Les Simpson
August 7, 2019 6:46 AM   Subscribe

So, each episode of the Simpsons is dubbed into two different versions for French markets. There's a Quebec French version, and a France French version. Fans of the Quebec dub hate the European dub, and vice versa.

More info here. The Québecois/French divide has been the subject of at least one PhD thesis.
posted by Orange Pamplemousse (71 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
...whereas English-speakers must satisfy themselves with the original rude dialect.
posted by pompomtom at 6:50 AM on August 7 [2 favorites]


I used to go to French night school, and the teacher (who was from Toulouse) seemed to be a bit obsessed when the audio teaching materials had speakers with Québécois accents. Probably some kind of back story there.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 6:54 AM on August 7


From that first clip, it feels like the French version captures the sing-songy, mocking cadence of Homer's voice. The Quebecois version just feels gruff and aggressive.

The localization bits though seem to favor the Quebecois, and I'm glad we got some Steamed Hams in there.
posted by explosion at 7:09 AM on August 7


I took French Immersion in Atlantic Canada for six years and only one of my teachers in that time spoke French from childhood, and all our teaching material used clearly enunciated newscaster-type voices. Quebecois Homer is the reason I can understand anyone's accent when I visit Quebec.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:09 AM on August 7 [3 favorites]


Give 'em a break! Québécois split from mainland French around 400 years ago. Imagine how we would feel about having The Simpsons dubbed by cockneys or posh Londoners.
posted by ubiquity at 7:13 AM on August 7 [10 favorites]


There are two Spanish versions of "Los Simpson", they are also very different from each other.
posted by Harpocrates at 7:13 AM on August 7 [6 favorites]


Imagine how we would feel about having The Simpsons dubbed by cockneys or posh Londoners.

Can I slog off school tomorra? Gotta pain in me gullivah!
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:16 AM on August 7 [22 favorites]


Ham Vapeurs
posted by bondcliff at 7:18 AM on August 7 [10 favorites]


> Imagine how we would feel about having The Simpsons dubbed by cockneys or posh Londoners.

Sure, man! This is why they don't replace Britishisms in the US editions of the Harry Potter books with American-sounding bits.
posted by ardgedee at 7:18 AM on August 7 [4 favorites]


There's dialects within Canadian French as well. When we (here in New Brunswick) set up an interactive voice response system, we had to locate a native French speaker from New Brunswick, not Quebec. I know a few - I'll ask them what they think of the Quebec Simpsons.
posted by Mogur at 7:21 AM on August 7 [2 favorites]


Well, there's British and then there's British.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:24 AM on August 7 [2 favorites]


As noted in the PhD thesis, The Flintstones was also dubbed in both Quebec and France. As was King of the Hill. While in Quebec version of the Simpsons, the action stays in Springfield, the Flintstones took place in Saint-Granite while King of the Hill was located in Sainte-Irène (a bit galling given how Texas-specific King of the Hill is).
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 7:25 AM on August 7 [4 favorites]


This is why they don't replace Britishisms in the US editions of the Harry Potter books with American-sounding bits.

But they did though?

Was that your point?
posted by Secret Sparrow at 7:26 AM on August 7 [4 favorites]


(Disclaimer French Canadian but not from Quebec)

They sound completely different and I do prefer the Quebec version which is much more in the spirit of the Simpsons I think (they'd totally be speaking joual vs like they just stepped out of a Chabrol film). And funnier. Like the Jonquière vs Alma jokes which have me ROLMAO, but YMMV. But this extends to other things as well as dubbing of other language media in French is pretty common. Like there's certain voices I just prefer over their Euro counterparts.

For a similar Quebec Joual vs European French differences check out this: Tintin in Coke en Stock vs Colocs en Stock (that's Red Sea Sharks for the Anglais).
posted by Ashwagandha at 7:28 AM on August 7 [6 favorites]


The Québécois version really coarsens the Simpsons, turning them into something closer to a working-class kitchen-sink sit com.

