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French lessons in Montreal?


EZEtoGRU
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I am considering taking a 2-3 month intensive French course in Montreal next summer. Has anyone on the forum done this in Montreal? Any suggestions on a school/institute and/or short term housing options? I'll be back in Montreal in a few weeks and plan to dig into this further whilst there. Any suggestions in advance of that would be helpful. Merci!!

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I am considering taking a 2-3 month intensive French course in Montreal next summer. Has anyone on the forum done this in Montreal? Any suggestions on a school/institute and/or short term housing options? I'll be back in Montreal in a few weeks and plan to dig into this further whilst there. Any suggestions in advance of that would be helpful. Merci!!

 

I dont have any personal experience, but this website might be helpful.

 

http://www.nrcsa.com/index.jsp

 

Gman

Gman

 

In brightest day, in blackest night, No evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil's might, Beware my power, The Great Gazoo is always right!!!!

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I am considering taking a 2-3 month intensive French course in Montreal next summer. Has anyone on the forum done this in Montreal? Any suggestions on a school/institute and/or short term housing options? I'll be back in Montreal in a few weeks and plan to dig into this further whilst there. Any suggestions in advance of that would be helpful. Merci!!

 

When French Canadian TV shows or movies are shown in France, the French put French subtitles. Bear in mind that the difference between Canadian French and European French is greater than the difference between Castillian Spanish and Latin Spanish, and certainly more than the difference between British English and American English. Unless your intent is to learn French solely for the Canadian market, I would look for French lessons elsewhere. The Alliance Francaise, which Steven Drakar mentioned, is more likely to teach you a French which will be more widely understood.

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When French Canadian TV shows or movies are shown in France, the French put French subtitles. Bear in mind that the difference between Canadian French and European French is greater than the difference between Castillian Spanish and Latin Spanish, and certainly more than the difference between British English and American English. Unless your intent is to learn French solely for the Canadian market, I would look for French lessons elsewhere. The Alliance Francaise, which Steven Drakar mentioned, is more likely to teach you a French which will be more widely understood.

 

Yes I suppose there are differences between Canadian French and French French. The Montreal option would work for me as I would only a 1 hour 30 minute flight away from my aging parents. Whilst I enjoy travelling afar for 1-2 weeks, I cannot see myself staying 2-3 months in Europe given the distance/time to get back to my parents should they need me. I'll have to make the Montreal option work if I really do this. Having said that, both you and Steven have mentioned Alliance Francaise. I am now considering taking a course with them in Houston early next year prior to the Montreal thing.

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When French Canadian TV shows or movies are shown in France, the French put French subtitles. Bear in mind that the difference between Canadian French and European French is greater than the difference between Castillian Spanish and Latin Spanish, and certainly more than the difference between British English and American English. Unless your intent is to learn French solely for the Canadian market, I would look for French lessons elsewhere. The Alliance Francaise, which Steven Drakar mentioned, is more likely to teach you a French which will be more widely understood.
I can't comment on the differences in Spanish accents, but I have met a number of Frenchmen in Montreal; none had any trouble understanding Quebecois French (even those who were newly arrived). The sound shifts are consistent and easy to learn; the main issue is vocabulary, especially slang. Conversely, the Montrealais have no trouble with "French" French. It amuses me that when I speak French in Montreal, those who comment on my accent usually say something like "you sound very European." In France, it doesn't take long for them to peg me as American.

 

I met a (very cute!) Egyptian boy last July who was spending the summer in Montreal taking a French course. IIRC, it *was* a course in European French and was not the Alliance. I believe they threw in some local slang as well.

 

I would agree that the difference is greater than British vs. American English. But that may also have to do with how fast people speak. I often have trouble understanding an Australian friend who speaks very quickly. Similarly in Montreal -- I begin to have problems when people speak very quickly.

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I begin to have problems when people speak very quickly.

 

... you meant when people switch to their normal speaking rate. :)

 

The main differences between French in Canada and France, as the video below shows, is in the spoken language, pronunciation and some differences in the vocabulary.

