What is Francophone Canada?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

The term “Francophone Canada” is sometimes used to describe regions of Canada with a large French-speaking population, especially Quebec, which has a high concentration of French speakers. One can also use the term more generally to describe the French-speaking community in Canada. Canada's rich history involves a great deal of settlement by the French, along with the resulting cultural exchange, so the French language is very much alive and active in Canada as a result.

Francophone Canada refers to areas of the country with a high concentration of French speakers.
Francophone Canada refers to areas of the country with a high concentration of French speakers.

When people say the word “Francophone,” they simply mean “French speaking.” Some people also use this word to describe the cultural traditions which go along with speaking French, especially when they are describing a specific region of the world as a Francophone region. In the case of Francophone Canada, many French speakers are in fact French-Canadian, with ancestry which can be traced back to France, and they have a very unique culture which is distinct from that of the English speaking population.

In several regions in Canada, people speak French.
In several regions in Canada, people speak French.

In addition to Quebec, where French is the majority language, French speakers can also be found in Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Saskatchewan. Overall, around 23% of Canadians speak French, with most French speakers being bilingual. French is the second official language of Canada, which means that government publications are available in French, and French speakers are entitled to certain rights, including government funding and assistance.

Three dialects of French are spoken in Francophone Canada: Quebec, Acadian, and Newfoundland French. Quebec French is so widely spoken that many people consider it to be the primary French dialect, followed by Acadian French, which is closely linked with the Cajun French spoken in the American South. Newfoundland French is currently considered an endangered dialect, due to the limited number of speakers.

Francophone Canada is a vibrant community sustained by the hard efforts of people from within the community who wish to preserve their heritage. When visiting parts of Canada with a large French speaking community, it is possible to see a culture entirely separate from that of English speakers, with its own arts, schools, social values, cuisine, and so forth. In areas where the French speaking population is more fragmented, efforts to preserve the culture of Francophone Canada can still be seen, supported in part by the Canadian government, which wishes to ensure that the French speaking minority population will continue to thrive.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments



It is also likely that many French-Canadians in America moved there because of discontent with the Canadian English and their racism and bigotry.


The French in Canada have been an oppressed and misunderstood minority for a while. Quebec would prefer to be autonomous, but reforms are being made in Canada to make life easier for them and not foist the English language upon them.


I was traveling in the White Mountains one time and stopped at a gas station. There of all places, there was a motorcycle gang of elderly men. I observed them and could hear them speaking French. This was unique, and I was excited to have run into a Quebecois motorcycle gang.


Many in the US, especially New England, are descended from French-Canadians. This is a unique heritage of adventurers and traders who arrived in America earlier than most of the English. If you venture to the northern parts of New England, especially Vermont, you are likely to run into many French speakers who are descended from French-Canadians.

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