Sociolinguistics and Quebecois French

Is it my imagination or do certain experts in fields like sociolinguistics just invent things, or focus on the obscure and unimportant, for the sake of making themselves interesting. In this discussion one of our LingQ members listened to a presentation by Ruth King of York University about the use of the word “back” in Quebecois French. These were some examples.

?? Il s???en vient back ?? (He is coming back)

?? Je vous dirai pas back ?? (I won???t tell you again)

??J???ai commenc?? refumer back ?? (I started smoking again)

??Il m???a back frappe??? (He hit me again)

I guess there may be some people who speak like this, I have never heard it, nor had a Quebecoise member of LingQ who commented on the thread. Does it matter?

Here is Ruth King’s ??background which kind of explains her interest in the insignificant, and in passing it on as “knowledge” to university students.

Ruth King, Professor of Linguistics and Women’ Studies at York University, specializes in sociolinguistics, language contact, language and gender, and syntax.
She is the first author of Talking Gender (Copp Clark Pittman 1991) and the author of
The Lexical Basis of Grammatical Borrowing (John Benjamins 2000).
Her current research project, Acadian French in Time and Space, involves reconstruction
of earlier stages of Atlantic Canada Acadian French, along with comparison with Louisiana Cajun French.



2 thoughts on “Sociolinguistics and Quebecois French

  1. French is my 1st language, I live in Montreal,Quebec and I have never heard "back" in french sentence(Not like this). Maybe some people used sometime english words/expressions in french sentence here, but not with "back".Those expression are not correct anyway. "J???ai commenc?? refumer back" -> "J’ai recommenc?? ?? fumer" will be the most used expression for "I started smoking again", maybe "J’ai recommenc?? ?? fumer encore" to put emphasis on the fact that it’s not the first time that you smoke again. Or maybe if someone really want to do a mix of french and english…"J’ai recommenc?? ?? fumer… again!". More chance people will say "again" when they want to "again" than "back". So, "refumer" is not a popular verb, without the "??", the sentence is grammatically incorrect, and "back" is not used. There no chance this sentence will be said in Quebec by someone who actually speak french.Il s???en vient back ?? (He is coming back). There is a shorter, better, more used and grammatically correct expression -> "Il revient !!" Or even the all english sentence from Terminator "He’ll be back" but not some weird redundant franco-english expression.I don’t know this Ruth King, but she seem to know very little about Quebec and french language.

  2. JMGrenier, those expressions are used in Canada, only it’s not Quebecois French… it’s Chiac, a mixture of French and English spoken natively by a group of Acadians in New Bronswick.

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