québec people. But let me try.

    1 ) Most of Québec people are of French ethnic descent;

    2) We speak FRENCH, the more Québec people are educated, the more proper or international French they CAN and WILL speak if and when the situation lends itself to it. I speak Québécois with my parents, and I could speak so – called proper French with a French friend; Hell, it could even take place during the same conversation.

    3) Québec traditional culture can certainly be compared to regional French culture in some ways; We still share many French traits. In some regions of Québec there are more ethnic French than in some regions of France. Need I say more ?

    4) However we have absorbed a great deal of the Irish – Catholics influance by reason of the inter-mariages within our respective Catholic communities. We do have an American influence, but then again, Parisians do too !

    5) Québec culture is as lively as Cajun Culture, or so – called Mainstream French culture.

    6) My Chinese friends - who speak different Chinese dialects ( different tones and accents ) - At least some of them prefer the Québécois people’s accent. Not all Québec people speak with a strong accent. But some Parisians or Marseillais do have a stronger accent that a non French person would not favour.

    7) A very good friend of mine is Parisian, and when we meet each other in Hong Kong, we feel more connected than ever. The French connection.

    8 ) French culture is alive and well, partly because of the struggle of the Québec people.

    9 ) I have learned to love and respect the English language, and it does also have its particularities and its regional accents.

    Merci !

    Merci !


    • Hi Yanick,

      I’m not exactly sure who you’re responding to, so I’ll take it for myself. (although I have doubts you’re addressing me, some things you said can’t apply to what I wrote).

      Let’s start by: respectfully said, why exactly is it sad that people around world don’t know much about 7 million people that are not exactly relevant on the international scale?

      You say “national identity of Quebec people”… You mean “Canadian” right, cause last time I checked this was the national identity of Quebec people.

      1) Well… I guess this is at least one thing most people now, don’t they?

      2) Uh… Yes, that too most people know. Actually what most people don’t know is that there are native English speakers in Quebec.
      I’d be curious to know what distinction you make between “Québécois” and “Proper French” though. Also, what do you call “International French”, because last time I checked, that French language didn’t exist.

      3) Well, comparing Quebec culture to a French regional culture is an idea that could be discussed, but I beg to differ. Despite our regional differences, France’s centralism, make it a relatively homogeneous nation culturally speaking (despite all the differences I often mention on this blog). By that I mean, even if there are many differences between the different French regions, they’re all more similar to each other than they are to any country, even a French speaking one.
      As far as ethnicity is concerned, if you think there’s such a thing as a “French ethnicity” you’re gravely mistaken (and a racist? I hope not, I wouldn’t like having those commenting on the blog).

      4) Parisian American influence??? I mean, the US has had an influence on Europe post WW2, but if you think it’s comparable to the US/Anglo-Canadian influence in Quebec, you’re once again gravely mistaken.

      5) For your own sake, I hope for Québec culture to be a bit more lively than Cajun Culture (I know it is). I like you “so-called” in front of “Mainstream French culture”. Although I’m not sure what you mean by that.

      6) Well, accents are a question of taste aren’t they? (and let’s not get started with some Chinese accents, is there a more horrible accent than a strong Cantonese one?

      7) Well, it’s simply normal. When you’re abroad, especially in a very foreign culture, like let’s say the Chinese one, it’s all too natural to feel “naturally” (cough, couch) connected to someone who speaks your language and is from the same cultural background. Nothing new, nor particularly French here.

      8 ) Uh… The only thing I can respond to that is “LOL”.

      9 ) Uh… Yes, English has even more accents and regional differences than French has. For two reasons: more native speakers being the main one, no equivalent to stupid French Academy being the second one.

  14. Firstly, I am an Anglo-Quebecois. I’m pretty sure I exist, or else how else would I be sitting here and typing this response? To group a Quebecois with the rest of Canada (regardless of English or French) isn’t necessarily insulting, but we do prefer to keep our identities separate. Yanick was talking about National Identity of Quebec. Yes, Frenchman, you are right… Quebecois people are NATIONALLY Canadian. But you have to understand (which I think you already do) that Quebec is regarded as a nation within a nation because we speak a different language, because we have different mentalities, because we have a different culture, because we have different values. What makes the national identity of France? C’est la marseillaise, la langue fancaise, le drapeau tri-colors etc. what makes the “national” identity of Quebec? C’est la chanson gens du pays, le francais (or quebecois. I will get into this later), le drapeau. No other province in Canada can list factors similar to that. So, please understand that we do not want to be removed from our culture and placed with the rest of the Americans.

