3 funny differences between Canadian French and French from France

As a learner of French, it’s only a matter of time before you start coming across usages unique to the Québécois, who are notorious for speaking French with a twist!

You already know 9 things you shouldn’t say in France (unless you want to feel awkward). Here are three usages to pique your interest in the Québécois variety of French.

And who knows — maybe someday you’ll decide to keep on exploring French and learn Canadian French. For now, here are three differences between Canadian French and the French spoken in France.

Les gosses

“Gosse” seems like a pretty straightforward word, right? Well, it would have been if the Québécois hadn’t gone and given another meaning to it!

In France, a “gosse” is simply a child. But, in Québec, “les gosses” are those two things hanging between a guy’s legs.

You’ll probably want to avoid asking a father in Québec how his “gosses” are doing or what their names are! You can use the word “enfants” instead.

Don’t worry, though. Even if you make a linguistic blunder, the Québécois will only love you all the more for it.


Perhaps you’ve heard that the word “tabernacle” is a swear word in Québec. This is only partly true.

A “tabernacle” is a religious item associated with Catholicism. “Tabernacle” is not a swear word. But if you change the pronunciation of this word to “tabarnak”, well, look out, because everything changes!

If you hear someone say “tabarnak”, then they’ve just said the equivalent of the F-word.

So remember: “tabernacle” is not a swear word in Québec, but “tabarnak” most certainly is.

Une blonde

Don’t be surprised if you hear a guy in Québec talk about his “blonde”. He’s just talking about his girlfriend. That’s because a girlfriend is called “une blonde” in Canadian French.

Guess what? Even if a guy’s girlfriend is really a brunette or wears a funky purple wig, she’s still his “blonde”!

That’s just a little taste of what awaits you on the Québécois side of French.

Want to learn more about Canadian French?

If you’re curious about Canadian French, come and check out my blog called OffQc. It’s dedicated entirely to exploring the way French is spoken in Québec.

But be warned — no vocabulary is taboo on OffQc!

Over to you

Have you ever made funny mistakes while speaking Canadian French? Tell us in the comments below!

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Felix Polesello

Felix is the author of OffQc, a blog for lovers of French and diehard fans of all things québécois!