How Come Canadians Speak French?

Canada has two official languages – English and French. We all know that Canada is a federal parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy. Elizabeth II has been Queen of Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia for half a century already. So it is logical that Canadians speak English. But a lot of people speak French as well. For the record, it is a mother tongue for more than seven million citizens in Canada which is equivalent to 20 percent of the total population. The majority of native French speakers live in Quebec, the second-most populous province. Why is that?

shutterstock_59478781It all started with a French colony

In order to find the answer, we should look back in time. Canada had been inhabited by various Aboriginal peoples, until the first European colony was established in 1534. It was a French colony. Explorer Jacques Cartier planted a big cross in the area of the Saint Lawrence River and took possession of the territory in the name of King Francis I. It was called “The Colony of Canada”. France and Great Britain were competing for the land, and 49 years later the first English colony was founded. Today Canada is a multicultural state. Universities offer different programs, for example, bachelor of business in Canada, both in English and French.

Is Canadian French different?

Differences between American and British English are well known. What about differences between French language spoken in Canada and France? Of course, they exist as well, and the first one is pronunciation – the biggest difference feels in vowels. Vocabulary is a bit different too. For example, in Canadian French there are words with Aboriginal influence. Besides, Québécois like to use more English words in everyday use, which is obviously not the case for French people. In general, there are many varieties of Canadian French – Quebec, Acadian, Newfoundland, Brayon, etc. They all have their own peculiarities.