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New course: Le québécois en 10 leçons

  Tags: Canada | Textbooks | French
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 Message 121 of 167
02 November 2012 at 11:48pm | IP Logged 
On a side note, I came to think of this thread:
How to type French on an English keyboard
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 Message 122 of 167
03 November 2012 at 5:22pm | IP Logged 
s_allard wrote:
Are you joining a motorcycle biker gang or are you taking up a teaching position at l'Université de

Well I've never been asked that before but I can safely say that I will never be doing either. I would however lean more
towards the biker gang - now where did I put that leather jacket...

s_allard wrote:
For example, you could buy a boxed DVD set of La petite vie, a very popular television program from
the 90s. This is great stuff for popular speech that would warm @Arekkusu's heart, but the problem is that if you don't
have a transcription and some explanations, you will be scratching your head continuously.

My favourite show is the current series Toute la vérité which features all levels of speech from the lawyers and
judges down to the criminals and street thugs. The courtroom speech is especially clear and understandable and then
the same characters speak very informally when socializing after work. There is unfortunately no sub-titles. For a series with
complete and accurate québécois sub-titles, there is all four seasons of C.A. Conseil d'Administration on DVD.
There is essentially no formal level speech in this series on a level with the courtroom speech in the above series.

Edited by microsnout on 06 November 2012 at 7:00am

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 Message 123 of 167
05 November 2012 at 3:43am | IP Logged 
emk wrote:
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...

I've never really been able to understand how people calculate percentages of understanding, i.e. how does one arrive at 90% or 40%. But the important thing here is that it would seem that university students from Trois-Rivières are harder to understand than university students from Montreal (in addition to being harder to understand than the television series Buffy contre les vampires).

Insofar as the comparisons with the television series goes, this difference (however measured) is not really surprising because, just as in English, the dialogues dubbed into French (from France or Quebec) are totally scripted and spoken by professional artists. This kind of language is always easier to understand than raw unscripted language in a natural setting.

It's pretty much the same contrast one sees in news broadcasts between the manicured language of the news reader and the raw language of ordinary people interviewed.

But the other interesting question is the differences in intelligibility between university students in Trois-Rivières and Montréal. To be more specific, we would take a sample of students from l'Université de Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) and a sample from Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)?

First of all, the distance between the two cities is 74 miles or 119.07 kilometres or about 1.5 hours driving. It's not much. And Trois-Rivières is not a remote isolated town. It sits right on the highway to Quebec City and is a major regional agglomeration. People travel frequently between Montreal and Trois-Rivières.

But more importantly, let's look at a bit of the sociological profile of the students from Trois-Rivières. Like their Montreal counterparts, these students of 2012 come primarily from middle-class backgrounds. Their parents are relatively well educated, especially when compared to their grand-parents.

The students grew up not only with massive exposure to television but also to the Internet. They all have mobile phones and computers; many have tablet computers and smartphones. Many have traveled in Canada and some have been to overseas. And among the students you will find a significant number of foreign students from France, Africa, North Africa and the Middle East.

Obviously, these students are not uneducated, working-class or unskilled speakers. Quite the contrary, there have been to exposed to lots of formal French, and, it should be pointed out, quite a large percentage of the teaching staff of the university is of foreign origin.

What you see as a results of all this is the homogenization of the speech of all university students in Quebec. Yes, there will be small differences of regional vocabulary but in terms of phonology and grammar there is trend towards linguistic standardisation and uniformity as one goes up the social ladder.

The main drivers of this phenomenon are schooling, the mass media and population movement. When speaking very informally, there may be more of a regional accent, but as university students speaking in a academic setting, they all tend to sound alike.

This reminds me of something I saw on television some years ago. An fishing boat accident had happened in the Magdalen Islands (Iles de la Madeleine), very far from Montreal. A older fisherman from a local port was interviewed, and he had a very strong regional accent. Standing next to him was the young mayor of the port. When he spoke, the difference in accent was very striking. This mayor sounded like any 30 year-old mayor in Quebec. The fisherman and the mayor were both from the same area but a whole generation plus years of formal education and (in the case of the mayor) a stay in another city for his studies all contributed to a change in accent.
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 Message 124 of 167
06 November 2012 at 1:37am | IP Logged 
Sprachprofi wrote: .
Unzip, run the setup, and enjoy. Using this layout, press the key above Tab and...
a yields ä, o yields ö, u yields ü,
q yields â, e yields ê, i yields î, p yields ô, y yields ŷ, (q and p chosen for
location near the letter)
n yields ñ
all the chapelliteroj are also available through this button (combined with cghjs, as
can be expected), but for ŭ you have to press w
Shift + key above Tab yields all kinds of letters with the accent grave: àèìòùǹ
Shift + 6 yields letters with accent aigue: áéíóúńśḱĺź and also the cedilla ç
In short, anything you'll need in the foreseeable future.

Well, the install went flawlessly, but the results were not at all as you describe.

On my keyboard (standard HP desktop), the key above the Tab key is lowercase ` and uppercase ~. After the install and a reboot, it continued to behave the same way. So I just got `a`e`i`o`u. None of the combinations you show produced anything.

The only combination that produced anything useful was holding down CNTL + button over the Tab. That produces àèìòù in Microsoft Word 2007. But it produces nothing in this HTLAL editor.

Computer is HP AMD64 with Win7, with US keyboard set.

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 Message 125 of 167
06 November 2012 at 12:34pm | IP Logged 
tommus, a simpler solution is to switch your windows US keyboard to "US International" keyboard layout. It's what I use. It's simple. There's nothing to download. It takes little time to get used to it- voilà!

French wrote:
If you currently use the English-US keyboard layout, the international keyboard is far and away your best option for typing accents. It is not a separate keyboard, just a Windows setting.

French keyboard link

Edited by iguanamon on 06 November 2012 at 12:34pm

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 Message 126 of 167
06 November 2012 at 1:49pm | IP Logged 
Tommus, are you sure that you selected to be typing in this new keyboard layout? Or made
it your default? Otherwise Windows will continue to make you type in your previous
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 Message 127 of 167
10 November 2012 at 6:59am | IP Logged 
Without wanting to re-ignite a noxious debate about language norms, I couldn't help noticing this interview on the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) radio program C'est la vie (a program in English about francophone culture) of the singer Emilie-Claire Barlow. Interestingly, Ms Barlow is not from Quebec and does not come from a French-speaking home but she sells mores CDs in Quebec than anywhere else in Canada. Here is the CBC site The date of the interview is November 2, 2012.

While she has done some songs in French before, she has just released an album entirely in French. Her diction when singing in French is excellent. Although we don't hear her speaking much French in the interview I think we can surmise that her accent is very good. She seems to be self-taught. I can't comment on her grammar or vocabulary. I suspect that singing extensively in French is conducive to developing a good accent.

The reason this interview caught my eye is that it illustrated so well the importance of choosing the appropriate language variety in the target language. For the audience that she is catering to in Quebec today, the kind of socially neutral or higher end form of Québécois is the most recommendable
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 Message 128 of 167
10 November 2012 at 12:20pm | IP Logged 
This guy, Bernard Adamus

La question à 100 piasses

is also becoming quite popular, getting rave reviews everywhere. He won le Festival de Petite Vallée in 2009
and just released his second full album. He uses the opposite range of language, presumably to reach a
different demographics. He is from Montréal, although originally born in Poland.

Edited by Arekkusu on 13 November 2012 at 3:21pm

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