Still, one must commend their dubbing ingenuity: “Classic episode, season 1's "The Crepes of Wrath", Bart goes to France and foils an antifreeze wine scam by learning French. There's no way to dub around it being some other language Bart learns, it's very clearly France. Seems impossible to translate into French, right? In the Quebec dub, Bart starts speaking to the French police officer in Quebecois slang, and can't be understood. (Bart: "I thought they spoke French in France"). It's only when he learns to talk like a stereotypical Parisian that he can get through to the cop. Perfection.” (w/video)
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:48 AM on August 7 [12 favorites]


Yup. I work for a medical device company; we would have lost huge sales if we did not adapt our French display screens for Canada.

Sure, man! This is why they don't replace Britishisms in the US editions of the Harry Potter books with American-sounding bits.

IIRC, there was a huge flap when they wanted to Americanize the novel "Trainspotting," and they wound up just adding a Scottish glossary at the end instead.
posted by Melismata at 7:54 AM on August 7 [1 favorite]


> Was that your point?

image
posted by ardgedee at 7:59 AM on August 7 [13 favorites]


My friend's first language is French (Quebec). She was speaking with a Parisienne lady one day (in Montreal!) and the lady said to her "Your French is so good! Keep practicing!" Meanwhile, this friend's mom was in Paris one time speaking French (also her first language) and everyone kept assuming she was from England.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 8:08 AM on August 7 [5 favorites]


Sainte-Irène (a bit galling

I see what you did there.
posted by condour75 at 8:15 AM on August 7 [8 favorites]


I really wish that the various dubs were available for legal streaming in the U.S., because it seems like it would be a good study aid to listen to shows where I know the plot (and the original dialogue) well. Apparently, they're included on the DVDs, but I don't really have space for the DVDs in my apartment.
posted by thecaddy at 8:20 AM on August 7 [1 favorite]


It's a bit jarring to hear the American narrator on Good Omens, because the dialogue is so obviously British. Self-aware prose is not typically an American thing.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:28 AM on August 7 [5 favorites]


one must commend their dubbing ingenuity

That's sort of a thing Quebec (and the rest of French Canada) is good at I think. It likely stems from speaking a dialect different enough from the mother tongue and being surrounded by people who speak another language. Check out this 80's commercial for St. Hubert's (which is a rotisserie chicken chain that is enormously popular in Quebec). The point of the commercial is a Texan comes up to Quebec and loves the chicken so much that he wants to buy the company (which is now ironic as it was bought a few years ago by Swiss Chalet) but check his accent - the actor is really laying the Texan accent on thick as he speaks French (which is the joke).

When we (here in New Brunswick) set up an interactive voice response system, we had to locate a native French speaker from New Brunswick, not Quebec.

Then there's the difference between Northern New Brunswickers and Southern New Brunswickers! For an example of chiac alongside a Quebec accent I always use this youtube clip.
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:30 AM on August 7 [5 favorites]


It's a bit jarring to hear the American narrator on Good Omens, because the dialogue is so obviously British.

Pfft. Everybody knows God is American.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:38 AM on August 7 [4 favorites]


Honest question: is the average French person really unable to recognize a French Canadian accent? Or is it just rudeness? Seems like a distinct - and common enough - accent that I'd assume Parisians would at least recognize it, but I always hear stories of French Canadians being assumed to be FSL speakers.
posted by weed donkey at 8:47 AM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Oh gawd that Texan-English accent on the French grates my ears...... nails on chalkboard
posted by St. Peepsburg at 8:49 AM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Oh completely! It is the worst! That actor actually speaks French well btw (he's an Anglo but lives in Quebec).
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:57 AM on August 7


When I was working at the Banff Centre for the Arts there was a French woman in the sound program with me. One day we were in the staff cafeteria and there was our table, and a table full of Quebecois across the room.

Hannelore looks to the Anglophones at our table and asks:
"Excuse me...what language are zay speaking?"
Anglophones: "French"
Hannelore: "No zay are not...."
posted by aloiv2 at 8:59 AM on August 7


average French person really unable to recognize a French Canadian accent?

