Canadian French

Canadian French

infobox Language
name=Canadian French
nativename=Français canadien
states= Canada (especially Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick), smaller numbers in New England
speakers= (mother tongue) 7 million in Canada [Source: [ 2006 Census of Canada] Includes multiple responses.]
nation=Canada (as "French")

Canadian French is an umbrella term for the varieties of the French language used in Canada. French is the mother tongue of about 7 million Canadians (21% of the Canadian population, compared to 58% for English) [Source: [ 2006 Census of Canada] Includes multiple responses.] .

The name "Canadian French" does not refer to a single dialect, but is primarily an umbrella term for several distinct dialects.

* Quebec French is spoken in Quebec. Closely related varieties are spoken by francophone communities in Ontario, Western Canada, Labrador and even in the New England region of the United States, and differ primarily by their greater conservatism. The term "Laurentian French" has limited application as an umbrella term for these varieties, and "Quebec French", somewhat confusingly, is also used. The name "Canadian French" may also be used in some cases as essentially "synonymous" with this dialect when spoken outside of Quebec, but does not represent a distinct dialect. The overwhelming majority of francophone Canadians use this dialect.
* Métis French spoken in Manitoba, North Dakota and adjacent areas, alongside with the related but distinct mixed language Michif.
* Acadian French is spoken by the Acadians in some parts of the Canadian Maritimes. It is the reputed ancestor of Cajun French although this is disputed since Cajun is closer to Quebec French and Métis French than it is to Acadian.
* Brayon French, spoken by Brayons in the Bonaventure and Beauce-Appalaches regions of Quebec, the Madawaska region of New Brunswick and small pockets in the American state of Maine, seems phonologically close to Acadian French but is morphosyntactically identical with Quebec and Métis French.
* Newfoundland French is spoken by a limited population in Newfoundland. It is an endangered dialect — both Quebec French and Acadian French are now more widely spoken among francophones in Newfoundland and Labrador than the distinctively Newfoundland dialect is.

The term "Canadian French" was formerly used to refer specifically to Quebec French and the closely related varieties of Ontario and Western Canada descended from it. [Francard and Latin, in "Le régionalisme lexical", write: "Le français du Québec a rayonné en Ontario et dans l'ouest du Canada, de même qu'en Nouvelle-Angleterre. [...] Le français québécois et le français acadien peuvent être regroupés sous l'appellation plus large de "français canadien"², laquelle englobe aussi le français ontarien et le français de l'Ouest canadien. Ces deux derniers possèdent des traits caractéristiques qui leur sont propres aujourd'hui dans l'ensemble canadien et qui s'expliquent surtout par un phénomène de conservatisme, mais il s'agit de variétés qui sont historiquement des prolongements du français québécois." The footnote reads: "Il faut noter ici que le terme de "français canadien" avait autrefois un sens plus restreint, désignant le français du Québec et les variétés qui s'y rattachent directement, d'où l'emploi à cette époque de "canadianisme" pour parler d'un trait caractéristique du français du Québec."] This is presumably because Canada and Acadia were distinct parts of New France, and even British North America until 1867. However, the term "Canadian French" is now not usually felt to exclude Acadian French.

Phylogenetically, Québec French, Métis French and Brayon French are representatives of koiné French in the Americas whereas Acadian French and Newfoundland French are derivatives of non-koinesized local dialects in France. [Robert Fournier & Henri Wittmann. 1995. "Le français des Amériques". Trois-Rivières: Presses universitaires de Trois-Rivières.]


ee also

* French language in Canada
* Bilingualism in Canada
* Spoken languages of Canada

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