Language: Say Quoi?

The first two weeks I spent in Saguenay, I stared dumbfounded when speaking with the locals. This was because although the words the Saguenéens used were indeed French, I couldn’t make sense of any of it! In anticipation of my upcoming trip to Paris, I tried to recall all of that peculiar Québécois slang, to remind me of what words I won’t be able to use in France like I can here in Canada! For anyone going or planning on going into the far reaches of Québec, study on!

Double Meanings and New Meanings:

In Québec: blueberry, a Saguenéen(e)
In France: a flower
What France would use instead: myrtille

In Québec: a car
In France: a tank
What France would use instead: automobile

Crème glacée
In Québec: ice cream
In France: literally ‘iced cream’
What France would use instead: crème de la glace

In Québec: ice cream shop
In France: creamer
What France would use instead: glacier

In Québec: get out of a car
In France: disembark (boat, train)
What France would use instead: descendre

In Québec: a convenience store
In France: a repairman
What France would use instead: épicerie

In Québec: running shoes
In France: sandals or flip flops
What France would use instead: chaussures de sport

Là là
In Québec: kind of like the word eh, an interjection usually at the end of the sentence that emphasizes something you said
In France: there there, wow (if said as in ‘oh là là!’)
What France would use instead: hein, maybe?

In Québec: boring
In France: flat, a dish
What France would use instead: ennuyeux, ennuyeuse

In Québec: full (from eating)
In France: pregnant
What France would use instead: bourré

Words Unique to Québec:

Bibette (little bug) instead of ‘insecte’
Blonde (girlfriend) instead of ‘copine’
Chais (I know) instead of ‘je sais’
Chuis (I am) instead of ‘je suis’
Chum (boyfriend, friend) instead of ‘copain’ or ‘ami’
Cute (cute) instead of ‘mignon’
Frencher (to french kiss) instead of ’embrasser’
Fret(te) (cold) instead of ‘froid(e)’
Le fun (fun) instead of ‘amusant’
Magasiner (to go shopping) instead of ‘faire des coures’
Patate (potato) instead of ‘pomme de terre’
Saglac (Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean) instead of ‘Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean’
Tiguidou (honky dory) instead of ‘très bien’
Toé (to you) instead of ‘toi’
Tsé (you know) instead of ‘tu sais’
Tuque (a tuque) instead of ‘bonnet’

The Ever-Confusing Meals!

Québec and France just CANNOT seem to get along with this one. Here goes…
English: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Québécois French: Déjeuner, Dîner, Souper
France French: Petit Déjeuner, Déjeuner, Dîner
That’s right: Québec’s breakfast is France’s lunch, and France’s dinner is Québec’s lunch. Souper in France is technically a really late dinner, but in reality it’s kind of like how supper and dinner are practically the same thing in English. Oh, and the Québécois are quite fond of ‘le lunch’ as well, to throw another word into the Dîner-Déjeuner-Lunch fiasco. Good luck haha!

Jon Stewart Why

Regional Expressions:

Oh this is so funny! Regional expressions are always goofy (raining cats and dogs anyone?) but I always giggle when I hear any of these!
avoir de l’eau dans la cave (to have water in the cellar) = to have ‘flood pants’
avoir l’estomac dans les talons (to have the stomach in nails/talons) = to be very hungry
avoir les yeux dans la graisse de bines (to have eyes in the bean’s grease) = to be glassy eyed
c’est dommage (it’s damage) = too bad
c’est malade, fou, raide (it’s ill, crazy, stiff) = it’s sick, crazy, rad
chanter la pomme (to sing the apple) = to flirt
habillé comme la chienne à Jacques (dressed like Jack’s dog) = badly dressed
pleuvoir à boire debout (to rain to drink standing) = raining hard
pleuvoir des cordes (to rain ropes) = raining hard
se faire passer un sapin (to pass someone a tree) = to be fooled
vent à décorner des boeufs (wind to de-horn the cows) = very wind

Jimmy Fallon What

Isn’t language funny? I love how two people speaking the same language, only with a different dialect, can’t understand what each other is saying.

Did I forget one? Mention it down below and I will add it to the list!


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