I have European French friend who, as her job, translates Quebec French into European French and vice versa for professionals. It is a very common problem. And as a bit of anecdata, when I went to school with European French speakers I got made fun of all the time for my accent. Even from the Belgians! THE BELGIANS!
posted by Ashwagandha at 9:06 AM on August 7 [7 favorites]


In the French spy comedy Au service de la France, there are a couple of French-Canadian spies that turn up. The French are disconcerted by these people who speak something very like French but which that can't understand. On the other hand, the Canadians are bewildered by the fact that these people who they understand perfectly can't understand them. I asked a French colleague about this, and she said it was true - she says she has Quebequois friends who switch between a French she can understand and one she can't.
posted by Grangousier at 9:07 AM on August 7 [4 favorites]


A few years ago I was in a Montreal hotel room and caught a bit of the Simpsons where the kids are in French class and laugh, and then are told to laugh "en français". I was very curious how they would handle that translation... but whereas in the original English the second laugh is a stereotypical chortle, in the Quebec French version they just... laughed a second time.
posted by Gortuk at 9:10 AM on August 7 [10 favorites]


The French are notoriously snobby towards Québécois. There is a wave of young French immigrants working in Montreal whose accents drive my Québécoise partner to distraction. To her ear it is unbearably twee.
posted by Jode at 9:13 AM on August 7 [7 favorites]


but whereas in the original English the second laugh is a stereotypical chortle, in the Quebec French version they just... laughed a second time.

I was wondering exactly this and now I am very dissapointed.
posted by sjswitzer at 9:18 AM on August 7 [1 favorite]


And in turn the Québécois are snobby, in my experience living there and working in French, to all the other French speakers in Canada. One of the few places I've experienced prejudice for being French Canadian in Canada was in Quebec from other French speakers.
posted by Ashwagandha at 9:18 AM on August 7 [3 favorites]


is the average French person really unable to recognize a French Canadian accent? Or is it just rudeness?

Assuming you're an American with a midwestern-ish accent, and just staying with regional American accents, how well would you understand a Cajun accent? An Eastern Shore of Maryland accent? A Tangiers Island, NC accent?
posted by hanov3r at 9:20 AM on August 7 [3 favorites]


This is a derail, but for reference BBC America has started occasionally subtitling this season of Top Gear with Freddie Flintoff and Paddy McGuinness.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 9:25 AM on August 7


Assuming you're an American with a midwestern-ish accent, and just staying with regional American accents, how well would you understand a Cajun accent? An Eastern Shore of Maryland accent? A Tangiers Island, NC accent?

It's not that they don't understand it, it's that they think the person has learned French as a second language.

It doesn't surprise me that much, because the French spoken in France is still considered the dominant form of the language, but (for example) the English spoken in Britain is not. There are about 75 million native speakers of French and 60 million of them live in France.
posted by Automocar at 9:31 AM on August 7


A good friend of mine did French-immersion from early elementary school up through high school, and somehow - even though we're in Ontario, all of a 2 hour drive from the Quebec border - all of his teachers spoke France-French instead of Québécois-French. He wound up a bit... snobby... about the Québécois accent as a result. So of course I had to send him this video. His reaction:
"Ugh, the Québécois dub..."

[Sideshow_Bob_cringe.gif]
My French teachers were a hodgepodge (one was Australian!) so I find his snobbery odd and enjoy needling him over it.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 9:54 AM on August 7 [4 favorites]


she says she has Quebequois friends who switch between a French she can understand and one she can't. (This - two mothers of my kid’s classmates are French, one Tunisian and one Limoges, and we speak German to one another.) The only place in France I have not gotten second looks for my accent is Normandy.
A slight detour but I came across this the other day and found it hilarious: comedian Laurent Paquin on Quebec/France expressions.
posted by From Bklyn at 10:12 AM on August 7 [2 favorites]


Honest question: is the average French person really unable to recognize a French Canadian accent? Or is it just rudeness? Seems like a distinct - and common enough - accent that I'd assume Parisians would at least recognize it

I was in Paris once visiting a Canadian friend having a sabbatical there who spoke perfect French, but of course Quebecois. For some reason the waiters and such felt compelled to compliment her on her fluency. It was weird. It may have helped that she was a gorgeous severe blonde.