 

[video=youtube;tF46rEE5yZU]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=tF46rEE5yZU#t=25

Edited by Steven_Draker
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As someone who has been speaking French and Spanish since birth I'd like to point out something. Yes the accents and a few words are different between the French spoken in Canada and parts of France (when you talk about French in France I'm thinking you mean Parisian French, I guarantee you that the French accent in other parts of France can be quite different) but the accents are as mutually intelligible as American English and Australian English, for example. As for Spanish, it is even less variable than the different accents in English and once again, there is a huge difference in the pronunciation of Spanish in various parts of Spain. Heck, 30% of the population of Spain doesn't even speak Spanish as a first language. What I'm thinking may be happening is that accommodating different accents may be harder for someone who doesn't have a good command of the language being spoken. I speak English very well (I think) but when I hear someone speaking with a heavy Irish, Scottish or Kiwi accent I have a heck of a time trying to understand them. If you learn French in Quebec it is hardly like you're wasting your time, after a few days in any other French speaking country you'll pick up on the accent.

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I speak English very well (I think) but when I hear someone speaking with a heavy Irish, Scottish or Kiwi accent I have a heck of a time trying to understand them. If you learn French in Quebec it is hardly like you're wasting your time, after a few days in any other French speaking country you'll pick up on the accent.

 

I'm sure your English is fine. As a native (American) English speaker, I can tell you that I have trouble with some of those accents too. I once spent a month in London, and I remember talking to a few people on the streets of London whom I asked for directions and had no idea what they said.

 

Wikipedia, which I realize is probably not a great source, says that formal language should not really be a problem. It's the local slang and some of the vocabulary. That's why, I'm assuming , the TV shows have subtitles. Comedies about modern life may be written in more of a local slang. But I'm betting the people watching probably understand most of what is being said. The subtitles probably just help the process.

 

Gman

Gman

 

In brightest day, in blackest night, No evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil's might, Beware my power, The Great Gazoo is always right!!!!

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Yes the accents and a few words are different between the French spoken in Canada and parts of France (...) but the accents are as mutually intelligible as American English and Australian English, for example.

 

I think this needs to be clarified. The differences between Quebec French and Metropolitan French go beyond just "accents" and a "few words".

 

"The differences in the two French dialects are as huge as the distance between France and Quebec. The language construction, vocabulary and pronunciation are all starkly different. Quebec French is generally categorized under Canadian French, which includes other French dialects used in Canada. The Canadian French dialect is older than the current France French dialect, as it grew only gradually in popularity outside of France, and it was more in isolation as it was surrounded by the predominant American English."

 

- Quebec French has a nasal pronunciation, while France French has a ‘front-mouth’ pronunciation.

- In Quebec French, the melody of speech rises at the end of sentences, while in France French, the melody rises and falls during the sentence.

- France French incorporates many English words, unlike Quebec French.

 

source: http://www.differencebetween.net/language/difference-between-quebec-french-and-france-french/#ixzz2kMWKJJUT

 

PS: Personally I don't understand everything when I watch a French Canadian TV show, hence the subtitles. As the video pointed out it's in the spoken language that the differences come out !

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There's a reason for the subtitles. French Canadians watch a lot of TV produced in France, so they have a lot of exposure to the accent. The opposite isn't true. By the same token I learned Portuguese in Lisbon, but have no problem understanding Brazilians because of the huge amount of Brazilian TV shown in Portugal, but it takes a while for Brazilians to understand Con tinental Portuguese. That being said I've never seen a native speaker who didn't adjust rapidly. By the way this applies to French in Quebec. The Acadian French I heard in New Brunswick was more difficult to understand and had a lot of English words.

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There is also a problem with Castilian Spanish vs. Mexican Spanish. Although the grammar is essential the same (they do handle the subjunctive somewhat differently) the vocabulary, cadence and pronunciation are definitely not. Then add to the mix that the Spaniards are, more than a little, condescending regarding Mexican Spanish. I learned Spanish in Mexico and have lived there as well as in Central American. I just recently returned from three weeks in Madrid and Northern Spain. Only by the end of the trip was I beginning to feel comfortable understanding people but rapidly became weary of their snide remarks about my being from Mexico.

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..."The differences in the two French dialects are as huge as the distance between France and Quebec. The language construction, vocabulary and pronunciation are all starkly different...."
My initial reaction to this quote was that "starkly different" is a gross exaggeration. I think I understand what's at the base of the differing opinions posters to this thread have; it's the difference between having a conversation with someone and listening to a conversation between 2 natives. There are few problems of mutual intelligibility when I'm an active part of the conversation. There's probably less slang and some speed adjustments. The non-slang Quebecisms (like dejeuner, diner, souper) are no more an issue than, say, "lift" for "elevator." A long, rapid conversation between 2 natives, on the other hand, can sometimes leave me feeling that I've missed some essential points.

