Quebec English encompasses the English dialects (both native and non-native) of the predominantly French-speaking Canadian province of Quebec. There are few distinctive phonological features and very few restricted lexical features common among English-speaking Quebecers. The native English speakers in Quebec generally align to Standard Canadian English, one of the largest and most relatively homogeneous dialects in North America. This standard English accent is common in Montreal, where the vast majority of Quebec's native English speakers live. English-speaking Montrealers have, however, established ethnic groups that retain certain lexical features: Irish, Jewish, Italian, and Greek communities that all speak discernible varieties of English. Isolated fishing villages on the Basse-Côte-Nord of Quebec speak Newfoundland English, and many Gaspesian English-speakers use Maritime English. Francophone speakers of Quebec (including Montreal) also have their own second-language English that incorporates French accent features, vocabulary, etc. Finally, the Kahnawake Mohawks of south shore Montreal and the Cree and Inuit of Northern Quebec speak English with their own distinctive accents, usage, and expressions from their indigenous languages.

Quebec Anglophone English

The following are native-English (anglophone) phenomena unique to Quebec, particularly studied in Montreal English and spoken by the Quebec Anglophone minority in the Montreal area. Before the 1970s, minority-language English had the status of a co-official language in Quebec.


Anglophone Montreal speaks Standard Canadian English, which has the Canadian Vowel Shift and Canadian raising, with some additional features: *Resistance to the merry–marry merger: unlike the rest of typical North American English, Montreal English tends to maintain the distinction in words like ''Mary/merry'' versus ''marry'', ''perish'' versus ''parish'', and ''Erin'' versus ''Aaron''. The vowels remain, as in traditional East-Coast American English and often British English, and , respectively. *The vowel is relatively backed. *The "short ''a''" or vowel is not raised before as elsewhere in Canada, but it is raised somewhat before for ethnic British and Irish Montrealers. Among other ethnicities, such as Jewish Montrealers, there may be no raising of the vowel in any context. *The following vowel sounds are linguistically-conservative: the sets of vowels represented by the words (back and monophthongal), (monophthongal), and (back).


Quebec English is heavily influenced by English and French. The phrases / words below show the variation of meaning in the Quebec English dialect. Delay: an amount of time given before a deadline. "I was given a delay of 2 weeks before my project was due". An Animator: is not an artist but is someone who meets and entertains children. In most of Canada, a sweet carbonated beverage is commonly referred to as a "pop," but in Montreal, it is a "soda" or "soft drink." A Formation - this word in English would normally mean a routine stance used in a professional formation. (i.e. The men stood in formation). In Quebec a Formation is a reference to an education. A Pass - this phrase originates from Italian speakers, the word "Pass" is often used in phrases such as "I am going to pass by a friend on the way to the movies". The phrase is comparatively used when you are already completing one action but can squeeze in another action on the way to your destination. In standard English, the phrase "Your bus will pass in 2 minutes" would mean that your are about to miss your bus or that you have already missed your bus. Alternatively in Montreal the phrase "Pass" can also mean to arrive or stop as a way to show that the action will happen in a relatively short time frame. Example: "Your bus will pass in 2 minutes". Locations within the city are also commonly described using syntax borrowed from French. If a building is at the corner of St. Catherine and Peel streets in downtown Montreal, it may be described as being “on St. Catherine, corner Peel.” This is parallel to the French expression, “Ste. Catherine, coin Peel,” or “angle Peel.”

French-language toponyms

English-speakers commonly use French-language toponyms and official names for local institutions and organizations with no official English names. The names are pronounced as in French, especially in broadcast media. Examples include the Régie du logement, the Collège de Maisonneuve, Québec Solidaire, the Parti québécois, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, and Trois-Rivières. ''Pie-IX'' (as in the boulevard, bridge and subway station) is pronounced or , but never pronounced “pie nine”. On the other hand, a final written consonant may be included or added in pronunciation if a historic English-language name and pronunciation exists among Anglophone or English-dominant Allophone communities that are associated with particular neighbourhoods. Examples are "Bernar''d'' Street," which in French is known as ''rue Bernard''. ''Montreal'' is always pronounced mɐntʃɹiˈɒl following its historic official English-language name, but ''Quebec'' is pronounced or sometimes . English-speakers generally pronounce the French ''Saint-'' (m.) and ''Sainte-'' (f.) in street and place names as the English word "saint"; however, Saint-Laurent (the former city, now a borough of Montreal) can be pronounced as in Quebec French or with the English R, but Saint Lawrence Boulevard can be said as ''Saint-Laurent'' (silent ''t'') or as the original English name, ''Saint Lawrence''. Sainte-Foy is pronounced . ''Saint-Denis'' is often pronounced or . Verdun, as a place name, has the expected English-language pronunciation, , but English-speakers from Verdun traditionally pronounce the eponymous street name as . Saint-Léonard, a borough of Montreal, is pronounced or "Saint-Lee-o-nard" (anglisized pronunciation). Some French-language place names are very difficult for English speakers to say without adopting a French accent, such as Vaudreuil, Belœil, and Longueuil in which pronunciation of the segment (spelled "euil" or "œil") is a challenge and so most often pronounced as , and or less often . Used by both Quebec-born and outside English-speakers, acronyms with the letters pronounced in English, not French, rather than the full name for Quebec institutions and some areas on Montreal Island are common, particularly if the English-language names are or were official. For instance, ''SQ'' → Sûreté du Québec (pre-Bill 101: ''QPP'' → ''Quebec Provincial Police'', as it once was); ''NDG'' → Notre-Dame-de-Grâce; ''DDO'' → Dollard-des-Ormeaux; ''TMR'' → Town of Mount Royal, the bilingual town's official English name. *English toponyms in place of French (nonstandard when written): Older generations of English-speaking Montrealers are more likely to informally use traditional English toponyms that vary from official, French-language toponyms. In a notable generational distinction, it is uncommon among younger English-speaking Quebecers. Examples include ''Pine Avenue'', ''Park Avenue'', ''Mountain Street'', ''Dorchester Blvd.'', ''St. James Street'' – often used without St., Blvd., Ave., Rd., etc. (names for the designations "avenue des Pins", "av. du Parc", "rue de la Montagne", "boulevard René-Lévesque", "rue St-Jacques"; the English-language official designations have reputedly been revoked, but evidence for that is difficult to find); ''Guy'' and ''Saint Catherine'' Streets; ''Town of Mount Royal'', as it was chartered, and the charter has not been revoked; and ''Pointe Claire'' (pronounced or with English T and R and typography, instead of official "Pointe-Claire" with the French accent).

