French or Canadian?
Hi, my name is Julien.
I’ve just had a discussion with my grandfather. Oh, la la! He is mad at me for being more Canadian than French. He even said I do not talk like him. In fact, he says that I speak French without an accent and that I borrow words from sailors and Native people.
Well, it’s true that the people who came to the colony in the early days spoke a different dialect of French depending on the region they were from. Over the years, our way of speaking has changed. I was born here in New France and have never even seen France. So I learned “Canadian” French. Like my mother says, to live here, we have to adapt.
And if the French I speak uses some Native words, it’s because they have shown us techniques that are well adapted to the colony. For example, we get around by canoe in the summer, and in the winter we wear “bottes sauvages” (heavy clogs made of hide) with our snowshoes… now that’s freedom!
I may not be as French as my grandfather would like, but he and I do have one thing in common: we both love maple syrup, and there isn’t any of that in France!
Author: Léon Robichaud
See also – Traces of the past: