Understanding Canadian English And French

Understanding Canadian English And French
Canada is a country with two official languages, French and English. This is due to the fact that the eastern half of the country was originally settled by French fur traders, and the British came along soon after and colonised the rest of the country. But today, English is by far the most dominant language used on the streets and in government.

French is the main language in Quebec province, one of Canada's most popular travel destinations. When visiting Montreal or Quebec City, as well as most of the province's smaller towns it will be more common to hear French than English. It's a unique dialect to the region, known as Québécois, but most French speakers should have no trouble communicating.

When visiting this part of eastern Canada you should be prepared to speak some basic French if you want to have a comfortable experience. The Quebec residents are fiercely proud of their French heritage and often refuse to speak English to visitors. If you throw out a few easy French phrases it will give you a better chance of supplementing the communication with English (which everyone in Quebec can actually speak).

Perhaps the most unique affectation of Canadian English is the use of eh on the end of most questions. This is something you will come to adjust to after a couple of days in Canada since nearly everyone uses it. But for the most part, the English used across Canada is very similar to that of America.

The only differences in English will come from the provinces. The Maritimes in the far east of the country have very unique dialects that can be tricky to understand. When visiting Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Labrador it may feel that sentences are mumbled or slurred. This is not your imagination. Maritimers, as they are known, speak English with a heavy round accent that does sound a lot like mumbling. They also have a slew of local terms they used akin to the eh on the end of questions. For example, in Nova Scotia they might use a whuh instead of eh to end their questions.

On the west coast in British Columbia and throughout the central Plains region the English is more like traditional American English. The indigenous people of the first nations have a fairly heavy accent when they speak English but it isn't too difficult to understand. Most Canadians speak English slower than you might expect. This is particularly true in the rural parts of the country. In big cities like Toronto they'll speak at a normal speed for the most part.