French loanwords

The use of a limited number of Quebec French terms for everyday place nouns (and occasional items) that have English equivalents; all of them are pronounced with English pronunciations or have undergone English clippings or abbreviations and so are regarded as ordinary English terms by Quebecers. At times, some of them tend to be preceded by ''the'' in contexts in which they would normally have ''a/an''. :''autoroute'' instead of expressway :''branché'' instead of trendy (colloquia

:''chansonnier'' instead of songwriter :''chez nous'' instead of "tour place" :the ''dep'' – instead of corner, variety, or convenience store; from ''dépanneur'' :''coordinates'' instead of contact information :''fonctionnaire'' or instead of civil servant :''formation'' instead of training :the ''gallery'' – instead of balcony :the ''guichet'' – instead of bank machine, even when all ATMs are labelled "ATM"; :''malaise'' - instead of malady or ailment :''marché'' – market :the ''métro'' (or ''metro'') instead of the subway; from the French ''chemin de fer métropolitain''; ''metro'' is used outside Canada, though, as in the Washington metro :''nappe'' – a tablecloth :''poutine'' – French fries with gravy and cheddar cheese curds :''primary one, two, three'', in contrast to Canadian English ''grade one, two,'' etc. :''resto'' – restaurant :the ''SAQ '' – the official name of the government-run monopoly liquor stores (pronounced "ess-ay-cue" or "sack"), the Société des alcools du Québec. That usage is similar to that in other provinces, like in neighbouring Ontario, where LCBO liquor stores are referred to as the "lick-bo" (for Liquor Control Board of Ontario). :''stage'' – apprenticeship or internship, pronounced as :''subvention'' – government grant or subsidy. The word exists in both French and English, but it is rarely heard in Canadian English outside Quebec. :''terrasse'' – the French pronunciation and spelling of the translation for 'terrace' is common among anglophones in casual speech and is considered acceptable in semiformal expression such as journalism. :''undertaking'' – ''business'' or ''enterprise''

Pronunciation of French names

The pronunciation of French-language first and last names uses mostly-French sounds may be mispronounced by speakers of other languages. For example, the pronounced "r" sound and the silent "d" of "Bouchar''d''" may be both pronounced: . French-speakers and Quebec English-speakers are more likely to vary such pronunciations, depending on the manner in which they adopt an English phonological framework. That includes names like ''Mario Lemieux'', ''Marie-Claire Blais'', ''Jean Charest'', ''Jean Chrétien'', ''Robert Charlebois'', and ''Céline Dion''.

Quebec Francophone English

Francophone second-language speakers of English use an interlanguage with varying degrees, ranging from French-accented pronunciation to Quebec Anglophone English pronunciation. High-frequency second-language phenomena by francophones, allophones, and other non-native-speakers occur in the most basic structures of English, both in and outside of Quebec. Commonly called "Frenglish" or "franglais", such phenomena are a product of interlanguage, calques, or mistranslation and thus may not constitute so-called "Quebec English" to the extent that they can be conceived of separately, particularly since such phenomena are similar for Francophone-speakers of English throughout the world, which leaves little to be specific to Quebec.


Francophones speaking English often pronounce / instead of /, and some also pronounce for the phoneme , and some mispronounce some words, some pronounce a full vowel instead of a schwa, such as for ''message''. Since French-speakers greatly outnumber English-speakers in most regions of Quebec, it is more common to hear French in public. Some Anglophones in overwhelmingly-Francophone areas use some of the features (especially the replacement of and by and , but their English is remarkably similar to that of other varieties of English in Canada (Poplack, Walker, & Malcolmson 2006 ).

