Register  Login  Active Topics  Maps  

New course: Le québécois en 10 leçons

  Tags: Canada | Textbooks | French
 Language Learning Forum : Language Programs, Books & Tapes Post Reply
167 messages over 21 pages: << Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 19 ... 20 21 Next >>
s_allard
Triglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 3593 days ago

2704 posts - 5424 votes 
Speaks: French*, English, Spanish
Studies: Polish

 
 Message 145 of 167
16 November 2012 at 3:21pm | IP Logged 
I don't know how often it has to be said that the question isn't whether some people use Québécois vernacular as their primary mode of expression in their everyday lives, Nor is it in doubt that many people, including well-known politicians, will use elements of Québécois vernacular in informal contexts.

I do not know Thomas Mulcair personally, but let's consider some elements of his biography from Wikipedia:

"Mulcair was born in 1954 at the Ottawa Civic Hospital, to a French-Canadian mother, Jeanne (née Hurtubise), and an Irish-Canadian father, Harry Donnelly Mulcair. He is the second-oldest of the couple's ten children. His maternal great-great-grandfather was the 9th Premier of Quebec, Honoré Mercier.[3] Mulcair was raised in the Wrightville district of Hull (now Gatineau) and in Laval, just north of Montreal. He graduated from Laval Catholic High School, and in Social Sciences from CEGEP Vanier College.[4]

Mulcair graduated from McGill University in 1977 with degrees in common law and civil law. During his penultimate year, he was elected president of the McGill Law Students Association, and sat on the council of the McGill Student Union. He has been married to Catherine Pinhas since 1976; she is a psychologist who was born in France to a Sephardic Jewish family from Turkey.[5][6] The couple have two sons, one is a police officer while the other is an engineer.[7]"

Mr. Mulcair is what most of us would call perfectly bilingual, and we can see why. I think that as a lawyer with a distinguished political career and currently leader of the official opposition of Canada, he uses the kind of language that is considered appropriate for his job and social status. I'm sure he also can use informal forms of English and French. I think we can all agree on this.

We read here that "Despite his slight accent, I'm told he (Thomas Mulcair) definitely uses joual in his everyday life." Just what does this mean? How does Thomas Mulcair talk to his secretary, to his children, to his wife, to his fellow parliamentarians, to his friends over a beer?

Obviously, it's different from when he is speaking in the House of Commons? But are we to believe that outside the House of Commons, Thomas Mulcair speaks like an uneducated manual labourer from a poor neighbourhood of Montreal or like the rocker Bernard Adamus? Or better yet, does he talk like tha characters in @Arekkusu's book? Does he really say "moé cé Tom Mulcair, ch't icitte à souère pour jaser a'ec le monde"?

I would say no, but then again I may be wrong. Maybe he does speak that way when he is away from his official duties. I just go by what I hear and see on television and what I read in his biography.

But all of this is besides the point. The debate is not whether Thomas Mulcair speaks Québécois vernacular or not. As I have said again and again, the situation is no different from what takes place in the languages of readers here at HTLAL. I have no doubt that president Obama or chancellor Angela Markel will use an informal language in the appropriate situation but do they actually sound like uneducated workers?

What the debate has been about is whether we can take a specific sociolect - joual - and call it by a term - le québécois - that to some people, like myself, refers to an entire nation or people. It's not more complicated than that. If @Arekkusu had called his book Le joual en 10 leçons, we wouldn't be having this debate.



Edited by s_allard on 16 November 2012 at 3:23pm

1 person has voted this message useful



Volte
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Switzerland
Joined 4602 days ago

4474 posts - 6724 votes 
Speaks: English*, Esperanto, German, Italian
Studies: French, Finnish, Mandarin, Japanese

 
 Message 146 of 167
16 November 2012 at 4:10pm | IP Logged 
If Arekkusu had used the word 'joual' rather than 'Quebecois' in his title, I would have had no idea what his book was about. The target of this book isn't people who are intensely interested in Quebec's language politics; it's people who want to learn something about the variety of French spoken by some people in some parts of Canada, which they can't currently understand.

