Surprised by this question? You might think that since the colonists were French people who came to live in New France, then they all spoke French. Well, it wasn’t so simple. In fact, about one-third of the colonists who came to settle in the St. Lawrence Valley did not speak or understand French. Now you’re confused? There’s an explanation for this.

In France

In 1645, France was made up of different regions. In many of these regions, the dialect spoken by people was so different from the French of Paris and the other large cities that they simply could not understand one another. This French was like a foreign language to them.

In New France

The same situation occurred in New France: Since not everyone spoke the same dialect, some people did not understand the language that was generally used, which was Parisian French. However, during the 17th century, this dialect quickly became the common language of all the inhabitants of New France.

Author: Service national du Récit de l’univers social

See also – Traces of the past:

French (If available)