Other speakers

There is also a pronunciation (''NP'') of the phoneme as /n/ + /ɡ/ (among some Italian Montrealers) or /n/ + /k/ (among some Jewish Montrealers, especially those who grew up speaking Yiddish), such as by high degrees of ethnic connectivity within, for instance, municipalities, boroughs, or neighbourhoods on Montreal Island, such as Saint-Léonard and Outremont/Côte-des-Neiges/Côte Saint-Luc. Such phenomena occur as well in other diaspora areas such as New York City.

Vocabulary and grammar

*The use of French collocations (''NS''): :''Close'' the TV – Turn/shut off the TV. :''Close'' the door. – Lock the door. :''Open'' the light. – Turn on the lights. :''Close'' the light. – Turn off the lights. :''Take'' a decision. – Make a decision. (NB "Take" is the older British version. Compare French ''Prends/Prenez une décision'') :''Put'' your coat. – Put your coat on (from French ''Mets ton manteau/Mettez votre manteau''). :''Pass'' someone money. – Lend someone money. :''Pass'' the vacuum. – Run the vacuum (or do the vacuuming) *The use of French grammar (''NS''): Many of these constructions are grammatically correct but only out of context. It is both the calquing and linguistic transfer from French and the betrayed meanings that make these sentences foreign to English. :He ''speak/talk'' to me yesterday. – He spoke/talked to me yesterday. (verb tense) :''Me, I'' work in Laval. – I work in Laval. (vocal stress on "I". From French ''Moi, je travaille à Laval''.) :''It/He have'' many books. – There are many books. (from French ''il y a'' meaning "there is/are") :I like ''the'' beef and ''the'' red wine. – I like beef and red wine. (overuse of definite article to mean "in general". From French ''J'aime le bœuf et le vin rouge''.) :''You speak French?'' – Do you speak French? (absence of auxiliary verb; otherwise it means surprise, disbelief or disappointment when out of context) :''We were/are four.'' – There were/are four of us. (from French "nous sommes" and "nous étions") :''We're Tuesday'' – It's Tuesday. (from French "nous sommes") :I ''don't'' find my keys. – I can’t find my keys. (lack of English modal auxiliary verb) :At this moment I ''wash'' the dishes. – I’m washing the dishes right now. (verbal aspect) :I can't join you at this moment because ''I eat''. – I can't join you right now because I'm eating. (verbal aspect) :My computer, ''he don’t'' work. – My computer won’t work. (human pronoun, subject repetition, uninflected auxiliary verb) :I would like a ''brownies''. – Could I have a brownie? (plural –s thought to be part of the singular word in relexification process; other examples: "a Q-tips", "a pins", "a buns", "a Smarties", "a Doritos", etc.) :I would like ''shrimps'' with ''broccolis''. – Could I have some shrimp and broccoli? (use of regular plural instead of English unmarked plural or non-count noun; this is not a case of hypercorrection but of language transfer). :''Do'' you ''want'' to wash the dishes? – Will/would you wash the dishes? (lack of English modal verb; modal ''vouloir'' from French instead – ''Voulez-vous faire la vaisselle?'') :We have to ''go in by'' downstairs – We have to go in downstairs (via the non-standard French 'entrer par') :You're going to ''broke'' it! – You're going to break it! (mixing of homonymic French tenses; "cassé", past, versus "casser", infinitive) *False cognates or ''faux-amis'' (''NS''): This practice is quite common, so much so that those who use them abundantly insist that the false cognate is the English term even outside of Quebec. Note that these French words are all pronounced using English sounds and harbour French meanings. While the possibilities are truly endless, this list provides only the most insidious false cognates found in Quebec. :''a stage'' – an internship (pronounced as in French, from the French word for internship, "un stage".) :''Cégep'' (''cégep''; ''collégial'', ''cégepien'') – the acronym of the public college network preceding university in Quebec. :''Chinese pâté'' or – shepherd's pie (''pâté chinois''; Quebeckers' pâté chinois is similar to shepherd's-pie dishes associated with other cultures) :''a cold plate'' – some cold-cuts (reversed gallicism – ''assiette de viandes froides'') :''coordinates'' – for address, phone number, e-mail, etc. :''(a) salad'' – (a head of) lettuce :''a subvention'' – a (government) grant :''a parking'' – a parking lot/space :''a location'' – a rental :''a good placement'' – a good location :''That's it.'' – That is correct. (from ''C'est ça.'') :''all-dressed pizza'' – a deluxe pizza with pepperoni, mushrooms and green peppers (from ''pizza toute garnie.'') :''soup, two times'' – two soups, or two orders of soup (from "deux fois.") Few anglophone Quebeckers use many such false cognates, but most understand such high-frequency words and expressions. Some of these cognates are used by many francophones, and others by many allophones and anglophone accultured in allophone environments, of varying English proficiencies, from the bare-minimum level to native-speaker level.

See also

* English-speaking Quebecer * Quebec French * Canadian English * Franglais



External links

Bill 199
Charter of the French and English Languages {{English official language clickable map Category:Canadian English * Category:Dialects of English Category:English language in Canada Category:Languages of Canada