FRENCH : Easy 2 Understand & Learn

Rolando   Mon Dec 08, 2008 5:38 am GMT
Which french is more easly to understand & learn

1. European French
2. Quebec French
3. Swiss French
4. Belgian French

Thanks a million.
J.C.   Mon Dec 08, 2008 5:41 am GMT
Rolando: Would you mind sharing some links with people speaking
in the variations you suggested? Currently I only watch news on TV5 and don't know much about different French accents.

Rolando   Mon Dec 08, 2008 5:43 am GMT
I've heard that Quebec speaks french with a harder accent while swiss and belgian speak smooth and stressed vowls (what ever that means)
Niko   Mon Dec 08, 2008 6:18 am GMT
I would say that Parisian French (the standard) is the easiest to understand because it's what is mostly taught around the world. Belgian French is still pretty similar to the standard. As for Swiss, it is differs a little from the standard variety but can still be understood for the most part.

IMO, Quebecois French is the most difficult to understand out of them all. It partially has to do with the Quebec society being isolated for so many years. I was watching a French-Canadian film and could barely make out the sentences because the accent was so heavy. Plus, there are a lot of slang in this dialect as well.
nico   Mon Dec 08, 2008 10:27 am GMT
"Belgian French is still pretty similar to the standard."

Where did you learn that???

As a french person, i can assure you this is absolutly wrong, and a belgian would have a lot of fun if he reads that.
Paul   Tue Dec 09, 2008 3:28 am GMT
Tawawulu   Tue Dec 09, 2008 3:47 am GMT
I think Tawawulu's French in Africa is easy

This is Tawawulu's French:

Mersi boku

Che m'apelle Tawawulu e che zyi contonn manntenoon.

Es-k ty vudrey aprond le fronsey de Tawawulu?

Parisian French:

Merci beaucoup
Je m'apelle Tawawulu et je sui content maintenant.
Est-ce que tu voudrai aprendre le francais de Tawawulu?
ASU55RR   Tue Dec 09, 2008 7:35 am GMT
I'm one of few young people that spoke Cajun French at home, and I would say it is by far the easiest, though also perhaps the most unique- it is intelligible with the French dialects of France, though sometimes with confusion.

The main difference is that we don't normally use "vous" in a formal since (just for plural), the placement and usage of prepositions, and we have a number of loan words from Native American languages, Spanish, and English.

That said finding materials outside of Louisiana would be tough. That said for me the easiest European French to understand was the Arpitan influenced accent around Lyon.
User   Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:23 am GMT
Really? What is easier about it?
ASU55RR   Tue Dec 09, 2008 6:49 pm GMT
The main thing that is easier is there is a reduction in cojugation forms, but also the pronuciation is probably easier, certainly for other romance language speakers.

unforunately I'm not an expert on Standard French but some quick observations, and some reports I've read from the few academic resources on cajun, this turned into a fairly detailed description of Cajun French*:

First things I noticed first hand, from a developing polyglot, but non-linguist.

1) Fewer nasel vowels (also why Lyonnais was a little easier to understand)

some examples I remember-

oui- in Cajun pronounced ['we] sort of like the English "way"

similare pourqoui is [por'kwe]

we use trilled r's

2)consonants tend to be voiced longer, where the "lazy sounding French" description often used originates.

hard to really clarify in writing since it's still the same in IPA. Here is an Youtube clip of an old lowland/swamp cajun speaker. (Swamp and Dryland are the 2 accents of Cajun French; also used as socio-economic indicators). The accents are generally softer now, and as a drylander this is very provincial sounding and an odd situation, but it some of the pronuciation features are the same.

3) Is based on 17th century French and isolated from L'Academie Francaise so sometime you find minor spelling variations. It used to be completely different but the restoration of contact with the Francophone world has changed much of this.

4) Some grammar simplifications:

we use "on" as the 3rd person plural pronoun and the 3rd person singular verb. ex: "we speak Cajun French" is said "on parle francaise cadien" instead of "nous parlons francaise cadien"

tu form is used far more oftend the vous; and tu contracts similar to je when in front of verbs with a vowel. ex: "t'ecoutes" instead of "tu ecoutes". Though in Canada and even among many French I heard this in spoken French.

vous form is only used for 2nd plural; for formalities we use the addres "vous autres" but with 3rd singular conjugation. ex: Vous-autres va au bal a sois "are you (pl) going to the dance this evening"

The "avoir" past participle is the primary past tense.

Some better details I found from other sources on some pronounciation differences

/a/ is pronounced with tongue towards the back of the mouth, being more like /ɑ/.
/k/, /t/ are pronounced /ʧ/ (before /a/(?) and /i/, respectively).
/d/ is pronounced /ʤ/ (before /i/), as in the word Acadian. (This sound is represented in modern Poitevin-Saintongeais by the digraph jh)
/r/ is pronounced as an alveolar trill or flap rather than the uvular fricative of standard French and other dialects. /r/ is dropped when at the end of a syllable; for example: "mon père" , but "mon père est venu" .
/wa/ pronounced /we/, similar to Quebec French (and also to other langues d'oïl), but also often more like /ɔ/, with a bit of an offglide towards /u/, similar to Acadian French.

Other than this some vocabulary differences, but not usually problem as we can describe what we mean.

Cajun has alot of loan words; Cajun country was isolated enough to prevent the outsider influx that slowly supplanted French speaking New Orleans through the 19th century, but it did have a steady in migration especially of Spanish, German, and Anglo-American migrants that were incorporated into the Cajun French culture. In addition many words were taken from nearby American tribes. Then increasingly from the early 20th century-English.

some loan words

bifteck- a steak, from English "beef steak"
shampooing and trucking- English participle verb forms for actions using loan word substantives.
sieste- a brief sleep, from Spanish "siesta
chaoui (raccoon) and bayou (swamp), from Choctaw.
eastlander   Tue Dec 09, 2008 7:05 pm GMT
Belgian French has many words not used in standard French:bourgmestre (maire),maytrank (a sort of drink),waterzoei ( a sort of soup) and so on.
Richard   Sun Dec 21, 2008 8:15 am GMT
From an English background its Quebec French.
shreypete   Sun Jan 11, 2009 7:40 am GMT
I would really recommend learning Belgian French because it is spoken a lot more slowly then the European french. If you're very serious in learning French and visiting France in particular, learning the European French (i.e. the french spoken in France and not Switzerland or Belgium) is your best bet because that is the standardized language and you can make yourself understand by french speakers of other countries.

But if you learn French (like Creole or some of the other African french dialects) that is not spoken in Europe, you will have a slightly harder time in Europe (especially in France where you might even be mocked at!).
Pepe Le Pew   Wed Jan 14, 2009 4:04 am GMT
I like the French spoken by Jean Claude Van Damme. It's less gay than the other forms of French.
kaka   Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:09 am GMT
like the French spoken by Jean Claude Van Damme. It's less gay than the other forms of French.

Stupid child go back to your kindergarden!