(Me, I just pretended they weren't laughing at my pronounciation of "saignant.")
posted by praemunire at 10:27 AM on August 7


WRT American accents, I used to work telephone reference at the main library in Memphis, and the range of accents that I'd encounter was astonishing, ranging from less of a southern accent than me (I come from central Illinois, which still has traces of the Kentucky hill country twang of the people who moved there after statehood; Abraham Lincoln also had it) to almost incomprehensible; even when they spelled out words, it was difficult to understand them--the letter R was pronounced somewhat like "aura."
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:49 AM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Assuming you're an American with a midwestern-ish accent, and just staying with regional American accents, how well would you understand a Cajun accent? An Eastern Shore of Maryland accent? A Tangiers Island, NC accent?

This is obviously a problem for English speakers. At one time HP support had call centres in India and Houston (maybe they still do). You'd call them and it would be 50-50 which you'd get.
Despite the angst on the web about outsourcing at the time I much preferred to get the Indian call centre as they had a much more understandable, to me, accent. Maybe because of the large Indian immigrant population here in BC.
posted by Mitheral at 11:05 AM on August 7


I want to learn Picardi or Occitain specifically for the purpose of annoying people in Paris. I don't think it's an affectation, but (speaking from experience) I can say that people make assumptions about whether they can understand you based on accent and appearance, and then their brains oblige them by refusing to understand.
posted by 1adam12 at 11:26 AM on August 7 [3 favorites]


Quebecois here who frequently travels to France. In fact, I've been there twice in the last month or so (Paris and Normandy this time, but I've also spent a fair amount of time in the south of France).

To be blunt, some of the French view us as 'colonials,' and use language as a way of positioning themselves above us in social hierarchy. There are places I've traveled where, when interacting with someone French, they will change to English immediately upon hearing us speak, which is intended as an insult. It's unfortunate, and rude, but it does happen.

It's not a common response, and it depends where you happen to be, and the age of the person you are speaking to. I've just as often been identified as having a 'Canadian' accent (which amuses me, because I don't - I have a Quebecois accent), and then there's discussion about the cultural and familial links between our two societies.

I think it's misleading to try to make a link between Quebecois/French-from-France and Cajun/English in terms of the similarity of accents. From the view of the French who find the Quebecois to be inferior, it's more like we're the Alabama or Mississipi of the francosphere, in terms of culture.
posted by jordantwodelta at 11:27 AM on August 7 [7 favorites]


I want to learn Picardi or Occitain specifically for the purpose of annoying people in Paris.

i apparently have a notable provencal accent in french and whenever it is commented upon unfavourably i know that it is time for me to begin my assault on all nearby listeners with my extremely terrible and colloquial catalan.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:30 AM on August 7 [3 favorites]


Ok, now do Dutch/Flemish! On Dutch TV Flemish programs are subtitled.
posted by misterpatrick at 11:42 AM on August 7 [1 favorite]


I've always found it so strange that someone could be rude to another person for having a different accent to themselves.

From the view of the French who find the Quebecois to be inferior, it's more like we're the Alabama or Mississipi of the francosphere, in terms of culture.

Sure, in English there are certainly stereotypes about accents and the people who have them. See Cleetus on the Simpsons, or the SNL "Californians" sketches. But to actually be rude to the face of another person because of their accent? Am I just sheltered or is this not so much of a thing in the Anglosphere as it is in the Franco?
posted by good in a vacuum at 12:02 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


But to actually be rude to the face of another person because of their accent? Am I just sheltered or is this not so much of a thing in the Anglosphere as it is in the Franco?

Am I wrong to presume you don't have one of those accents?
posted by Cosine at 12:08 PM on August 7 [7 favorites]


When travelling in Norway, I learned that there are many regional dialects and none is considered standard; they are equally good Norwegian. Wikipedia says:

There is no standard dialect for the Norwegian language as a whole, and all dialects are by now mutually intelligible. Hence, widely different dialects are used frequently and alongside each other, in almost every aspect of society. Criticism of a dialect may be considered criticism of someone's personal identity and place of upbringing, and is considered impolite. Not using one's proper dialect would be bordering on awkward in many situations, as it may signal a wish to take on an identity or a background which one does not have.
posted by sjswitzer at 12:09 PM on August 7


Honest question: is the average French person really unable to recognize a French Canadian accent? Or is it just rudeness? Seems like a distinct - and common enough - accent that I'd assume Parisians would at least recognize it

Le grill? What the hell does that mean?
Is he almost done? BLLLLAHHHHH! Yep.
posted by The_Vegetables at 12:15 PM on August 7


I have plenty of Norwegian friends who make fun of those with strong Nynorsk-like accents.
posted by misterpatrick at 12:16 PM on August 7


> To be blunt, some of the French view us as 'colonials,' and use language as a way of positioning themselves above us in social hierarchy. There are places I've traveled where, when interacting with someone French, they will change to English immediately upon hearing us speak, which is intended as an insult. It's unfortunate, and rude, but it does happen.

