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Do You Want "Franglais" With That?

Greetings again all. You know, I've always been a tad fascinated with the English and French languages and how syntax, grammar, and structure play a role within them. Well, I'm in the perfect spot in the whole world (Maritime Canada) as the French folks here have developed their own way of speaking both languages at once! Read on...

I live in an area of Canada that was settled by Irish, German, French, and English settlers. During those days, winters and the environment were harsh and many families of one language would adopt those of another when times got tough. Out of that, one of the dialects that evolved was something we call "franglais", which in its' purest sense, was a blend of English and French (i.e.: 'fran' from 'francais', and 'lais' from 'anglais').

The French language here in Eastern Canada has many dialects and localized forms, due to the nature of the working environment(s) here (i.e.: hunting, fishing, forestry, etc.) in addition to influences from Canada's largest French province, Quebec, which we border upon. Thus, many of the words and phrases tend to be specific to those industries which leave other francophones rather perplexed at times because they are not familiar with that particular jargon or manner of speech, simply because they live elsewhere and do something else.

Then,,,there's the notorious and hilarious "Franglais" of the southern region of the province, where even the most English of folks can still make out what the French folks are saying, simply because of the blend of English and French languages. The standing joke around here is that the French folks were just too lazy to bother speaking "pure" Parisian or Eurpoean French which was their native tongue, and adopted English phrasing to get their points across.

Check out these examples:

  • "Je was going a la store "pore" a pop et un chip..."
  • "Voulez-vous helpez moi fixez mon tire?"
  • "La guy la, il was there mais tookez off..."
  • "Ou est-ce que la ketchup?"
  • "Passez-moi la butter, k?"
  • ...and so on...

As you can see, even those who DON'T understand a word of French, MIGHT and probably would be able to understand those lines above. This form of speech is known locally here, as "chiaque" which is pronounce "SHE-ack". Simply put, a blend of English and French. Pretty funny in some cases, no? *s We are used to that here...

Purists of the French language have long been dismayed at this watering-down of the French language, which is one of the most beautiful and romantic languages in the world because of its' flow, expressions, and nuances. However, the pure French language is complex with its' use of feminine and masculine verbs and adjectives and what one must put together to say something. For a great example, just tune in the TV to an all-French station and listen to how fast they must talk to get the message(s) across. It's incredible, really, to how many more words they must say as compared to an English version of the same topic.

So,,,just a bit on language today and hope you enjoyed this piece. Til next time, "a la prochaine!" or,,,c ya.!*s

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