    As for the whole “Is Quebecois a different language from French” debate: I find this debate ridiculous. Yes, Quebecois is French. It is a different dialect. We have different expressions, we have different words, but who are we kidding if we say it is a different language. This brings me to my next topic…

    Just like in France, Quebec has a lot of different accents and dialects (Magoua, Joual etc etc). Obviously, it depends on the region of Quebec you were born in. People from outside Montreal have heavier accents than people that grew up in the urban area. I read a few comments by Canadians/Quebecois mentioning “international” French and “Parisian” French. First of all, Frenchman I will have to agree with you that people need to stop making the association that any French that comes from the east is Parsian French. Although, Frenchman, it seemed like you didn’t understand what Yanick was talking about when he mentioned “international” French. And it’s actually quite funny and amazing this came up. The French I was tought at school is very “clean”, very neutral accent (maybe even leaning towards european french). Being Anglo, my first exposure to French was school. I started school in French, then moved to French immersion and then went to English university. So, the French that I learnt was the French I was tought, right? They probably could have made up a new accent and teach it to us and we would all graduate thinking we were ready to head into the work force with an accent that would make us fit in. Anyway… my whole point is that the way I speak (both accent and vocab) aren’t strongly Quebecois and it isn’t uncommon to find people like me in Montreal. It is to the point that people constantly ask where I’m from (both Quebecois and French) and what is the origin of my accent or if I was from Europe. Anyway… all this to say that I met someone the other week (a Quebecoise) and we were speaking in French and like everyone else asked where I was from and why I spoke with the more european accent. After explaining the school, the profs I had etc etc etc… she stated “so you speak international French”. This was the first time I’ve heard this term, but now that I see it is posted here it seems like it is actually some sort of concept at least.

    This post is getting a little long so I’m just going to make one last point for clarification. So, Frenchman, I think what Yanick meant by international French was that it doesn’t involve a heavy accent that is Quebecois, or French nor does it use slang terms that favours either culture. International French = neutral French?

    And again, it’s a shame that the French group Anglo-Quebecois with the rest of North Americans. What about those that are Anglo simply because they speak it at home, but otherwise speak French in the work force and socially? ie… bilinguals.

  15. I wanted to throw in a little comment about Frenchgirls post. I found the comments in your post rather… weird, for lack of a better term.

    Frenchman, thank you for informing her that the Anglo-saxon thing needed to be dropped immediately.

    “And unfortunately (from a French point of view), Québécquois is a mixture of English and popular Parisian French of the XVIIth Century”…

    This is a French point of view? Very TYPICAL thing to mention. How is Quebecois a mixture of English when we don’t bother saying “weekend” or “shopping” but “la fin de semaine” et “magasiner”. The Quebecois French REFUSES English in it. And it is interesting that a French person would refer to the French of France as Parisian French.

    Anyway, once again… rather weird comments… something isn’t adding up.

  16. Bonjour,

    I wish to say that I cannot give a better reply than my Anglo-Québécois brethren ( I absolutely mean that ). Thank you for your very objective and instructive post Anglo - Québécois.

    The Québécois culture and people is indeed very much lively ( and it includes thankfully the Anglos of Québec, obviously ), and I thank Frenchman for saying that.

    I am not sure that I understand the tone that is employed by Frenchman to reply to my post. I certainly did not mean to offend anyone, and I apologize if I have to you and to your readers.

    I am told that I am a racist. It is not for me to answer that. I have always believed that I am quite open – minded like most Canadian people ( as I am a proud Canadian Citizen, hailing from the French Canadian or Québec Nation ).

    Let’s just say that when I was in Morocco, I was the only French speaking native ( as a Québec Francophone ) who wished to speak Arabic to the local people. ( whereas many French think very little of that culture and great language and region of the world ). Some people also think very little of the Cantonese language and dialect. That is indeed a matter of taste, Monsieur.

    As a Québec person from Montreal, I am part Irish and part French ( my heritage ) and I am part of the Québec Nation, which is as distinct as the Cajun, Acadians etc…. It is very strange that some people including Frenchman would mention the Cajun people expressly but would deny that Québec people as a Nation. What can I say more. We definitely do not seem to be speaking the same language here ( pun intended ).

