Understanding Québécois French

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the Québécois accent in French. It is charming. It is also rather difficult to understand if you’re only used to school French. Speaking French and not being able to understand Québécois French is a shame; it’s like speaking American English and not being able to understand a British or an Australian accent. Apart from not understanding much when visiting French-speaking Canada, you’re also missing out on a lot of great movies.

I’d love to have a slight Québécois accent myself, but I can understand if you prefer a different accent. What I do recommend to anyone is to be able to understand all kinds of French accents – not just the textbook Parisian accent, but also Québécois, Belgian French, even French as it’s spoken in Africa, why not. We can understand a wide variety of English accents and I don’t see why French should be any different, considering it’s also an international language spoken on all 5 continents.

If you wanted to improve your understanding of Québécois French, so far you had to just keep watching Québécois TV programs and hope to absorb some of it. There were a few phrasebooks for tourists, a few dictionaries of Québécois slang, but nothing that would systematically teach you to understand Québécois. Now, I’m very happy that my friend Alexandre Coutu published the first ever course for it, titled “Le québécois en 10 leçons”.

“Le québécois en 10 leçons” covers a broad span of material: pronunciation differences, grammatical differences and several hundred uniquely Québécois terms and expressions. What really makes it stand out from all other textbooks I’ve seen – independent of language – is the awesome humour in the dialogs, and the fact that there are recordings for every single sentence, not just the dialogs, but also the example sentences and even the exercise solutions are recorded. This really helps you get used to the Québécois accent. And the best thing is that you don’t have to buy a set of CDs, you can legally download all these recordings for free off the internet, put them on your iPod and listen to them wherever you go.

I was lucky to be Alexandre’s guinea pig for this course and I can tell you that it’s a masterpiece. I wish all my language courses were like this. See the first lesson for free.

So, learn to understand Québécois; it’s highly recommended. Get your copy of “Le québécois en 10 leçons” here.