I've witnessed Quebecois also switch immediately to English on hearing a fluent (but not native) Quebec-French speaker with an imperfect accent. The social hierarchy on all sides seems to be about looking downwards.
posted by ardgedee at 12:17 PM on August 7 [3 favorites]


To have such problems as a french accent!

I have to constantly explain that I don't speak French at all to French people who see my last name. If they give me any grief about it I then explain that it is all the fault of the fucking FLQ that my family moved to Ontario along with most of Montreal's former corporate HQs.

Then they typically mutter something in French under their breath that it is meant to insult me but I don't understand it so....
posted by srboisvert at 12:42 PM on August 7


Am I wrong to presume you don't have one of those accents?

Point sheepishly taken! But at the risk of digging myself deeper into this hole, what I meant was that in my experience travelling and with talking to other English speakers with various accents, I never seem to hear about people being laughed at or otherwise experience rudeness from other English speakers on account of having a non-local accent. Whereas this thread has highlighted that it is seemingly common for Quebecois-French speakers to be treated rudely in France.

Maybe people I've encountered around the English-speaking world think that my Pacific Northwest accent sounds silly, but they aren't laughing in my face about it.
posted by good in a vacuum at 12:46 PM on August 7


Speaking with a more international (closer to hexagonal French) accent is marked as posh in Quebec; therefore working class characters like the Flintstones, the Simpsons or the Hills would sound off if they spoke with one. In France, working-class people, of course, sound like they are from France.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 1:18 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


I never seem to hear about people being laughed at or otherwise experience rudeness from other English speakers on account of having a non-local accent

So, back when it was easier to obtain British TV that wasn't commercially available in the US (RIP a certain website), I used to watch The Apprentice UK, featuring, I hasten to add, an entirely different doofus of a fake business figure--mostly for the London eye candy, which was nice. Anyway, the show tended to feature people with a range of UK regional accents, and you could definitely see people reacting differently to the ones with the Geordie or other far north accents (as did the online commenters).

(That show was also where I figured out that "aggressive" was the UK racist code-word equivalent for "pushy" or "loud" here.)
posted by praemunire at 1:28 PM on August 7


> But at the risk of digging myself deeper into this hole, what I meant was that in my experience travelling and with talking to other English speakers with various accents, I never seem to hear about people being laughed at or otherwise experience rudeness from other English speakers on account of having a non-local accent.

Having an Appalachian or deep southern accent will get you pigeonholed as lower class regardless of your education or social status at home.
posted by ardgedee at 1:44 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


I never seem to hear about people being laughed at or otherwise experience rudeness from other English speakers on account of having a non-local accent.

I had this happen to me, in Ottawa of all places, when I presented myself at the front desk of the Chateau Laurier. I was in the process of explaining that I was meeting up with a family member who worked for the hotel and my cell phone had died and could they please call her office to let her know I was here in the lobby. Well, when I mentioned in passing that I was visiting from out of town the clerk interrupted me to disdainfully tell me "Yes... I can tell...". Really took me aback. It's not like I was purchasing a room, or had luggage with me, or he could see much of anything about my clothes (middle of a blizzard, I was bundled up to my eyeballs). All he had to go on was the pattern of my speech.

I have also definitely heard stories from family members who were teased for having an Ottawa Valley accent. People get mocked for sounding too "North of [highway] 7". And that's just within Ontario. I'm sure Newfoundlanders get it much worse.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 1:58 PM on August 7 [4 favorites]


I never seem to hear about people being laughed at or otherwise experience rudeness from other English speakers on account of having a non-local accent. Whereas this thread has highlighted that it is seemingly common for Quebecois-French speakers to be treated rudely in France.

