Archiver > QUEBEC-RESEARCH > 2003-10 > 1067491960

Subject: Re: Fw: [Q-R] translation help again please
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2003 00:32:44 EST

In a message dated 10/29/03 08:18:37 PM Eastern Standard Time,

> Hello - In the English schools we were taught Parisian French and when
> combining the language around the house and neighbourhood we learned a
> mixture of both. What would you say was the dialect that was used say in
> New Brunswick as I found it different from either Quebec or Paris types.
> Cheers Joyce Crete

When I was teaching French in High School in a certain city in New England,
the parents of some students would often ask "Do you teach Parisian French, or
Canadian French?" I would answer their one question with two of my own.
"Have you ever heard the ordinary people of Paris speak French?" and "How many
generations ago did your ancestors leave Quebec?" Invariably, the parents who
asked that question were of Quebecois ancestry. The answer to my first question
was always "No." The answer to my second question varied from "My parents
came here when I was a kid." to "My grandparents came here when my parents were
kids." So, my next question was "Do you ever listen to Radio Canada?" The
answer was usually "Yes". "To the hockey games, or to the good music programs?"
"Well, I listen to the hockey games, but the wife likes the good music
programs." "Do the hockey announcers speak the same language as the good music
announcers?" "No, they don't. Well, yes, they do, but their accent is different
- rougher - than the good music announcers."

"Mister Dubois , the difference between the hockey announcers and the good
music announcers is less a matter of dialect than of refinement. And the same
is true in Paris. The ordinary people of Paris speak French like the people
in Brooklyn or South Boston speak English. It is genuine, but unrefined.
Educated people, whether in Paris, in Montreal, in Brussels, in Algiers, or in
Abidjan, speak in accents that reflect their education, but retain some of the
local character of their places of origin. My purpose is to teach your sons and
daughters to speak refined, educated French, that can be understood by French
speaking people anywhere in the world. It may well be that their speech will
reflect their history - that they have been taught French up to now by
teachers whose accent reflect their Irish-American heritage. But, now that they're
in high school, we can polish their accents as well as their vocabulary, their
syntax, and their ability to engage in real conversation."

It is the second generation and third generation descendants of immigrants
who refuse to allow their children to learn the languages of their ancestors who
deprive the next generation of an important part of their cultural heritage.
I was reading earlier today that it is difficult to find French dictionaries
and French-English dictionaries in some places because French is no longer a
part of the high school curriculum. I was looking to replace a 20 year old
French-English dictionary and an even older Larousse Illustré a few weeks ago,
but Waldenbooks and Borders had neither on their shelves. It is a shame.

This response has been long, but I trust that it is not off-topic for this
forum. One of my 8G Grandfathers was Bernard Deniger dit Sansoucy, from
Bordeaux, in the Province of Guyenne. Some of his descendants are known as
"Denisha". On the other hand, another of my 8G Grandfathers was Jonathan Haynes of
Haverhill, Bay Colony, Province of New England. His son, captured and brought to
Quebec, was known thereafter as "Joseph Hains". In both cases, something is
lost in the translation. (And I know I'm not the only one who shares ancestry
with those two forebears.)

Fr. Owen Taggart

This thread: