Parlez-vous quebecois?

No, not so much.

I am off to the Great White North on Tuesday for a conference followed by some Staying Around and Sightseeing. Youpi! So far I have made all of my Montreal hotel reservations in English. I am a-feared of the Quebecois French. I'm afraid of all their funny ways of saying things and their different accent and their reputation for looking down on French-from-France and for speaking perfect accentless English to people who try to speak French to them.

I was telling someone at dinner that I might just chicken out and try to pass myself off as an American Who Speaks No French, but then I mentioned the Palais du Congrès convention center and realized that I'd already given myself away and I should be training to pronounce it pal-ace de con-gress. I am a fraud and shall be revealed as such!

Sorry, Quebecers.

srah - Saturday, 20 May 2006 - 12:24 PM
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Comments (6)

gravatar Your ARWYDK - May 20, 2006 - 12:56 PM -

For entertainment, try to figure out how they decide to address a stranger in French or English. Sometimes it's obvious: in a neighborhood place in the west end of the island, you'll hear English, in the East End, French. But in common territory it gets very subtle.

gravatar srah - May 20, 2006 - 1:00 PM -

So far my phone conversations have started along the lines of "Hôtel X, bonjour, how can I help you?"

gravatar Your ARWYDK - May 22, 2006 - 8:18 AM -

Other attractions: the mountain-in-the-middle-of-the-city that gives the place its name (originally landscaped by Frederick Law Olmsted of Central Park fame), the twin Japanese and Chinese gardens at the Botanical Garden (and the Insectarium, if you're into that kind of thing), the Rue St.-Denis/Plateau area east of the mountain (an incredible urban neighborhood in anyone's book, with an amazing variety of generally cheap places to eat). Hint: many restaurants do not have alcohol--buy wine in a liquor store and they will uncork it for you.

gravatar senatorhung - May 22, 2006 - 11:46 PM -

i find that as long as you look like you're going about your daily business, and don't look like a tourist, you can usually get by with grunting and nodding. letting the other person decide whether to communicate in english / french can be a good way to tell what area of town you're in, but is also really dependent on what's being sold in the particular shop. no one will give you extra credit for speaking french, but you shouldn't hesitate to use whatever language works best at the time.

if you like sushi, i recommend 'nagoya', just around the corner from the notre dame cathedral. ex centris has the best francophone films and the cinema du parc has the best indie selection. a walk along mont-royal street is also fun, with lots of neat little fashion and specialty shops, my fave being 'image in', a theatrical supplies outlet (corner of mont-royal and st-laurent).

have fun !

gravatar Stephen - May 23, 2006 - 12:00 PM -

Don't worry about your French in Montreal. Most Quebecois enjoy the Parisian accent from time to time. Take advantage of the opportunity to hear a new accent (and to try it out if you're so brave...).
A common response in Quebec to 'ça va' is 'pas pire'.

gravatar Amanda Clark - May 31, 2006 - 8:36 AM -

oui, un peu. Je suis etudie pour cinq ans.
I don't know if that makes any sense but I studies french for 5 years in school. I only got one more day left of it!!!!yay!!! well it's not that bad, it's interesting but it's a lot of work

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