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New course: Le québécois en 10 leçons

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s_allard
Triglot
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Canada
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Speaks: French*, English, Spanish
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 Message 65 of 167
25 October 2012 at 3:04pm | IP Logged 
To get back to the OP, I would like to explain why I recommended this book to my students. I think that a fair number of copies have been ordered. I haven't received my own copy yet.

I explain to my students that when one is learning to speak French (or any language) it is very important to be aware of the social register of the language one is using.

All languages have a register that is called slang or vernacular and contains forms that are marked as low-prestige, vulgar, obscene or uneducated. This is a very fuzzy area of language usage because social norms are always changing.

In our native languages we quickly develop an intuitive feel for what is socially acceptable or not. But in a foreign language, it is much more difficult.

All language teaching materials concentrate on the standard language that one can use in most situations. Only a tiny number of publications attempt to teach slang or popular usage to foreigners.

The reason is, of course, not only that much of this material is sensitive and can get the learner into trouble but that this kind of language tends to evolve quickly.

But it is important to recognize this kind of language because it exists. You will hear it even though you should use it with some caution. This is why I teach it to my students.

Even though I may quibble about the title and some of the contents, this work is important because it can be used as a resource for teaching students how to recognize and use the vernacular register of Québécois French.

Learners should learn to recognize this material in order to avoid most of it. In other words, I tell my students that they should use most of this material with care because most of it has very negative connotations. I would strongly discourage people from saying things like "moé pis toé" or "icitte" but it is important to recognize them and understand the social connotations.

I don't know if @Arekkusu's other chapters cover what is called diphthongs in popular Québécois speech. For example "mère" would be pronounced something like "maère." I strongly discourage people from learning this.

The utility of this work then is to educate the learner of Quebec French in what to avoid or use with caution. In other words, learn to recognize but use with great care.
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Arekkusu
Hexaglot
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Canada
bit.ly/qc_10_lec
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 Message 66 of 167
25 October 2012 at 3:22pm | IP Logged 
s_allard wrote:
I don't know if @Arekkusu's other chapters cover what is called diphthongs in popular Québécois speech. For example "mère" would be pronounced something like "maère." I strongly discourage people from learning this.

There is an 8-page section about pronunciation that does mention diphthongs. While I don't discuss it in great detail, I do say "Plus le registre est
soutenu, moins il y aura de diphtongaison".

Personally, and I think I'm typical of average educated speakers, I have complete control over diphthongs, in the sense that I use more in some contexts and less or none in other contexts. To say it's always inappropriate is a mistake, in my opinion.
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microsnout
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Canada
microsnout.wordpress
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 Message 67 of 167
25 October 2012 at 5:30pm | IP Logged 
s_allard wrote:
The utility of this work then is to educate the learner of Quebec French in what to avoid or use with
caution. In other words, learn to recognize but use with great care.

Is there not also a very substantial percentage of this book that can and should be adopted immediately and without
concern in order to avoid drawing attention - or worse "getting into trouble" as you say. For example using terms
like jaser, ma blonde, dépanneur, magasiner or not saying "si" to contradict negative questions.
2 persons have voted this message useful





emk
Diglot
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United States
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Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
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 Message 68 of 167
25 October 2012 at 5:34pm | IP Logged 
Arekkusu wrote:
There is an 8-page section about pronunciation that does mention diphthongs. While I don't discuss it in great detail, I do say "Plus le registre est
soutenu, moins il y aura de diphtongaison".

Personally, and I think I'm typical of average educated speakers, I have complete control over diphthongs, in the sense that I use more in some contexts and less or none in other contexts. To say it's always inappropriate is a mistake, in my opinion.


The better my French gets, the more I love watching Bon Cop, Bad Cop. It's fascinating watching how characters switch between English, European French and various varieties of Québéc French. Admittedly, a lot of it is being played for laughs, but there's a whole layer of humor based on how the different registers and languages interact. After spending some time with your book, I'm starting to catch more of the details—the way certain characters switch from "toi" to "toé" when they get angry, and just how much Colm Feore's European French sticks out.

Obviously, as with all informal language, students should probably wait to hear it in the wild before they use it themselves. And there's enormous variation between Montreal, Quebec City and Trois Rivières—the further I get from the two big cities, the more I run into well-educated people who can't remove the dipthongs from their speech. When we went to the beach this summer, I definitely wasn't hearing European French. And it would be nice to understand the baby sitter. :-)

So even if highly-educated office workers in Montreal would never say "moé" or "toé" in front of people from France (or so one of my in-laws tells me), it's definitely not the whole story.

