Quebec English - First-language English-speaker Phenomena in Montreal

First-language English-speaker Phenomena in Montreal

1. The use of French-language toponyms and official names of institutions/organizations which have no official English names; this is probably not a uniquely Quebec phenomenon, though, so much as the practice of calling a thing by its name. Though not normally italicized in English written documents, these Quebec words are pronounced as in French, especially in broadcast media. Note that the reverse language status situation holds true when using French in a province such as British Columbia, where many of the province's entities have a designation only in English.

the Régie du Logement, the Collège de Maisonneuve
Québec Solidaire, the Parti Québécois
Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Trois-Rivières

Particular cases: Pie-IX (as in the boulevard, bridge and métro station) is pronounced /piˈnœf/ or /piːˈnʌf/ ("pea nuf"), not as "pie nine". On the other hand, sometimes a final written consonant is included or added in pronunciation, where an historic English-language name and pronunciation exists among Anglophone or English-dominant Allophone communities associated with particularly neighbourhoods – such as for "Bernard", which in French is known as rue Bernard. Montreal is always pronounced as an English word, following its historic official English-language name. English-speakers generally pronounce the French Saint- (m.) and Sainte- (f.) in street and place names as the English "saint"; however, Saint-Laurent (the former city, now a borough of Montreal) can be pronounced as in Quebec French /sẽlɔʀã/, whereas Saint Lawrence Boulevard can be pronounced as "/sẽlɔʀã/" (silent t) or as the original English name, Saint Lawrence. Sainte-Foy is pronounced "saint-fwa" /seɪntˈfwa/ not "saint-foy" /seɪntˈfɔɪ/, which would be used elsewhere in English-speaking North America. Saint-Denis is often pronounced on the Saint model with a silent s in Denis, or as "Saint Dennis". Verdun, as a place name, has the expected English-language pronunciation, /vəɹˈdʌn/, while English-speakers from Verdun traditionally pronounce the eponymous street name as "Verd'n", /ˈvɜɹdn/. Saint-Léonard, a borough of Montreal, is pronounced "Saint-Lee-o-nard" /ˌseɪnt lioʊˈnɑɹd/, which is reputedly neither English nor French.

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 where the English-language names either are or, historically, were official. For instance, SQ → Sûreté du Québec (pre-Bill 101: QPPQuebec 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.

Finally, some French place names are very difficult for English-speakers to say without adopting a French accent, such that those proficient in French nonetheless choose an English pronunciation rather than accent-switching. Examples are Vaudreuil, Belœil and Longueuil in which pronunciation of the segment /œj/ (spelled "euil" or "œil") is a challenge. These are most often pronounced as "voh-droy" /voʊˈdrɔɪ/, "bel-oy" /bɛˈlɔɪ/ and "long-gay" /lɔŋˈɡeɪ/ or less often "long-gale" /lɔŋˈɡeɪl/.

2. N@ (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, this is uncommon among younger English-speaking Quebecers.

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, although evidence for this is difficult to find)
Guy and Saint Catherine Streets
Town of Mount Royal, as it was chartered, which charter has not been revoked
Pointe Claire (English pronunciation and typography, instead of official "Pointe-Claire")

3. The use of limited number of Quebec French terms for everyday places (and occasional items) that have English equivalents; all of these are said using English pronunciation or have undergone an English clipping or abbreviation, such that they are regarded as ordinary English terms by Quebeckers. Some of them tend sometimes to be preceded by the definite article in contexts where they could normally take a(n).

autoroute instead of expressway
branché instead of trendy (colloquial)
chez nous instead of "where we live"
the dep – instead of corner, variety, or convenience store; from dépanneur
the gallery – instead of balcony
the guichet – instead of bank machine, even when all ATMs are labelled "ATM";
the SAQ – the official name of the government-run monopoly liquor stores (pronounced "ess-ay-cue" or "sack"), the Société des alcools du Québec. This usage is similar to that in other provinces, such as in neighbouring Ontario where LCBO liquor stores are referred to as the "lick-bo" (for Liquor Control Board of Ontario).
marché – market
the metro – like the SAQ, this practice consists of calling a thing by its proper name, making it particularly unremarkable; the Paris metro is pronounced similarly, as is the Washington D.C. metro and so on.
poutine – french fries with gravy and cheddar cheese curds
primary one, two, three, in contrast to Canadian English grade one, two, etc.
resto – restaurant
stage – apprenticeship or internship, pronounced somewhat as in French
terrasse – the French pronunciation of 'terrace' is common among anglophones in casual speech yet considered incorrect in formal speech. Spelling remains as in English.
undertakingbusiness or enterprise
subvention – government grant or subsidy. The word exists in both French and English, but is rarely heard in Canadian English.

4. French-language first and last names using mostly French sounds. Such names may be mispronounced by non-French-speakers, for instance a first-syllable stress or silent-d pronunciation in Bouchard --> /buːˈʃɑrd/. French speakers, as are most Quebec English speakers, are on the other hand more likely to vary pronunciation of this type depending on the manner in which they adopt an English phonological framework.

Mario Lemieux
Marie-Claire Blais
Jean Charest
Jean Chrétien
Robert Charlebois
Céline Dion

This importation of French-language syllabic stresses and phonemes into an English phonological framework may be regarded as interlanguage or translation.

5. A limited number of lexical and phonological features that are more or less limited to Montreal. For example, in most of Canada, carbonated beverages are commonly referred to as "pop", whereas in Montreal they are known as "soft drinks". Also, Montrealers tend not to tense the vowel before nasal consonants, unlike most other (urban) Canadians, so that the vowel sound in "man" is more or less the same as the vowel in "mat", rather than being higher and fronter (cf. Boberg 2004).

6. Certain English-language grammatical improprieties:

"in hospital" rather than "in the hospital"

Read more about this topic:  Quebec English

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