I grew up in Western Canada, and then moved to Europe. In both places, Quebec French is quite stigmatized. In Canada, I was told not to listen to Canadian-French radio at any cost, by someone teaching me French; in Europe, I've heard people speaking standard French with a French-Canadian accent mocked behind their backs again and again.

To me, Arekkusu's book represents a number of things, from understanding more about a large portion of Canada to understanding another variety of French, and raising my opinion of both. Reading dozens of posts about how the language in it is so stigmatized and uneducated frankly makes me want to revert to my old ways and simply disdain Canadian French entirely, at all registers...

8 persons have voted this message useful



s_allard
Triglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 3593 days ago

2704 posts - 5424 votes 
Speaks: French*, English, Spanish
Studies: Polish

 
 Message 147 of 167
16 November 2012 at 7:31pm | IP Logged 
Volte wrote:
If Arekkusu had used the word 'joual' rather than 'Quebecois' in his title, I would have had no idea what his book was about. The target of this book isn't people who are intensely interested in Quebec's language politics; it's people who want to learn something about the variety of French spoken by some people in some parts of Canada, which they can't currently understand.

I grew up in Western Canada, and then moved to Europe. In both places, Quebec French is quite stigmatized. In Canada, I was told not to listen to Canadian-French radio at any cost, by someone teaching me French; in Europe, I've heard people speaking standard French with a French-Canadian accent mocked behind their backs again and again.

To me, Arekkusu's book represents a number of things, from understanding more about a large portion of Canada to understanding another variety of French, and raising my opinion of both. Reading dozens of posts about how the language in it is so stigmatized and uneducated frankly makes me want to revert to my old ways and simply disdain Canadian French entirely, at all registers...

Those who have followed the debate from the beginning will recall that my original suggestion was not to change the title to "Le joual en 10 leçons" but to "Le québécois ppulaire en 10 leçons." I have also explained at length that joual was used with disdain and has fallen out of use somewhat. I myself do not use the term joual. I say Québécois vernacular in general.

I have also explained, again at length, that I do not have a problem with the contents of @Arekkusu's book except for the accuracy of the depiction of the current state of the Québécois vernacular. But that is of minor importance for most readers.

It is possible that one of the intentions of the author was to raise the opinion of other francophones towards Québécois French in general. That is an excellent idea. I have simply argued that many Québécois people react negatively when the speech of an entire country is depicted in a certain way.

But rather than repeat for the umpteenth time my arguments, I'd like to show what happens when people have the best intentions and don't always take into account local sensitivities about language.

Many readers know that the Tintin comic book series is translated from the original French into many of the world's languages (about 60 I read). It certainly makes for good marketing. In 2009 appeared a Québécois edition of Coke en stock that was changed into Colocs en stock.

The translation or adaptation was done not by a translator or a local writer but by a the director of a university press, the sociologist Yves Laberge. The language used is basically Québécois vernacular. A lot of people got very upset and many articles appeared in newspapers complaining about the language of Tintin. Here is an example:

"Le français québécois représenté dans le livre est résolument familier, voire populaire (à se demander si M. Laberge était au courant qu’il existe un français québécois standard différent de celui de France). Était-ce « correct » de traduire cette oeuvre, écrite à l’origine dans un français somme toute standard, dans un registre de langue généralement réservé à l’oral? "

The person is saying that the problem is that Mr Laberge translated the original standard European French into popular spoken Québécois. That is what made so many people upset, this idea that the equivalent of the standard French of the original edition was adapted not into standard Québécois French but into popular Québécois vernacular.

Here is a link to an article Tintin en québécois that starts with:

«Je suis tellement furieuse que j'ai l'intention de me rendre chez Renaud-Bray dès demain matin, d'y acheter l'album de Tintin, de le payer et puis, en plein magasin, j'ai l'intention de le déchirer page par page, en tout petits morceaux!»

"I'm so furious that I intend to go tomorrow morning the Renaud-Bray (bookstore) to buy the Tintin album, to pay for it and then, right in the store, I intend to tear it up page by page into small pieces."

