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Episode 55 – Associate Professor Cynthia Fox

Dr. Cynthia Fox sits down with Jesse with this for a really interesting episode, for multiple reasons. We’ve talked about the differences between Quebec French and France French but this week we’re studying French-Canadian French and how it can be different within the same state. Also she’ll touch on the Franco-American story of New York. Thanks for listening!

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One thought on “Episode 55 – Associate Professor Cynthia Fox

  1. Great podcast! However, a note about the French Canadian version of French being closer to the one from 17th century, 36 minutes into the podcast.

    It is true that after the 1760 British conquest, both languages diverged and evolved seperately. Most french canadians trace their heritage and their language from old Normandy. Meanwhile, the language spoken in all of France was unified after the French revolution in 1789, when it entered a “War on dialects” through its new public education system in an effort to encourage democracy. Two quotes from the 19th century stand out. One is from Théodore Pavie (1850), a frenchman who toured Canada:

    “Ils parlent un vieux français peu élégant; leur prononciation épaisse, dénuée d’accentuation ressemble pas mal à celle des Bas-Normands. En causant avec eux on s’aperçoit bien vite qu’ils ont été séparés de nous avant l’époque où tout le monde en France s’est mis à écrire et à discuter.”

    The other from J.-F.-M. Arnault Dudevant (1862), another traveller:

    “L’esprit canadien est resté français. Seulement on est frappé de la forme du langage, qui semble arriéré d’une centaine d’années. Ceci n’a certes rien de désagréable, car si les gens du peuple ont l’accent de nos provinces, en revanche, les gens du monde parlent un peu comme nos écrivains du XVIIIe siècle, et cela m’a fait une telle impression, dès le premier jour, qu’en fermant les yeux je m’imaginais être transporté dans le passé et entendre causer ces contemporains du marquis de Montcalm.”

    Therefore, Louis XV would most likely probably recognize the French spoken outside of Montreal or Quebec City, but would have found it to be very provincial and would have dismissed it as being of a lower class.

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