    French Québec people have long endured a struggle for their survival. Officially many French people admire that …. Officially….. Except Monsieur Frenchman. We can agree that we disagree.

    ( Mon père est de la génération qui a été contrainte de parler en Anglais a Montréal, sur les lieux du travail. C’est assez incroyable si l’on peut encore s’exprimer dans la langue de Molière à mon avis. )

    I will admit, Frenchman that many of your comments are sensible and logical.


    • While I admit my tone may be hard to grasp at times, as tones are generally hard to grasp when “spoken language” is used through a written medium, if you’ve read a little bit of the blog, if you guessed ironic and sarcastic you’d be more often right than wrong.

      I’m not saying you’re a racist, I’m “wondering” (see previous paragraph) if you are one as you seem to be thinking there is such a thing as “French ethnicity”. People who tend to think in terms of ethnicities usually the racists, but not always, indeed. Sometimes you also have the non-racist ones that don’t really know what they’re talking about.

      “It is very strange that some people including Frenchman would mention the Cajun people expressly but would deny that Québec people as a Nation.”

      Hm? Did I mention a Cajun nation somewhere?
      Last time I checked, the Cajun Nation was called the United States of America (and the Québecois Nation was called Canada).

      And sorry, if I don’t “admire the long endured struggle for the Québécois survival” like my fellow citizens do.
      Thing is my fellow citizens don’t know shit about the history of Canada for the most part (they don’t even know when you guys became British subjects), the only reason they “admire” you it’s because they see you as some sort of Astérixes. You know, those French people who are convinced that the English language is invading and is going to destroy the French language (because on top of being clueless in North America history, they also are in history of languages and in linguistics).

      Now, while life was not always fun for the Québécois in the first days they became British subjects, when they still talk about being oppressed today, I’m having a hard time keeping a straight face. (a little bit like the Bretons in France) Last time I checked, it’s the Québécois who always ask for special laws, special treatments, special this, special that. I understand why people from other provinces are pissed at you.

      Seriously, if being Canadian is such a problem for you, secede once and for all, but this constant complaining of being oppressed and still not wanting to play by the same rules as other Canadian citizens has long become old.

      And in your father’s case, I want to say so what? If you work in an English speaking company, it’s all logical you’re required to speak English there, no?

      Seriously, Québécois wouldn’t be so stuck up with their language thing, they’d be more respected and taken more seriously by everyone else, including other Canadians.

  17. Bonjour all,

    Pertaining to the matter of the ethnic French, in my opinion, racism implies that a race is superior, which I absolutely do not think.

    I may have earned Frenchman’s criticism however, I do not think that Frenchman is beyond reproach. i.e. Mocking the Québécois accent is your right and privilege, but you cannot claim that I am intolerant or a biggot.

    For the record, a person whose parents or grand – parents hail from North Africa and Muslims are considered as second class citizens in France, and that is indeed very sad. I have to say that I do believe that they are absolutely French citizens, and I consider them as such.

    The same goes for a Vietnam – born person who’s lived in Québec for decades. They are absolutely welcome in Québec. And we consider them as Québécois. I respect and admire their community a lot. They have helped to build our community, and so did the Jews, Chinese, and so on. Ils sont tous Québécois à mon humble avis. Et l’Anglophone aussi. Montreal is the coolest place to be ( a matter of taste obviously ) because of these vibrant communities.

    If you have to take issue of my comment as ethnic French, I again confess that the term may be ill-chosen. Yet, it is a sociological term being used for all intents and purposes and it was ill – used by many including racial theorist De Gobineau ( who was a Frenchman, and we’d had some idiots of sorts in Québec and elsewhere in the world ). I strongly despise and condemn such use, and I should know better. I was not referring to the meaning rendered by the Gobineau, rest assured about that.

    To be sure, I will also say that – as a matter of taste – I absolutely love and enjoy French culture, as well as their accents. Some of us québécois may have a strong accent, just as any guy from Texas or Tennessee I suppose ( I love the accent from the South btw ). Yet we have a very vibrant French culture and heritage. ( which may open yet another debate ).

    I thank you in advance for being elegant if you propose that you do not like the Québec accent, please understand my discomfort and the humiliation that I feel about the way that you express it.

