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New course: Le québécois en 10 leçons

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s_allard
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 Message 105 of 167
01 November 2012 at 2:04pm | IP Logged 
It should be pointed out that Assimil's "Le québécois de poche" has been out since 1997. I gather that there is a new edition. I've never looked at it, so I can't really comment on the contents. There is also "Le québécois...pour mieux voyager" published by Ulysse, the Montreal-based publishing house. So, it's not as if this question of what is québécois hasn't been debated before.
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Arekkusu
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 Message 106 of 167
01 November 2012 at 2:31pm | IP Logged 
s_allard wrote:
It should be pointed out that Assimil's "Le québécois de poche" has been out since 1997. I gather that there is a new edition. I've never looked at it, so I can't really comment on the contents. There is also "Le québécois...pour mieux voyager" published by Ulysse, the Montreal-based publishing house. So, it's not as if this question of what is québécois hasn't been debated before.

If you have a chance to look at them, let us know. If you think they deal with Pauline Marois French, you're in for a surprise.

I'll be interested in hearing your constructive criticism.

Edited by Arekkusu on 01 November 2012 at 2:32pm

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s_allard
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 Message 107 of 167
01 November 2012 at 4:33pm | IP Logged 
As I've had more time to peruse @Arekkusu's book, I have a better idea of the approach. As for the other books, I have no idea of their content.

The basic premise of the book, and I suspect in the other books, is that Le québécois is what French is not. Therefore, it's the differences that are important. That's why there are constant comparisons with standard French. And that's why there is so much insistence on the more folkloric aspects of language and culture regardless of how marginal these things may be in contemporary life in Quebec.

So, things like "m'as t'amener manger d'la poutine" and the "moé pis toé" plus the inevitable swearing and all the elements of vernacular culture are highlighted because they are colourful and exotic.

The problem with this approach, as we know, is that the vast majority of Québécois do not use this sort of material most of the time. I have been watching the Charbonneau Commission every day, and I find it more fascinating than any kind of realiity TV. What language are the people speaking? Are they speaking Québécois? When I hear our prime minister Pauline Marois speak, is it Québécois or not?

According to the definition of Québécois in this book, these people are not speaking Québécois. They are speaking French. In other words, it all boils down to the same idea that has been around for a long time in various forms: Québécois is poor or trashy French.

Obviously, I don't believe this. I think that more people speak like those on the Charbonneau commission than like those in this book. Of course, some people do speak like the characters in this book and everybody uses elements of the book.

The value of this book for a teacher of French like myself is that it is useful as a resource of basically what not to use rather than what to use. This will be a tool for showing the social connotations of language in Québec.

It is important to recognize this language for what it is: low prestige language that is best avoided unless absolutely required. I would never tell my students to go around saying "moé cé..., ch't'icitte pour...", but I will use this book to point out what saying something like this says about you.   


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emk
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 Message 108 of 167
01 November 2012 at 5:30pm | IP Logged 
s_allard wrote:
The basic premise of the book, and I suspect in the other books, is that Le québécois is what French is not. Therefore, it's the differences that are important. That's why there are constant comparisons with standard French. And that's why there is so much insistence on the more folkloric aspects of language and culture regardless of how marginal these things may be in contemporary life in Quebec.


I certainly thank you for your perspective and thoughts on Arrekusu's book. But out of 14 pages of this thread, you've now spent 9 of them arguing that this book presents a popular, uneducated dialect of Quebec French, bordering on outright caricature.

We've also heard that Arekkusu hears nearly all of these speech forms in his own family, who come from various generations and regions of Quebec.

Consider us all warned: Nobody here is going to suddenly start saying icitte in front of random educated strangers in Montreal. We understand. And you're probably not going to change Arekkusu's mind in any case, even if this discussion goes on for another 9 pages.

But this still leaves me with a very real problem: Once I get outside of educated Montreal, I have no idea what the Quebecois are saying. Seriously, on a good day, I understand almost 90% of Buffy contre les vampires but only 40% of what I hear from a univesity student from Trois Rivères, even when they speak slowly and clearly. The same goes for the babysitter and people on the beach. Basically, I'm getting kicked back from B2 to A2 listening comprehension, and it's painful.

So I really do need a book—with audio recordings—that actually explains all this stuff. Passive listening skills are important, and if I need to ask for directions somewhere along Autoroute 40, I'd like to understand the answer. So are there any other intermediate courses out there with lots of audio that you'd recommend instead of, or in addition to, Arekkusu's book?
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s_allard
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 Message 109 of 167
01 November 2012 at 7:38pm | IP Logged 
To answer @emk's comment, I don't know of any comprehensive course on Québécois French. Where I work we use a lot of good material from the Quebec Ministry of Immigration. But this material is not available to the general public.

There are some websites that can help. An excellent one and a good starting point is Canadian French. On that website you will find a link to a great resource of standard Québécois French dialogs with audio. And from Japan of all places. Here is the link anyways:

Quebec French Dialogs with Audio

There is also an outstanding resource that I've mentioned a few times here: Fluent French

This not devoted to exclusively Québécois French, but there is a section on what they call real-life examples where there are authentic Québécois conversations with transcripts. The real thing, not contrived.

There is also an excellent site for learners of Quebec French at Quebec French

For @Arekkusu. here is a link to the pdf of a book review Québec Français of the Assimil and the Ulysse guides to Québécois. All the issues I raised here were discussed back in 1999. Nothing much has changed.
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tommus
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 Message 110 of 167
01 November 2012 at 8:17pm | IP Logged 
I have Arekkusu's book. I got it with the expectation that it would help me understand the kind of language it addresses. It looks like it will do that.

I have no intention of using it for my speaking.


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s_allard
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 Message 111 of 167
01 November 2012 at 9:16pm | IP Logged 
I agree that @Arekkusu's book is an excellent resource for understanding the language it addresses. As long as you are careful if and when you attempt to speak it to native Québécois. And I have to say that I'm happy that some people have arrived at the understanding, after a tedious debate, that this book is very good at demonstrating a certain kind of Québécois that is to be used with great caution. I couldn't ask for anything more.

Edited by s_allard on 01 November 2012 at 9:21pm

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Arekkusu
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 Message 112 of 167
01 November 2012 at 9:22pm | IP Logged 
s_allard wrote:
I agree that @Arekkusu's book is an excellent resource for understanding the language it addresses. As long as you are careful if and when you attempt to speak it to native Québécois. And I have to say that I'm happy that some people have arrived at the understanding, after a tedious debate, that this book is very good at demonstrating a certain kind of Québécois that is to be used with great caution. I couldn't ask for anything more.

GREAT!

NEXT!


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