15 French Canadian Words English People Always Get Wrong
In Montreal the language is fascinating.
The French use English words, the English use French words and both groups use weird bilingual mutant words.
But since we live in Montreal there are lots of people, places, restaurants and things that have French names with no English equivalent.
At that point, English speakers are forced to attempt to pronounce words that contain sounds or spellings which they are simply unable to decipher, so they just imitate the sounds as best they can.
Sometimes we pronounce the silent letter in the words even though we know they are silent in French. Like how English speakers pronounce the last D in Dollard-des-Ormeaux.
We polled a number of people to ask them which words they've heard Anglophone Montrealers use improperly and the results were pretty entertaining:
City and Borough Names
Even radio announcers in Montreal can't agree on how to say this correctly. I've heard "Long-oyle", "Long-oy", "Long-oyle" and everything in between.
Are we supposed to translate to the English version: "Lie-uh-nul", or do we say "Lee-Oh-Nell"? Even if we figure that part out, how the hell does "Groulx" end up sounding like "Grew"?
Sault Aux Recollets
So many silent letters. You wonder how many hours the French waste writing letters they will never actually pronounce. Anglos either say it "soo-oo-ray-co-lay", "soo-oo-ray-co-lets" "salt-oh-ray-co-lay" or "salt-oh-ray-co-lets".
It's weird because this place is in the West Island which is mostly Anglophone. Yet, they still say "peer-fun", "peer-fon" or "pyeer-fon".
That goddamn "Euille" again. There's just no equivalent sound in English. I'm trying to write it phonetically but I'm stumped. The closest Anglos get is saying: "vo-drooy" or "vo-droy".
The french "R" is really unique. It's not quite like rolling your "R's", it's much more subtle and Anglophones just can't seem to master it. So they either give up and say "tra-ree-vee-air" or they overkill by saying "troo-aa-ree-vee-air"
Yes, this translates to oatmeal. But I simply had to include it on the list because when I asked around, this was the first answer I got. If I wasn't bilingual I would just give up seeing this word written on a menu.
Again there are "crescents", but that's just some crappy adaptation. Montreal anglophones however don't use this short-cut and instead insist on saying "croissant" the right way. Unfortunately it usually sounds like: "cra-son" or "croo-ah-son". Still, A for effort.
I should have just lumped all the words with "euille" in the same category. Go ahead, write this down and ask an anglophone to read it out loud.
Wine in general leads to many hilarious mispronunciations, like "Chablis". But the pronunciation "G" in "Sauvignon" and the "C" in "Blanc" just makes me laugh every-time.
Restaurants and Places
Juliette et Chocolat
My personal favorite because I simply love when Anglophones try to say "Chocolate" with a French accent. They stretch it out so much it sounds like: "Shaw-caw-law".
People seem to have mastered the "L'Gros" part. But "luxe" is so hard to pronounce I can't even write it down phonetically. The closest I've heard was "lux" and "loox".
This word is on the list for a unique reason. It is so elegant in French, but in English if you try to pronounce it properly it just sounds horribly wrong. Want to go "tear ass" on the "terrasse"?
When I polled people in my office. My co-worker Vanessa de Montigny immediately said: "my name!" Apparently not a single English person has ever managed to say her name right. Is it "mon-tig-nee"?
I ... I can't even.