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Quebecois

In French, the word Québécois generally refers to a resident of Quebec, Canada. Its English equivalent is Quebecker, also spelled as Quebecer, but this latter alternative's ending might be mispronounced as "-sir".

The word Québécois in English more specifically designates a particular Francophone (i.e. French-Canadian) ethnicity and culture found in Quebec. This ethnicity traces its roots to the French colonists of Quebec.

The Québécois are the most numerous group of French-Canadians, though communities of French-Canadians can be found across the country, especially in Manitoba, Ontario, and the Maritimes; French-Canadian cultural groupings elsewhere in Canada include the Métis and Acadians.

A related term, pure laine ("old stock", literally "pure wool"), is sometimes taken to be synonymous with Québécois. This term refers to someone whose ancestry is almost entirely Québécois. As with any ethnicity in a multicultural country such as Canada, few people can accurately claim to be pure laine. The idea of pure laine has been at the root of some heated polemic battles about ethnicity, culture, and belonging in recent years in Quebec; many find the idea and its linking with Québécois identity and culture to be racist.

Many of the well known cultural items of the Québécois are well-known throughout the world. Traditional aspects of Québécois culture include a variety of folk songs and dances (many with Celtic roots, as the French-Canadians intermarried a great deal with Irish immigrants), as well as items of cuisine such as 'tourtière', 'paté chinois', 'sucre à la crème', 'creton', maple sugar products, pea soup with ham, and the latter-day creation of poutine.

The Québécois culture underwent a profound shift with the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s, after the end of the Duplessis years and the wane of the influence of the Catholic church and the control of the anglo-american financial elite in the province. New movements in art, literature, and music sprang up: a revolutionary artistic movement, Les Automatistes, was born in Quebec as a response to the conformity of the Duplessis era. This included world-renowned artists like Paul-Émile Borduas[?], Jean-Paul Riopelle[?], Jean-Paul Mousseau, and Marcelle Ferron.

The term Québécois may also refer to the Québécois dialect of French, which is mostly oral but has been transcribed by many songwriters and playwrights such as Michel Tremblay. The best-known lect of Québécois French is the joual dialect, which combines traditional Quebec accent and vocabulary with a distinct vocabulary unto itself, including many anglicisms (adapted English words) and many latter-day French words that are not used in France as well. (For more information see the article on Québécois French.)

Québécois literature is an important part of worldwide Francophone heritage. Some important Québécois authors include Émile Nelligan, Octave Crémazie[?], Saint-Denys Garneau[?] and Anne Hébert[?].

Today Quebec is home to a multi-ethnic society with a francophone majority and large anglophone and allophone minorities. The wide variety of ethnic groups in Quebec includes eleven First Nations. Many believe that Québécois society is therefore adapting to and enriching itself with the cultures of recent immigrants to Quebec. Haitian, francophone African, Latino, and Arab cultures are among the most numerically significant populations of recent francophone immigrants. These cultures exert an especially important influence in Montreal and increasingly Quebec City. Today, thousands of people from around the world choose to adopt French when they move to Quebec.

Note that in French, the term québécois can also refer to a resident of Quebec City. When distinction is required, these become québécois de Québec instead of québécois du Québec.

It was Canadian Jewish author, Mordecai Richler who said that when the people in the St. Jean Baptiste Day parade chanted "Le Québec pour les Québécois", he didn't think that they meant him. When asked about Richler's criticisms of Quebec language policy, published in the New Yorker and in Richler's book Oh, Canada! Oh, Quebec!, a provincial cabinet minister dismissed them as being from someone who was "pas de la famille."

 
See also: List of famous Quebecois, Quebec, Montreal, Canada, Canadian provinces and territories, Joual

External Links: History of French in Quebec (http://membres.lycos.fr/cousture/FRANC2.HTM)



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