(asked by Katie from… I guess Canada)


I’d be interested to know how the French view Canadians…and if they can they tell the difference between Canadians and Americans?


Well Katie,

First of all, click on the link to get a little reminder about what the French think of Québécois (that’s “French Canadian” in English, even though they’re not French, they just speak the language).

Now concerning “English-speaking Canadians” or Canadians as they’re called in English, it’s going to be an easy answer really.

The French think that Canadians are Americans with less guns and more ice hockey, and if there are no guns nor ice hockey involved, they can’t tell the difference between both.

The good thing is that there are no jokes about Canadians in France.

The bad thing, is that you don’t really “count” in the eyes of the French.

I guess I don’t have much more to add (I’m sure some commenters will).


Oh and they have the Mountie too, I almost forgot about the Mountie.


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  8 Responses to “How do the French view Canadians? Can they tell the difference between Canadians and Americans?”

  1. Hello Katie,

    I think (we) the French make a difference between “English-speaking Canadians” and “French-speaking Canadians”. The first ones are seen like Americans, with the same origins, culture, way of life etc. Whereas the second ones are seen like French with an american way of life but with the same cultural and political opposition towards Americans.

    But, as a whole, “Canadians” are seen like Americans without the bad sides of Americans : Canadians live in the nature, they are peace-loving, they let us having some peace and quiet…

  2. Oh dear! Do they really think we are as right-wing and religious as Americans? No, please no….

    Ahem, the last time I checked, French-speaking Canadians were “Canadians” too. The term actually applied to them first, in fact. The Anglos joined in the party afterwards.
    (Not all of them are Québecois either…I know you know that, I’m just saying! And we usually say “francophone” these days instead of French-Canadian.)

    • The trick is that the French don’t realize how screwed up American religion and politics is. Their hear the news, but most of them don’t really comprehend the context, the background and those things.

      Yes, Québécois are Canadians, but last time I talked with one (oh wait, this was on this blog ;-) ) I had doubts they considered themselves as such. I “excluded” them from my answer here because I already delt with them in that previous topic. And you Anglophone Canadians say “Francophone” but do you think that Americans know that word? Most of them don’t, and some even think that “French Canadians” are Canadians that are also French. :-)

  3. I’m American and I can add that Americans consider Québécois to be Canadians who speak just happen to speak French. I’ve been to Quebec and I understand this is not how they see themselves. And I’ve never heard any American use the term Francophone ever.

  4. For french people there are clearly two kinds of Canadians. The French-speaking Canadians (to who we refer as Quebecers even if all of them are not necessary from Quebec). In France we have a lot of contacts with Quebecer celebrities that come to french public to increase they audience (and inversely most french singers or celebrities are famous in Quebec)… singers, humorists, etc. Most of them usually insist for being Quebecers, and not Canadians (even if they are, legally speaking at least)

    We usually see Qubecers (or french canadians) as somehow intermediary between our french culture and north American Anglo-Saxon culture. We usually feel closer to them because we speak the same language and communicate easily. We have a lot of commun cultural references, despite many strong differences. They are seem as some sort of cousins that have the same cultural roots as us, but who live in a compeltly different world. very similar and very different at once.

    As for English-speaking Canadians, well, we don’t make a big difference with Americans. We don’t notice any differences in dress, accents, behaviours or looks. Well we see English Canadians as Anglo-Americans. English Canada is seen as culturally very close to the US, but with a more peacefull image (without the violent image often associated with the USA, and without the political association with some negative former presidents).

  5. This is a little pedantic, but “Quebecois” is “Quebecer” in English. “French Canadian” includes natives of the various (and, admittedly, generally small) Francophone communities scattered throughout the country.

    • Well, I want to say it’s all a question of perspective and of what English you use.
      While I learned the term “Quebecker” (that spelling) in college in France, my Canadian civilization teacher there used the term “Québécois” even when speaking English (and if I remember correctly she was a Francophone Canadian from British Columbia).
      Once in the US, I started using both terms, but nobody understood me and I quickly found out that in US English, people living in Quebec and speaking French are called “French Canadians” and I don’t think there’s a term for Francophone Canadians out of Quebec, maybe they’re also bundled up as “French Canadian”.

      But the main point here is that not only I have never heard “Quebecer” in US English, no American I have used it with understood me either (except those with ties to Quebec, of course)

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