After all the controversy, no other Québécois Tintin titles have appeared and I think that the publisher will think more than twice before publishing another Québécois edition. On the other hand, I wonder about the reactions to the adaptations in other languages, such a Brazilian Portuguese. As for the American adaptations, there was some controversy about depictions of racism and African-Americans in some of the books, but there wasn't any controversy about the English used.

I personally feel, unlike @Volte, that the title "Le québécois en 10 leçons" panders to this stereotype of Québécois being synonymous with stigmatized popular Quebec French. I don't see how French speakers outside Quebec will get a higher opinion of Quebec French from this book. But again I may be wrong.

Nobody was saying that there was anything wrong with the vernacular. The problem is using the vernacular to represent an entire language.

Edited by s_allard on 16 November 2012 at 10:54pm

1 person has voted this message useful



Arekkusu
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Canada
bit.ly/qc_10_lec
Joined 3544 days ago

3971 posts - 7745 votes 
Speaks: English, French*, GermanC1, Spanish, Japanese, Esperanto
Studies: Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Estonian

 
 Message 148 of 167
16 November 2012 at 8:19pm | IP Logged 
s_allard wrote:
If @Arekkusu had called his book Le joual en 10 leçons, we wouldn't be having this debate.


s_allard wrote:
I have also explained at length that joual was used with disdain and has fallen out of use somewhat. I myself do not use the term joual. I say Québécois vernacular in general.


So then we WOULD be having this debate. Or monobate.
7 persons have voted this message useful



s_allard
Triglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 3593 days ago

2704 posts - 5424 votes 
Speaks: French*, English, Spanish
Studies: Polish

 
 Message 149 of 167
16 November 2012 at 10:48pm | IP Logged 
Let's be constructive here, shall we. Here's a link to an interview with one of the hottest upcoming rock stars in Quebec, Lisa Leblanc. Lisa Leblanc She burst onto the scene earlier this year with the hit song Aujourd'hui, ma vie c'est de la marde (Today, my life is shit).

The interesting thing, and the reason for my bringing up Lisa here, is that she sings primarily in Chiak, a dialect of Acadian French from Moncton, New Brunswick, in eastern Canada.

You must know that Acadian French is the most prominent variety of French outside of Quebec and its heartland is in the northwest corner of New Brunswick. Like Québécois French, it has evolved separately from European French and is quite different from Québécois.

Here is a link to a play

La sagouine in what I would call literary Acadian French by the great Acadian author, Antonine Maillet.

There also developed in the city of Moncton a variety of Acadian French that was heavily influenced by the surrounding English vocabulary. Even more so than joual or Québécois vernacular, Chiak, as it is called, was despised by Acadian elite because it epitomized the deterioration of Acadian French.

Interestingly, Chiak hss been undergoing a sort of revival or upsurge of interest among young people for two reasons I think. Firstly, it, like vernacular Québécois, can be a vehicle for the expression of rebellion and revolt, Secondly, it irritates the hell out of parents and the old farts of the Acadian elite.

Lisa Leblanc is not the first to sink in Chiak, but she has certainly had a hit. The many English words and the weird accent probably helped in her success. She has promptly moved to Montreal, as most Acadian artists do because Montreal is a cultural mecca.

Imagine now that somebody were to write a book called Learn Acadian French with Lisa Leblanc and concentrated only on Chiak. You can be sure that many Acadians would be howling and wanting to tar and feather the author. Why? For the simple reason that Chiak does not represent the entire language of the Acadians. All Acadians do not speak like Lisa Leblanc. Some do and some don't. The solution is to call the book Learn Chiak with Lisa Leblanc.

Edited by s_allard on 17 November 2012 at 2:51am

1 person has voted this message useful



s_allard
Triglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 3593 days ago

2704 posts - 5424 votes 
Speaks: French*, English, Spanish
Studies: Polish

 
 Message 150 of 167
17 November 2012 at 3:58am | IP Logged 
tommus wrote:
s_allard wrote:
I don't think that the English-speaking politicians speaking French would constitute a dialect as such

You're probably right. I don't really know the definition of dialect. But a couple of characteristics would probably be:

- an identifiable group that speaks a language differently from the mainstream language.

- a variation of a language that immediately identifies the group of speakers from which it comes.

