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“Le Quinze Août”: the Acadian National Holiday

Partying “Acadien-Style”

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Did you think that was the French flag? Well, think again! It’s the Acadian flag.

Acadia is an Atlantic Canadian region that was formerly a French colony. Historically speaking, Acadia included Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and parts of Québec and Maine. Acadians proudly bear distinct traditions, folklore, and accents from the rest of Canada.

An unfortunate twist of British imperial history led to the deportation of the Acadians. Between 1755-1764, the British forcibly expelled the Acadians from their homelands. The French-speaking settlers, widely known as peaceful farmers, were shipped off to France as well as various British territories. Most Acadians ended up in the Thirteen Colonies.

Eventually, many Acadians returned to the east coast of Canada where their culture thrives to this day. “Le Quinze Août”, or August 15th, has been the Acadian national holiday since 2003. It is a festive celebration (read: a big party) filled with music and parades.

Every province in Canada has their own linguistic tradition, but Acadia in particular. There is Acadian French, but there’s another variation called Chiac. Chiac is not Canadian French, it’s not English, but it’s not Franglais either. So what is it? It’s a mix of French grammar with English expressions and a sprinkle of old Mi’kmaq terms all polished off with a distinct local accent. Chiac has specific grammar rules and codes that are unique to this variation and must be respected in order to sound like a true Acadian.

Check out some of wintranslation’s favourite regional expressions to celebrate August 15th:

J’aime ta skirt, mais j’aime pas la way qu’a hang
(I like your skirt, but I don’t like the way it fits)

Tchin tes chulottes
(Keep your pants on)

J’ai crossé la street
(I crossed the street)

Worry pas ta brain
(Don’t worry about it)

Now it’s your turn to tell us what your favourite Chiac expressions are!

Private: Frédérique Mantha

Frédérique Mantha is a graduate from the University of Ottawa, from which she holds a BA in Translation with Specialization in French-Spanish-English. As an Account Manager, she manages several French and multilingual clients. Frédérique also continues to translate into her mother tongue French; she does volunteer translations for TED among other projects. She also dedicates some of her time to writing blog articles and creative content. Before joining the team at her current position, Frédérique completed a Recruitment Internship at wintranslation, having gone through the experience herself, today she effectively manages our growing internship program.

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