    As we say in French, sans rancunes ( no hard feelings )


    • Concerning “French ethnicity” yes, the term is ill-advised for two reasons.
      1. There is no such a thing as French ethnicity (what would it be? descendants of the Germanic tribes? Not very French. From the Romans? Still not French. The Gauls? Didn’t they originally come from Eastern Europe?
      Who then? The Basques? Rumor has it that they are the descendants of the original people who lived here… Not mentioning the fact that nobody knows who was their ancestor (although the Basque tend to be quite hairy, maybe that’s a sign of something, but what?) See what I mean?
      Let’s take my personal case, I am what some people would call “a ethnic French” Am I? Wait, one of my grandmother was Flemish (but French), the other one was Alsatian (in other words German), my last name is Catalan (although I have no known Catalan ancestors) and recently a Sicilian ancestor was found in the Flemish branch of my family (which is probably only Flemish by last name, as most of the people in that branch were not Flemish at all).
      In many ways, I’m a very typical French.
      See why terms like “French descent” and “French ethnicity” make me laugh for the first one and cringe for the second one.

      The other thing. What I really think of Québécois.
      First if you have read this blog a little, you have understood that me mocking things as often as I can is a big part of what this blog is about (the second biggest part after answering questions about France). You don’t like it? Well, you don’t have to stay.
      But because you seem like a nice guy and I may have offended you more or less and I don’t like to offend nice people, here is what I really think of the Québécois people:
      -I don’t care about the Québécois as a “people”.
      -I judge people on their individual traits, not their descent, ethnicity and whatnot.
      -Yes I find strong Québécois accents funny. I can’t help it, I’m not trying to be mean, this is just the way they sound to me. Actually, I’m trying to be nice when a person with such an accent speaks to me, because you don’t know to what length I go to not laugh at times, because I don’t want to offend them. Consider yourself lucky, I could have considered this accent to be horrid and painful to my ears (like some French accents, Picard anyone?), I don’t.
      -Yes, I find the whole “we’re oppressed by the other Canadians” a bit tiresome (just like the Bretons, the Basques and the Corsicans in France). Either secede or accept the fact that you’re a Canadian, but quit whining.
      -The Brits were mean to you 200 or so ago? That was two hundred fucking years or so ago for God’s sake! Get over it!
      -You have to speak English at times? Fucking big deal, you should be happy to be bilingual.
      -Why on Earth do you have to send us all of your most annoying singers all the time?

      That’s it, you have it, this is what I really thing of Québécois.

  18. Bonjour Frenchman,

    Thanks for your reply. It is true that this blog is yours to express yourself how you see fit.

    If I’d chosen to write on it, it is because I consider that you have a way with words, and it shows that you are a well - read individual.

    For now I will just say that I never contended that I am wholeheartedly for the separation of Québec. I really respect Canada as a country, as my country, I am, for one am very proud of my dual identity. I do not see any contradiction between the two. I will respect my people if they chose this way, which would not be my personal choice.

    Secondly, I respect - a lot - British people, and I feel provileged to have a Parliamentary system in Canada which stems from our being colonized by the British. I love their culture and their accent also.

    But I am damn proud to be a Québécois. And all of my international friends have this common trait of being proud of who they are, and their identity and what they stand for. It stands for a rich cultural diversity.

    I also would like to stress that I love the English language more and more, and feel great pride in being able to read Balzac and the Economist in the same time and day.

    You do have great points, but my living in Asia may perhaps mean that I am not used to this quite straightforward way. It would be consider as a terrible loss of face here.

    I have not much to say if my accent makes you laugh.

    Merci à vous de m’avoir publié sur ce blog.


  19. Bonjour to you yet again Frenchman

    all of this talk about regional accents has made me thought about a story i wish to share with you and your readers.

    That of a girl from Quebec that was making tasteless comments about the French. And French guys in particular.

    she had just come back from a trip to France. I have to say that i did not find her comments to be particularly funny in any way. And neither did our French colleague here in Quebec.

    Think what you will but your comment on this blog about the Quebec accent is also saddening.

    That is all that i had to say.


    • Dude,
      I think you need to chill out a little bit. You seem more and more constipated.

      (also what’s the point of telling us she made tasteless comments if you don’t tell us what comments?)

  20. Dude ?

    Chill ?

    Perhaps if you got to know me, you would not write that way to me. In French, we usually use vous to refer to someone that we do not know. In Québec we tutoie ( informal you ) much more freely than in France. And we are way less formal than French people. I’ve got no lessons to learn from you in this respect, mon pote ( dude ).

