If you tried to learn french, you are now aware of the different accents you may encounter. Probably so far, you know of the “regular” French accent, and the French Canadian accent.
And you also spotted that French Canadian spoken in Quebec is not differing from French spoken in France because of differences in vocabulary but also in the accent that French from France find very amusing for some reason.
But whether we are talking about Quebec or France, inside those two countries, there are even more accents.
Your high school level of French might help you go around Montreal, but if you go further North, until you reach the city of Saguenay and the nearby Lac St-Jean, you will find the way they speak quite different, and to a certain degree almost impossible to understand if your ear has been mostly used to French from France.
When we think about the French accent, we actually think of the accent of Paris, what French from the south of France call “L’accent pointu” (The sharp or pointed accent).
If you watch an old Marcel Pagnol movie, you will listen to another accent, one from the South East of France, from Marseille. Generally, any accent heard in the South of France is called “un accent chantant” (a singing accent) by the rest of France. It seems that this accent is adding some extra “euh” at almost every word. Between the South East of France and the South West, you will hear a slight difference, the one between the Atlantic ocean and the Mediterranean sea.
But dividing accents in France between North and South would be a mistake, as you also find accents in the French campaign, a rougher one, and how about Alsace, where it sounds closer to a German accent, or the North of France, that seems to replace “A” in words by “O”.
France is not the only place in Europe with French accents: let’s not forget Switzerland, where French seems to be in slow motion, and last but not least, the Belgian accents, as this small country as more accents in French than it should.
So next time you listen to a native speaker of French, try to wonder from his accent from where he might be. If you want to learn more about our Immersive French School, read our article about our methods.