One of Canada’s two official languages

French Travel Phrases

The province of Quebec is not the only province where French is spoken. New Brunswick is also a bi-lingual province and many French speaking communities can be found in Ontario, Manitoba and Nova Scotia.

The French spoken in Canada is not the same as that in France. Often the Canadian French can be unintelligible to a Parisian. If you are a French speaker formal French is better understood in Quebec than casual France French.

Quebec French compared to European French

The French spoken in Canada was brought over by French colonists but has since evolved with local dialects, slang and some noticeable differences to that which is spoken in France.

Some differences are listed below.

English France French Canadian French
Breakfast Petit déjeuner Déjeuner
Lunch Déjeuner Diner
Dinner Diner Souper
Hitchhiking Auto stop Faire du pouce

Useful French Phrases for Travellers

French Basics

English Pronunciation French
Yes wee Oui
No nohn Non
Please seel voo pleh S’il vous plait
Thank you mehr-see Merci
Welcome been-ahn ven-oo Bienvenu
Excuse me par-dohn Pardon
Pardon(What)? commonhn?
kwah?
Comment?
Quoi?(slang)

French Greetings

English Pronunciation French
Hello (day) bohn-joor Bonjour
Hello (evening) bohn-swar Bonsoir
Hello (informal) sa-lew Salut
How are you? commohn sa vah? Comment ca va?
Ca va?(more often)
I’m fine sa vah bee-ahn Ca va bien

Difficulties with the language

English Pronunciation French
I understand zhe com-prohn Je comprends
I don’t understand zhe neh com-prohn pah Je ne comprends pas
Do you speak English? Parlay vooz anglay Parlez-vous anglais?
I don’t speak French zhe neh parl pah frohn-say Je ne parle pas francais

Useful Words

English Pronunciation French
big grond grand
small peh-tee petit
before ah-vohn avant
after ah-preh aprés
tomorrow de-mahn demain
yesterday yeah heir
many/much boo-coo beaucoup
cheap bohn mar-shay

pa sher

seh cheep

bon marché

pas chére

c’est cheap

expensive share cher

Directions

English Pronunciation French
I want to go to… zhe vur ahlay a… Je veux aller à…
left a go-sh à gauche
right a drwat à droit
near prosh proche
far lwahn loin
here ee-see ici
there lah

Getting Around

English Pronunciation French
Where is…? oo eh…? Ou est?
What time does the… leave/arrive? a kel ur pahr/ahreev le….? A quelle heure part/arrive le…?
bus oh-toh-booss autobus
train trahn train
plane a-vee-ohn avion
train station gar gare
platform kay quai
bus station sta-seeyon d’ohtoh-booss station d’autobus
one-way ticket beeyay sam-pluh billet simple
return ticket beeay alay eh reh-tour billet aller et retour
bicycle veh-loh vélo
petrol (gasoline) eh-sohns/gaz essence/gas

Accommodation

English Pronunciation French
Do you have any rooms available? ehs-ker voo zah-vay day shombr
leebr?
Est-ce que vous avez des chambres
libres?
hotel o-tell hôtel
youth hostel o-birzh de zheuness auberge de jeunesse
a room oon shombr une chambre
a double room oon shombr doobl une chambre double
with a bathroom ahvek sahl de bahn avec salle de bain
with a kitchenette ahvek kwee-zee-net avec cuisinette

Around the city

English Pronunciation French
bank bohnk banque
beach plazh plage
the bill la-dis-yohn

le reh soo

l’addition

le reçu

bridge pohn pont
convenience store day-pahn-nur dépanneur
department store mag-a-zhn magasin
grocery store ay-pee-seh-ree épicerie
museum mew-zay musée
opening hours oh-rair horaires
post office bew-roh de post bureau de poste
the police la polees la police
show/concert spek-tahk’l spectacle
toilet twah-leh toilet
tourist office bew-ro doo too-rism bureau do tourisme
travellers cheque shek vwoy-yazh cheque voyage