- a variation of a language that uses some different words and expressions, and in this case, a subset of the mainstream language.

- a variation of a language whose speakers have difficulty understanding the mainstream language, and have difficulty being understood by mainstream language speakers.


A dialect is a geographical variant of a language, so I don't think our English-speaking politicians would constitute a dialect when speaking French.

But it is interesting to observe how French has become de rigueur for so many English-speaking politicians in Canada today. It is totally inconceivable today that the leader of a federal political party would not speak French, and darn well. We have come a very long way.

As a matter of fact, at this very moment the Liberal Party of Canada is going to choose a new leader in early 2013. The front-runner is Justin Trudeau from Montreal, The son a former prime minister, he is perfectly bilingual. The other candidates are beginning to throw their hats in the ring.

One of the criteria of course is bilingualism. We can be sure that all the potential candidates have assessed their language skills and, where necessary, are working intensively with the top language teachers and coaches.

Not many people will be as fluently bilingual as Justin Trudeau but at least they want to be able to hold their own in the debates in French. It's plain to see that if you aspire to the position of prime minister of Canada today, you have to be bilingual.

Now to come back to this thread. No politician today wants to come off haughty, disdainful, stuck-up, snotty or out of touch with ordinary folk. At the same time, that politician doesn't want to sound like an uneducated, unsophisticated manual labourer.

How do politicians sound? Let's turn to the recent US presidential elections. If you listened to all the candidates themselves and the various other speakers, you saw that everybody wanted to sound warm and approachable without sounding uneducated and uncouth. Even Romney, who comes from an upper-class background as you can get, did not sound very high-class.

As down-to-earth as these candidates may try to sound, none of them said things like "I seen" or "We is." I don't recall anybody saying something like "Aw shucks, I's jes a lil old country boy."

Our English-speakng candidates for leadership of the Liberal Party are confronted with the issue of what kind of French to speak. Since the largest group of French-speakers is from Quebec, Québécois French has to figure prominently in their language training. In which case, should we recommend that these politicians learn the Québécois vernacular?

I think they should learn to recognize it because they will hear it. And this is where @Arekkusu's book is useful. Should they speak it themselves? As I have said before, this calls for good judgment and caution. I would tend to say that you have to be selective. You can be warm and approachable in language without necessarily trying to imitate the most nonstandard forms.

Edit: On November 16, 2012 Michael Applebaum because the first English-speaking mayor of the city of Montreal in a 100 years. And the first jewish mayor. How well does he speak French? Very well, except for his subjunctives that he ignores completely. I wish somebody would correct him. As for speaking in Québécois vernacular, I'll let people use their imagination.

Edited by s_allard on 17 November 2012 at 6:19am

1 person has voted this message useful



tommus
Senior Member
CanadaRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4029 days ago

979 posts - 1686 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Dutch, French, Esperanto, German, Spanish

 
 Message 151 of 167
18 November 2012 at 1:27am | IP Logged 
s_allard wrote:
Chiak, a dialect of Acadian French from Moncton, New Brunswick, in eastern Canada.

Shouldn't that be 'Chiac'?



Edited by tommus on 18 November 2012 at 1:31am

1 person has voted this message useful



s_allard
Triglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 3593 days ago

2704 posts - 5424 votes 
Speaks: French*, English, Spanish
Studies: Polish

 
 Message 152 of 167
18 November 2012 at 4:33pm | IP Logged 
tommus wrote:
s_allard wrote:
Chiak, a dialect of Acadian French from Moncton, New Brunswick, in eastern Canada.

Shouldn't that be 'Chiac'?


I have seen various spellings such as Chiac, Shiac, Shiak, Chiak, but I think that you are right and the most appropriate is Chiac.


1 person has voted this message useful



This discussion contains 167 messages over 21 pages: << Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21  Next >>


Post ReplyPost New Topic Printable version Printable version

You cannot post new topics in this forum - You cannot reply to topics in this forum - You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum - You cannot create polls in this forum - You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page was generated in 0.3125 seconds.


DHTML Menu By Milonic JavaScript
Copyright 2019 FX Micheloud - All rights reserved
No part of this website may be copied by any means without my written authorization.