Don't necessarily confuse Parisians with the French generally - they are notoriously snobbish, possibly even more so to other French from the regions. (My wife is from the Languedoc south). Friend of my mother-in-law, she lived in Paris for 30 years, speaks with a flawless metro accent and is still be treated as an outsider by her neighbours. Though of course you can encounter othering in any area of France - Languedoc kinda look down on Marseillais, for example, and god forbid you have a Tunisian accent. I have found the south remarkably more tolerant of my 'cute english' bumbling accent than the north though.

I don't know about the US, but the British are continously mocking each other's accents, often used a direct substitute for assumed class, wealth and education. And of course foreign accents, for being well foreign. You see it in pretty much all panel shows as part of the banter. It's usually meant fairly light-heartedly, but it can still be vicious at times. That cuts multiple ways too - as a west Londoner born who moved in childhood to near Manchester, i was mocked mercilessly for my accent - so much so, I ended up with a half-decent mancunian one after a few years that I only used at school. Many, many British actors will have their accent from where they were born, and an alternative RP accent that is basically the 'standard' accent they need for work and pick up at drama school or earlier. And then they move to the US and deliberately mug up the appropriate accent so it sounds suitable British for american ears e.g. the actress that played Daphne Moon in Frasier was actually Manchester-born but ended up famously sounding like an american badly doing a northern accent because supposedly the producers couldn't actually understand her real accent...
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 3:08 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


A comedy bit done in song glorifying the Quebec (street language) accent versus France;
Mononc' Serge - Le joual (Youtube video 3min50sec)
posted by phoque at 3:09 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


Educational sort of video that I thought did a very good job in that explaining and illustrating the Quebec accent differences with France. How we say stuff (structure sentences /shorten or add words) that could be confusing.

QUÉBÉCOIS POUR LES NULS | solangeteparle (Youtube video 7min50sec)
posted by phoque at 3:28 PM on August 7 [3 favorites]


I used to go to French night school, and the teacher (who was from Toulouse) seemed to be a bit obsessed when the audio teaching materials had speakers with Québécois accents. Probably some kind of back story there.

I also took a course at Alliance Francaise once, years ago, and this class was taught by Thierry, un snob Lyonais. He had little use for the wretched backwater dialect, as he viewed it, of Québec, and once tutted his way through one of my classmates reading aloud an excerpt from a newspaper story for an assignment.

When my classmate was questioned on what newspaper he was quoting and answered that it was Le Devoir, Thierry heaved a heavy Gallic sigh and muttered darkly, “Ce n’est pas l’Alliance Québécoise içi, c’est l’Alliance Francaise.”
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:57 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


I enjoyed being in Paris because my very standard anglo Quebecois accent is so completely unknown there that everyone could figure out I spoke pretty good French as a second language but they could not clue in to what my first language was or where I was from.

(FWIW I've always liked the West African French accent best.)
posted by jeather at 4:41 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


In the original Twitter thread, one of the responses praising the Quebecois French version of the show pointed to the rewrite of Mr. Burns' "See My Vest," which in Quebec was called "Mon Gilet."
posted by stannate at 5:08 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


“Ce n’est pas l’Alliance Québécoise içi, c’est l’Alliance Francaise.”

I was lucky to have a Muslim teacher from Djibouti for a few sessions. She taught us a little about the wider, colonial part of the Francophone world she came from and had experience with.

I never found out what she thought about Québec, but she definitely seemed more relaxed about stuff generally — including using tu between students and teacher, instead of the more formal vous, something my neighbors from the Auvergne part of France were utterly shocked about.

Even sharing the language isn't enough, for some, where there is l'Hexagone and then there is the rest of the world. Maybe it is vestiges of colonialism that some generations in the country are still working through, which they pass down to their kids, who grow up and become teachers, or vote for Marine Le Pen.

I don't get the disconnect between Québécois and the French, though perhaps it is down to France seeing Québec as just another colony (albeit one that became part of another country).

