Posts Tagged ‘Ontario’

Le drapeau franco-ontarien

The francophones of Ontario are known collectively as Franco-Ontarians. Here are 3 things you (maybe) didn’t know about them.

Numbers are based on the 2011 census. I’ve only taken into account those who claim French as their sole native language.

1. There are more native French speakers in Ontario than in New Brunswick.

The French fact in Canada is often thought of as essentially a Québec and New Brunswick thing, but there are more native French speakers in Ontario than in New Brunswick — twice as many, in fact. There are half a million native French speakers in Ontario, and a quarter of a million in New Brunswick.

By percentage, however, francophones have much less weight in Ontario, whose total population is 17 times greater than that of New Brunswick. In New Brunswick, francophones represent a third of the population; in Ontario, they represent about 4%.

2. Ottawa and Trois-Rivières have similar numbers of native French speakers.

Native French speakers number about 124 000 in Ottawa, and about 125 000 in Trois-Rivières.

Francophones represent a minority in Ottawa at 14%, however; they’re a majority in Trois-Rivières at 96%.

3. Some communities in Ontario have a francophone majority.

Hearst, for example, is 87% francophone. Kapuskasing is 68%. These communities are in northern Ontario.

On the other hand, the francophones of Sudbury are a minority at 25%, but they number almost 27 000.


The OffQc book Contracted French will help you to make sense of the most frequently used contractions heard in spoken language and increase your understanding of what francophones are saying to you. You can buy and download it here.

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I was reminded of a frequently used expression in Québécois French yesterday when I overheard a mother scold her daughter here in Montréal.

The daughter had begun doing handstands and back arches at a bus stop in the street when her mother yelled:

Arrête de faire des affaires de même quand tu viens de manger!

Stop doing stuff like that when you’ve just finished eating!

Well that took all her fun away. I was impressed with her acrobatics.

Des affaires de même…

This wording almost sounds like serious business because of the word affaires, doesn’t it?

And yet, affaires simply means “stuff” or “things” here.

As for de même, it means the same thing as comme ça, which is also used in Québécois French.

des affaires de même
stuff like that
things like that

I like this next example written by Mathieu Pichette on a blog promoting travel in Sudbury and northern Ontario:

Bien sûr, pour faire des affaires de même, il faut connaître kekun de la place. Heureusement pour vous, je suis kekun de la place!

Of course, to do stuff like that, you gotta know someone from the place. Luckily for you, I am someone from the place!

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Lisa LeBlanc

Lisa LeBlanc (click to go to her website)

In entry #795, we looked at the chorus of Lisa LeBlanc’s song Câlisse-moi là. One thing we didn’t look at is her use of the word so.

Listen again (video below). A few times, you’ll hear her sing so câlisse-moi là. That so means exactly what you think it does; it means “so” and obviously comes from English.

Some francophones in Canada say so in French. Lisa LeBlanc is from the province of New Brunswick, and so is used in her variety of French.

Some francophones in the province of Ontario also say so in French. In Ontario, the farther away you get from Québec, the more likely you are to hear so. The closer you are to Québec, the more likely you are to hear faque instead.

That’s because, you’ll remember, the Québécois say faque. If Lisa LeBlanc were from Montréal, she’d have sung faque câlisse-moi là instead, or even better faque câlisse-moé là because this is trash folk.

Faque is a contraction of ça fait que. Sometimes you’ll hear it pronounced with two syllables like fa–que, other times with one syllable like fak.

If Lisa LeBlanc had used faque in her chorus, she’d have certainly sung it with one syllable. Listen to the song again, and try replacing so with faque while you sing along.

But once you’ve tried it, go back to singing so câlisse-moi là. Lisa LeBlanc’s French is so delicious that we don’t want to change her lyrics and make them all, you know, standard or something by saying faque câlisse-moé là

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