Food and Drink

English Pronunciation French
bakery boo-lohn-zheree boulangerie
buffet meal tab’l-doht table d’hôte
fresh fish store pwa-sohn-eree poissonnerie
restuarant rest-a-rohn restuarant
snack bar kass krewt casse croûte
bread pahn pain
cheese fro-mahj fromage
vegetables lay-gyoom légumes
fruit frwee fruit
water oh eau
milk leh lait
beer bee-yair bière
wine vahn vin
red wine vahn roozh vin rouge
white wine vahn blohn vin blanc

French Numbers

English Pronunciation French
1 uhn un
2 der deux
3 twah trois
4 cat quatre
5 sank cinq
6 sease six
7 set sept
8 weet huit
9 neuf neuf
10 dees dix
20 vahn vingt
21 vahn-teh-un vingt et un
25 vahn sank vingt-cinq
30 tronht trente
40 car-ohnt quarante
50 sank-ohnt cinquante
60 swa-sohnt soixante
70 swa-sohnt dees soixante-dix
80 cat-tr’ vahn quatre-vingt
90 cat-tr’ vahn dees quatre-vingt-dix
100 sohn cent
500 sank sohn cinq cents
1000 meel mille

Days of the week

English Pronunciation French
Monday luhn-dee lundi
Tuesday mahr-dee mardi
Wednesday mehr-kruh-dee mercredi
Thursday zhuh-dee jeudi
Friday vahn-druh-dee vendredi
Saturday sohm-dee samedi
Sunday dee-mahnsh dimanche

Quebec’s French Road Signs

To help you learn French an explanation of the words shown on the French only road signs which can be found in Quebec is shown below.

French – English
à droite – to the right
à gauche – to the left
Accoutement non Stabilize – Soft shoulder
Allumez vos Phares – Turn on headlights
Arret Interdit – No stopping
Attention – Caution
Au Pas – Slow
Autres Directions – Through traffic
Bifurcation – Junction
Carrefour – Crossroad
Cédez le passage – Give way
Centre Ville – Center of town
Chantier – Road Construction
Chaussée déformée – Uneven road, temporary surface.
Chute de Pierres – Falling rocks
Circuit Touristique – Scenic route
Circulation Interdite – No thoroughfare
Dépannage – repair
Descente dangereuse – Steep hill
Déviation – Diversion
Douane – Customs
Entrée Interdite – No Entrance
Fin d’Interdiction – End of restriction
Fin de Limitation de Vitesse – End of speed restriction
Gravillons – Loose gravel
Halte – Stop
Hauteur Limitée – Low clearance
Impasse – Dead-end road (Cul-de-sac)
Interdiction de Doubler – No passing
Interdiction de Stationner – No parking
Itineraire Bis – Alternative Route
Limitation de Vitesse – Speed-restriction
Location de Voitures – Car rental (Hire)
Nids de Poules – Potholes
Parking gratuit – free parking
Parking payant – parking with charge
Passage à Niveau – level crossing
Passage Interdit – Entry forbidden, no thoroughfare
Passage protege – Right-of-way at intersection ahead
Péage – Toll
Pente Dangereuse – Steep Incline
Pietons – Pedestrians
Piste Reservée aux Transports Publics – Lane reserved for public transport
Poids Lourds – Truck (lorry) route
Priorité à droit – Give way to traffic on the right
Priorité à gauche – Give way to traffic on the left
Priorité aux piétons – give way to pedestrians
Ralentissez – reduce speed
Rappel – Restriction continues
Reservée aux Pietons – Pedestrians have the right of way
Route Barrée – Road closed
Route Étroite – narrow road
Route Glissante – Slippery road
Sans Interdit – Wrong direction
Sauf (Seulement) Riverains – Private road for residents only
Sens unique – One way
Serrez à droite / à gouche – Keep right / left
Sortie – Exit
Sortie de Camions – Truck Crossing
Stationnement interdit – no parking
Tenez vos Distances – Keep your distance
Tout droit – straight ahead
Toutes Directions – All directions
Travaux – Road work
Vehicules lents – Slow vehicles
Verglas – Slippery road
Virages – Curves ahead
Voie de Degagement – Private entrance
Voie Unique – Single-lane traffic
Voiture a Louer – Car hire
Vous n’avez pas la priorité – Give way, traffic on roundabout has priority
Zone Rouge – Tow away zone