De Gaulle's highly controversial speech during his visit to the province was an attempt (as he claimed) to address a couple hundred years of history where France abdicated the territory to British rule. But all he ended up doing was furthering their secession movement. Maybe he was just trying to piss off British-majority Canadians, or perhaps it was just wounded French pride after the Algerian War.

Within France, there is a north-south divide. France and the United States share that kind of regional cultural snobbery, I think. Some Americans think the country is the only one to speak English correctly, the way it is meant to be spoken, with British and Canadian accents being affectations or signs of being mentally feeble. And then, within the States, there is that same geographic divide, which comes from its Civil War and all the historical baggage from that — different from the French, but similar in some ways.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 6:27 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


I enjoyed being in Paris because my very standard anglo Quebecois accent is so completely unknown there that everyone could figure out I spoke pretty good French as a second language but they could not clue in to what my first language was or where I was from.

I dunno about your schooling, but in Ontario schools we were taught straight-up Parisian French with never a hint of Quebecois usage. I lived in Montreal for a while after university, then worked for a bunch of French-speaking Moroccans on a moshav in Israel and then travelled with a French Swiss woman for a while, then worked in a bilingual business with some francophones from Quebec. I have had the entire gamut of reactions to my French from, “I thought you were a native speaker,” to, “That was French? I thought it was Romanian or something.”
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:46 PM on August 7


Ontario schools we were taught straight-up Parisian French

I assume "Ontario" means "Southern Ontario" here because that certainly wasn't my experience.
posted by Ashwagandha at 10:04 PM on August 7


When travelling in Norway, I learned that there are many regional dialects and none is considered standard; they are equally good Norwegian

Norwegians (according to Michael Booth's The Almost Nearly Perfect People) seem to live by a variant of Sartre's maxim that hell is other people, and value being able to live relatively apart from each other, unassimilated into melting-pot cities. When they came into their present oil wealth, they naturally used some of the money to be able to live spread out to a modern standard of comfort. Hence even the most distant valleys of Norway have decent mobile phone coverage, for example, not to mention well-maintained roads, high-speed internet and such.
posted by acb at 1:42 AM on August 8


Speaking with a more international (closer to hexagonal French) accent is marked as posh in Quebec; therefore working class characters like the Flintstones, the Simpsons or the Hills would sound off if they spoke with one. In France, working-class people, of course, sound like they are from France.

Sounds a bit like English accents in Australia. If you pronounce the "a" in "dance" or "chance" as an "ah" in Australia, you may as well prepend an "I say, old chap" to complete the effect; if you don't, the listener will tacitly prepend one and judge you equally for putting on airs. In England, there is nothing posh or refined about this syllable and one hears it all the time.
posted by acb at 1:46 AM on August 8


In grad school there was a definite northern/southern Italian divide which I know had all sorts of other baggage but mainly came in the form of folks poking at poor Francesca for her Southern accent. To the point of our (Northern) professor making a backhanded “I was worried but your English is actually pretty good!” comment to her after after a presentation.

My vague impression of about 80% of the cultural economics literature is that it is northern Italians coming up with explanations for why southern Italians are poorer than they are.
posted by dismas at 8:09 AM on August 8


Highly topical for me. Just got back from a week-long trip to Québec, a couple days in Québec City and most of the time hiking in the Gaspé peninsula. The views were gorgeous, but man, your accent, y'all.

Day 1 driving out of the city, we stopped at a fast food joint in a small town for a quick lunch. I was able to order everything in my slightly rusty Metropolitan French, but then when the server handed us our pizza, she asked if we wanted "le bar."

"Comment?"

"Le bar, le bar."

"Euh... en anglais, s'il vous plait?"

"Butter." (le beurre)

Moral of the story, you Québecois do something bizarre with your diphthongs, and also, stop putting butter on pizza, that is a crime against humanity.
posted by basalganglia at 3:32 AM on August 9 [4 favorites]


I assume "Ontario" means "Southern Ontario" here because that certainly wasn't my experience.

Fair enough: I did spend some time growing up in Northern Ontario, but most of my schooling was farther below where Lake Ontario takes in what Lake Erie can send ‘er.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:53 PM on August 9


« Older Silver sweetness: adopt a senior pet from the...   |   Straight up self-insert fanfiction Newer »


You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.