Wednesday, February 11, 2009

French is french, isn't it?

Last night I had an interesting instant message conversation with my colleague Anthony Moillic who works in Quest's Paris office. I vaguely remembered that the English phrase "draft beer" was different in Canadian French versus French French. When I was growing up in Montréal and Ottawa I remembered seeing signs in taverns advertising bière en fût - draft beer. However, the last time I was in Paris I recalled it being called something else.

I happened to have a call with some other Quest colleagues in Ottawa and asked them. Both the anglophones and the francophones said they'd only ever used "bière" (beer) or bière froide (cold beer). One friend jokingly said "The only word I've ever used is Molson - spoken like a true Canadian!

Of course, Anthony said it wasn't really referred to as bière en fût. I remembered "pression" and asked Anthony if that was it. Despite my mis-spelling in my instant message to him I had it right.

Since leaving Canada ten years ago I have barely spoken a word of French. I've forgotten so much. I'm really hoping that I will make up for that while we're in Paris. That said, I know there are a lot of words and phrases that are different between the two countries. Hopefully that won't cause me too many problems. I certainly don't want to resort to: Monsieur, une Heineken s'il vous plait!

In case you're interested, there's an interesting Wikipedia article on Quebec French (le français du Québec) that goes into some of the history of how the languages diverged.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.