Do you speak American French?

Do you speak French ? Yes ? So, no major linguistic problem to stay in Quebec and in the Canadian provinces and territories where one speaks in the language of Molière.

However, it is better to know the meaning of certain words and expressions that are specific to these North Americans whose ancestors came from France a few centuries ago. This meaning can be appreciably different and cause misunderstandings… sometimes very funny if you and your interlocutor are not complaining. offers you here a small non-exhaustive lexicon which will be very useful to you during your walks. Pull up a log and read ... American French, it's neither mingling, nor platte: it looks and it's cute!

What American French is made of ...

The official language of Quebec has been French since the end of the 1970s. This was one of the achievements obtained by defenders of the uniqueness of this province of Canada. However, Anglophones have retained the right to express themselves in their language, as have First Nations.

If English words are widely used in everyday life, many of them have been systematically translated into French, which always surprises French-speaking Europeans who have integrated them into their vocabulary. Logically, in Quebec, a stop sign is a stop, a parking lot a parking lot, a weekend a weekend… Terms have also been invented. Thus e-mail has evolved into e-mail, which has been adopted in France.

Another originality of American French is that it has retained influences from the regional dialects of the west coast of France, where many settlers came from and settled in America from the 16th century, in Canada and in Louisiana, a vast central territory of the current United States, which extended as far as New Orleans in the vicinity of which the Cajun dialect persists.

European French, the proximity of American English, the native languages ​​and the creativity of the citizens of the former New France for centuries: all this constitutes a variant of the French language served, as we know, by one or more accents also apart, sometimes difficult to understand, especially if the interlocutor speaks in a popular form such as joual. Don't force yourself to imitate these accents. Being ridiculous is a phrase valid on both sides of the Atlantic ...

A little lexicon to learn about American French

The typical words or expressions of American French are sometimes immediately understandable, as long as one has a quick mind, sometimes disconcerting for the speaker of French, Belgian or Swiss origin: beware of false friends!

Love, marivauding
- Pissette bowl: tease
- Accoté: when you live in cohabitation
- Beak: kiss
- Blonde: girlfriend
- Chum: boyfriend
- Crouser: flirt
- She is fine: she is kind
- Fall in love: fall in love

To drink and to eat
- Peanut butter: peanut butter
- Corn, corn
- Beverage: non-alcoholic drink
- It's on my arm: it's my tour
- Soft cream: Italian ice cream
- Lunch: breakfast
- Dinner: lunch
- Juice: fruit juice
- Supper: dinner

- Accommodate: render service
- Having a headache: being in a hurry
- To have misery: to have difficulty
- To have fire in the ass: to be very angry
- Have a face to spank in it: be unfriendly
- Hot: drunk
- Chaudasse: tipsy
- Chialeux: grumpy
- Sleep on gas: be slow
- Sitting on your steak: hanging out
- Shopping: shopping
- Lies: lies
- Fool: to make fun
- Foolish: stupid, easy to do
- Fuck a tick, get on your nerves: get excited
- Jerking off in the handle: hesitate
- Pull a log: sit down
- Dry teeth: smile
- Tanning: tiring

- Dairy bar, dairy: ice cream parlor
- Song box: cabaret
- Bathroom: bathroom
- Convenience store: neighborhood grocery store
- Dining room: restaurant
- Shower room, bécosses: toilets
- Showroom: showroom
- Bowling alley, quillodrome: bowling
- Tobacco store: tobacco shop

Objects and clothing
- Barniques: glasses
- Bottom: socks
- Bobettes: slip
- Cannes: preserves
- Helmet: hat
- Sweater: sweater
- Cauldron: saucepan
- Gougounes: flip flops, slippers
- Pamphlet: brochure
- Nib: pen
- Ruine-chops: harmonica
- Toque: beanie
- Utensils: cutlery

- See you again: goodbye
- Hello
- Welcome: you're welcome
- Hello: hello or goodbye
- It's my pleasure: please

On the road
- Bicycle: bicycle
- Gas bicycle: motorcycle
- Tank: car
- Plow: snow plow
- Heat in the dark: drive at night
- Congestion: traffic jam
- Hitchhiking: hitchhiking
- Light: traffic light
- Reverse, reverse: reverse
- Trailer: caravan, motorhome
- Tank or tread your tank, or gas: fill up with gasoline
- MTB: quad

- Time: now
- Also worse: bad
- It costs free: it's free
- It's okay: it's okay
- It's a lot of value: it's sad
- It's cute: it's cute
- It's expensive: it's expensive
- It's dull, it's flat: it's boring
- It's fun: it's nice, funny
- It's confusing: it's complicated
- Kids: testicles
- Icitte: here
- Free: offered
- Pantoute: not at all
- Party: party
- Coronations: blasphemous swear words like tabarnac, ciborium, chalice, host ...
- Earlier: later
- Toune: song
- Wet there: it's raining

New Brunswick chiac, another form of American French

New Brunswick is a province of Canada bordering Quebec. It is the only one to be officially bilingual, French and English (majority).

The Acadian language, from the old name of the province, Acadia, is close to that practiced in Quebec.

Chiac is a slang used by young people. It has the particularity of remaining French in its syntax, while integrating a number of English words and expressions in addition to those that are common among French-speaking Canadians.

It's a bit hard for the uninitiated to understand!

Some expressions in chiac!

- It feels good: it feels good
- It's going to be right dla fun: it's going to be very good
- It's my ride: it's my turn
- I have to slow down: I have to slow down
- He talks about his love affair: he talks about his love story
- I crossed the street: I crossed the street
- I parked my tank: I parked my car
- I keep it: I keep it
- I come right back: I come back quickly
- If you don't agree: if you don't agree
- Watcher a movie: watch a movie
- Way smoother: more smoothly

The large terminological dictionary (GDT) of the Office québécois de la langue française:

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Audio Video Do you speak American French?
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