 

...- Quebec French has a nasal pronunciation, while France French has a ‘front-mouth’ pronunciation.

- In Quebec French, the melody of speech rises at the end of sentences, while in France French, the melody rises and falls during the sentence.

- France French incorporates many English words, unlike Quebec French.

None of these items is a "stark" difference and all have their equivalents in different "dialects" of English.

 

By the way, the amount of nasalization, diphthongization, and change of sentence intonation varies greatly within Quebec, depending a lot on variables such as location, social class, etc.

 

In any case, I think we've gotten far from EZE's original query. We know from his posts that he visits Montreal frequently. So for him, in fact, it might be better to learn Quebecois and make the (quite easy, as I've been arguing) adjustments when he goes to Europe.

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Yes the accents and a few words are different between the French spoken in Canada and parts of France (...)

but the accents are as mutually intelligible as American English and Australian English

 

Really? Are American movies subtitled in Australia and vice versa?

 

... after a few days in any other French speaking country you'll pick up on the accent.

 

If this was even remotely true, there wouldn't be subtitles on French Canadian TV shows and movies shown in France.

 

Even native French Canadian speakers confirm that when they visit France: pay closer attention to 10:27 mark on the video below.

 

[video=youtube;dw5Re7k1KBA]

 

Someone who claims to be fluent in French and have a minimum of international experience with French language should know that les différences ne sont pas minces.

 

In the end and going back to the original question, we agree at least on one point: learning French in Montreal wouldn't be a waste of time. The language skills acquired will come handy on both sides of the Atlantic. Go for it, EZE and as the French say Bonne chance ! :)

 

Quebec French: Je m'ennuie de Montréal

Metropolitan French: Montréal me manque

English: I miss Montreal

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There is also a problem with Castilian Spanish vs. Mexican Spanish. Although the grammar is essential the same (they do handle the subjunctive somewhat differently) the vocabulary, cadence and pronunciation are definitely not. Then add to the mix that the Spaniards are, more than a little, condescending regarding Mexican Spanish. I learned Spanish in Mexico and have lived there as well as in Central American. I just recently returned from three weeks in Madrid and Northern Spain. Only by the end of the trip was I beginning to feel comfortable understanding people but rapidly became weary of their snide remarks about my being from Mexico.

 

I traveled Mexico and Central America with a band in high school/college. (You know, back when dirt was new.) I could always carry on semi-fluent conversations in central and northern Mexico, but by the time I started getting to the south I was getting a little lost. In Guatemala I couldn't understand a frigging word until I'd been there a day or so to get it in my ear.

 

Of course I'm often given pause in the Deep South of the US, too. I'm not accustomed to words like 'yes' having more than one syllable. :cool:

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well as the saying goes a language is a dialect with an army behind it. Steven, if the subtitles were needed they would appear in French Canada when a movie from France is shown - they don't. Folks a lot of this stuff is politics, not linguistics. When a country like Portugual looses its power and becomes third rate a natural reaction is to make fun of the way the former colony now speaks - but the fact is that Brazilian Portugeuse is now much more important, in much the same way that American English is now the driving force in English. As for Spanish, next time you're in Barcelona ask them which is better, Spanish or Catalan. And which Spanish are you referring to? The Spanish in Valencia does not use the lisp, and the Spanish in the Canary Island sounds like Cuban Spanish, but they are all as old and worthy as Castilian. All languages are equally good and ALL living languages evolve. The lisp in Castilian, the upper class English "A" are all recent affectations. So long as mutual intelligibility is above a certain level they are the same language. Economic will determine which is important. Being a language snob and saying that one is better than the other is at best elitist, at worst racist.

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Being a language snob and saying that one is better than the other is at best elitist, at worst racist.

 

I'm afraid, you missed my point. Please refer me to the phrase where I said that one is better than the other.

You clearly do not know me or do not know my views to even remotely suggest something like that.

 

You pointed out that the "small" differences between Quebec French and France French are merely in the "accent" and "a few words" and I called you on that.

 

I brought here several examples that both languages have multiple signs of asymmetrical intelligibility (and not mutual intelligibility).

 

I love Montreal and I love the people of Quebec, but unfortunately I don't always understand when a Quebecker talks to me. This is merely an observation and not passing judgment that one language is better than the other.

 

Have a nice day, gentlemen.

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