The French-Canadian name for grandfather is pépé or pépère. Papi or papie can be used as well. Grandpère is the literal translation but is seldom used as a name for grandchildren to call their grandparents.
About French Canadians
French Canadians are those of French heritage who immigrated to Canada during the 17th and 18 centuries.
Most of them live in the province of Quebec, although sizable numbers live in other parts of Canada and in the United States.
Some French Canadians prefer to be called Canadiens, the French word for Canadians. Those living in Quebec are commonly called Québécois or Quebecers. French who reside in the Maritime Provinces of New Brunswick, Novia Scotia or Prince Edward Island are known as Acadians, or Acadiens.
Conflict With the British
French Canadians are proud of their status as one of the two major groups that settled Canada. Their subjugation to the British rankled, and in World War I some French-Canadians resisted being drafted into the British army.
A movement toward self-rule began after World War II. During the 1960s the Quiet Revolution brought the French into power in Quebec. French was recognized as the only official language in 1974. The movement to separate Quebec from the rest of Canada intensified, but it failed at the polls in 1980.
Quebec has been described as the most French-speaking area in the world. Many residents speak only French. Many signs, even road signs, are in French only. Travelers who stick to the usual areas where tourists visit will have no problem. Others will need a good phrase book.
The French Language in Canada
There are some significant differences in Canadian French and French as it is spoken in France.
Canadian French tends to be slightly less formal. Also, the Canadians are generally more open to Anglicisms, since they existed side by side with the British for so long. Occasionally the Canadians will use a different vocabulary word for a concept than the one that would be used in France. This is very much like what occurs in American English versus British English.
Some French Canadian Idioms
No one can deny that the French-Canadians have some colorful idioms, mostly ones that wouldn't work on the other side of the pond.
- "Attache ta tuque!" Put on your cap, or hold on to your hat. In other words, get ready! A tuque is a stocking cap, an essential item in Canada.
- "Lâche pas la patate." Hold on to the potato. This means hang on, don't give up. No one is quite sure what the potato has to do with it.
- "Mets-en, c’est pas d’longuent." Put plenty on. It isn't ointment. This is an admonishment not to be stingy with the use of something.
- "J’ai la langue à terre." My tongue is on the floor. This means that one is very tired.
- "J'ai mal aux cheveux." I have a hairache. This is one way that the French Canadians describe having a hangover.