Friday, April 29, 2011

North Africa in North America

Generally this blog concerns itself with issues pertaining to Islam, the Middle East, North Africa, and/or Arabs. This post will follow that tradition, but in a less direct way than usual. Over Easter I traveled to Canada to visit some of the first friends I made during my year in Morocco. The trip was fantastic for lots of reasons. I spoke French the entire time, spent Easter with a Quebecois family—socializing with some of the most wonderfully kind people I have ever met and sharing their delicious food (baked beans, les cretons de veau (lamb spread), tourtieres, brioches, pouding chômeur)—and caught up with some dear friends. I learned quite a few new words, which are the actual subject of this post.

1. قبقوبي singular [قباقب plural]

Souhail tells me that these are the terms used among Arabic speakers to speak about Quebeckers without them knowing. Fascinating!

2. funiculaire (funicular in English, apparently, though who has ever heard that word before?)

Quebec City has an inclined railway, similar to the Johnstown Inclined Plane.

3. succursale

Definition : établissement de commerce qui dépend d'une maison mère mais qui jouit d'une certaine autonomie

Similar to filiale (the word I’d have used before learning this gem) : entreprise dirigée ou contrôlée par une société mère

4. sans-abri / sans-abris (nouvelle orthographe)

personne/s qui n'a/ont plus de logements, plus d'endroits où aller (aussi appelée/s S.D.F. : sans domiciles fixes)

5. grammatical point : Je vais au Québec if I am going to the province, but je vais à Québec if I am going to the city !

6. queue de castor

Dessert called Beaver tail. I didn’t have one, but it looked like a pretty awesome treat.

7. gruau

Technically, this one means gruel, but it’s the word for oatmeal that’s been prepared to eat as breakfast cereal.

Quebec, Quebeckers, and Canada in general are all pretty amazing!