    As as was referring to that girl’s comments, she referred to French guys in ways that I find offensive and demeaning. I chose not to report the comments and words that she used out of respect for my good French friends.

    I chose to tell you this event, as she - just like you - made fun of some traits, the accent of French people. Although she is a very smart and a very capable person ( and pretty too ) she was not lady - like, so to speak.

    If to be elegant means to be constipated, then so be it.


    • Sorry if I’m too informal to you (you’re not Laurent Jauffrin are you? Mmmm… Not sure if anybody will get the joke…)
      But please, note that we’re not speaking French right now, and that American English is pretty informal (and I am a pretty informal person anyway.
      And while I admit that it was a bit too informal (note that my goal there was for you to “chill out” a little bit, hence the more informal tone), I’m sure getting to you know would make me more informal to you, not less (as you seem to imply).
      Oh well.

  21. Bon Dieu! Mais taisez-vous.. arrêtez de vous chicaner. Je pense qu’on a tous besoin un petit verre de vin (ou deux). These comments aren’t even constructive anymore. I think it is time for this post to leave this post alone for a bit.

    • What? You don’t like our conversation? Yeah, you’re right, it may be boring when you’re not involved.

  22. Ohhh tu fous la merde hehe. This is now turning into a post about how the french LOVE to argue. Look up you’ll I was involved earlier but dropped the discussion. Anyway… Carry on and enjoy. À plus!

  23. And please understand my ‘taisez-vous’ c’est pour rigoler.

  24. Cheers

  25. I may be a Franco-Québécois but I guess I got the French genes i.e. Love to argue.

    The main topic being about music, I’d just say that in Québec ( just like elsewhere ) we have different styles, that suit all people.

    Québec folk sounds a lot like Irish Music ( but in French Québec patois ) because of the heavy metissage ( mix ) with Irich catholics. Maybe also because some of us were from Bretagne ( where my first name hails from ), or others from Normandy….

    Our accent derives much from these regional Patois ( this is documented by workks from the 19th Century ) at least until the 1850′s.

    We also got pop music, rock music and the like. Many of our singers of musicians are famous in France, so much is true. Some of these singers or artists made great contributions to French music such as Robert Charlebois, Luc Plamondon, more recently Coeur de Pirate, les Cowboys Fringants, and the list goes on and on. Some I like, some I don’t like, that, is really a question of taste.

    I am a very big fan ( en Québécois on dit un fan fini ) of Québec music, as well as French music, and movies, etc….

    However, my favourite musician of all time is French: Alain Bashung whom I consider a musical genious ( along with The Doors but that is another story ).

    Québec people have also influenced in their own way the American way of life and litterature. The famous beat poet Jack Kerouack is French Canadian on his father and his mother’s side. On u - tube you can even watch him speak French with a heavy French - Canadian accent ( his parents were ouvriers, or workers ).

    Voilà !

  26. I see that I have arrived rather late to the conversation, but as a native of France happily living in Montreal for the past 5 years I will add my two cents nonetheless.

    1. In regards to the accent, it was rather shocking to the ears for the first few months but I quickly grew accustomed to it. I have even come to enjoy the softer Quebec accent which many Montrealers use when they realize I am not a local (the extremely rough accent which is often heard in the countryside is not so pleasant, but I at least now understand it). Also, the language is French, there is no denying it, a different dialect to be sure, but certainly French. For any english people reading this, I would kind of compare the difference to the Canadian English accent vs. the East London or Liverpool English accent.

    2. The culture is not really French in the sense that I am used to back home, but it very unique and enjoyable, certainly very different than “American” culture.

    3. The music; much of the popular music is terrible, much of the lesser known music is great.

    4. As for attitudes towards French people from across the Atlantic; much better than I expected. Me and my friends have back and forth jokes with regards to eachother’s accent, but overall they seem to quite like our kind here. Another quick note, I am white, but I have noticed that the attitudes towards French speaking people of African/Middle Eastern descent is much friendlier than in France.

    5. Attitudes towards other Canadians; Most Quebecers have no problem with the rest of Canada, they just want to make sure their language lives on. It seems to always be the small Anglo/Canada hating minority which grabs all the headlines in France or the rest of Canada.

    6. To clear up any confusion from the previous posts, to Quebecers, any French that is not local is considered Parisian French or International French. For example, in peoples’ minds a guy from Senegal speaks “Parisian French”.

    Thanks for reading. Have a good day everyone.

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