So thank you for your book. I love having a big chunk of the Francophonie a few hours away, and the whole province is linguistically fascinating.

Edited by emk on 25 October 2012 at 5:34pm

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Arekkusu
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Canada
bit.ly/qc_10_lec
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 Message 69 of 167
25 October 2012 at 6:54pm | IP Logged 
microsnout wrote:
s_allard wrote:
The utility of this work then is to educate the learner of Quebec French in what to avoid or use with
caution. In other words, learn to recognize but use with great care.

Is there not also a very substantial percentage of this book that can and should be adopted immediately and without
concern in order to avoid drawing attention - or worse "getting into trouble" as you say. For example using terms
like jaser, ma blonde, dépanneur, magasiner or not saying "si" to contradict negative questions.

I agree with you microsnout, but I'm hoping s_allard meant that by having a wide range of possible language exposed in the book, he can then better guide his students as to what they should avoid or not. Still, I'm not sure to what extent a person should be telling a learner NOT to use language that is commonly used by native speakers, but in some cases, it's probably worth explaining exactly in which context it's more appropriate.
1 person has voted this message useful



Homogenik
Diglot
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Canada
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Studies: Polish, Mandarin

 
 Message 70 of 167
25 October 2012 at 6:56pm | IP Logged 
Oh, why don't you try to get it published by VLB Éditeur? I'm sure they would be interested. It would guarantee a
nice distribution of the book.
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s_allard
Triglot
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Canada
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Speaks: French*, English, Spanish
Studies: Polish

 
 Message 71 of 167
25 October 2012 at 9:50pm | IP Logged 
Arekkusu wrote:
microsnout wrote:
s_allard wrote:
The utility of this work then is to educate the learner of Quebec French in what to avoid or use with
caution. In other words, learn to recognize but use with great care.

Is there not also a very substantial percentage of this book that can and should be adopted immediately and without
concern in order to avoid drawing attention - or worse "getting into trouble" as you say. For example using terms
like jaser, ma blonde, dépanneur, magasiner or not saying "si" to contradict negative questions.

I agree with you microsnout, but I'm hoping s_allard meant that by having a wide range of possible language exposed in the book, he can then better guide his students as to what they should avoid or not. Still, I'm not sure to what extent a person should be telling a learner NOT to use language that is commonly used by native speakers, but in some cases, it's probably worth explaining exactly in which context it's more appropriate.

I think @Arekkusu pretty well summarizes my position. As I have said, the utility of this book is to show what can and what should not be used. I would certainly not object to jaser, ma blonde, dépanneur, etc. I simply say to my students that "moé", and "icitte", among other things, are negatively connoted.

What does this mean? It means that this manner of speaking is considered low-class and correlated with lack of education and good linguistic manners. Does that mean not to use it? I would say yes but if you insist, I would suggest that you do so with great care as to the appropriate context.

Learners of a foreign language have to very careful with this sort of stuff because we do not know all the subtle rules of linguistic etiquette. I have seen many a learner come out with a piece of vulgar French that they picked up on the street and thought was totally correct.

I'm not being prudish or puristic here. I'm simply saying that this book contains material that I think should be used with care by learners of French.

Isn't this what we do in English when we teach people slang? Many people say things like "We was waiting for the bus.", "I done finished cleaning"or "Yo, dude, wassup?" Or imagine a book that included something like "flatfoot" for police officer, an older form that has disappeared.

Or, if you read a book on French slang and you see things like "une nana" for a woman or "un poulet" for a police officer. Again, I would caution how you would use it today.

Or I may be wrong and people here believe that learners should not be told when to use or not use certain language forms.

I would be curious to see if @microsnout really says, "moé, cé microsnout pi ch't'icitte pour apprend' le frança." with a straight face.

When we say that things are commonly used by native speakers, I think we have to be a bit more precise. Many items in this book are used by all speakers, some are used by a small number and others are disappearing because they used primarily by older speakers. I think that it behooves us as teachers to tell our students how to use the language.


1 person has voted this message useful



Arekkusu
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Canada
bit.ly/qc_10_lec
Joined 3551 days ago

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Speaks: English, French*, GermanC1, Spanish, Japanese, Esperanto
Studies: Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Estonian

 
 Message 72 of 167
25 October 2012 at 9:57pm | IP Logged 
s_allard wrote:
Or I may be wrong and people here believe that learners should not be told when to use or not use certain language forms.

[...]

I think that it behooves us as teachers to tell our students how to use the language.

I think it's the teacher's job to try to teach it, and the student's duty to learn it on their own by using it. Plain old observation and trial and error. Every word in every language has a certain usage, context, connotation -- this stuff is simply impossible to teach systematically.


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