Pardon My French

1697 Words7 Pages
Each culture has its own distinct dialects, their own way of expressing how each society see’s the world. The language gives clues about what is important to the culture. Spoken French in Canada is distinct from the same language spoken in France. One of the differences is the profanity or swearwords spoken in French Canada. These words are the Sacres. This spoken profanity gives evidence to what the values of this society are because; the words are connected to their religious beliefs, pay tribute to their French roots, and highlight creativity in spoken language. Every culture has a vernacular accepted by that society, however in moments of anger, disappointment, or passion an individual speech may venture beyond the respectable boundaries. J.S. Tassie states, “The individual is normally constrained to remain within these limits of propriety set as the safeguards of society.” The Sacres do not fall within these limits. These words are considered the most offensive words in Quebec culture. The rest of Canada might find these terms difficult to comprehend; they are not a reflection of profanity in other provinces. It is difficult to find information about these words because majority of the academic research into these terms is in French, yet it is determined to be one of the defining features of the French language in Quebec. Taras Grescoe indicates if French tourists were to visit Quebec the Sacres would be easy to translate but meaningless in traditional French. In order to understand what the Sacres are and why they are profane, it is required to know their English equivalent. Some of these words are tabernac (tabernacle), baptême (baptism), Corps de Dieu (Body of God), Vierge (Virgin) , hostie (communion wafer), ciboi... ... middle of paper ... ...nd have great context. These words also reflect the importance of the Roman Catholic faith and how omnipresent it is within the lives of French Canadians, it is their lifestyle, associated with their happiness as well as their troubles, and their means to express feeling, be it blasphemy or not. These curses are a reflection of the French Canadian desire to remain a unique group within the larger nation. It is a reflection of their distinction, it ties them to their French roots, yet it also separates them. As the words evolved into being more associated with symbols and sacred objects, it reflects not just their concerns with God, but elements of the religion. Declaring these words were a capital crime, yet they survived to modern times and have become part of the written work and media, and they remain the most vile and offensive words in French-Canadian culture.
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