When my husband was trucking he always said the best way to get entrenched with a culture is to learn the language basics and as a truck driver that meant directions and food. He couldn’t carry on a conversation but if someone was to write out the name of the street say whether to turn left or right then he could at least get to his destination.
He said, “I always learn directions and food first. That way you can get yourself to the truck stop where you can at least eat!” That thinking has kept him eating and driving for many years on his many trips to Quebec. It even helped him order a meal for some hunters in Northern Quebec that couldn’t read the menu. You can read that story here.
Since Spring is finally upon us and you may be thinking about venturing to Quebec I thought I would help you out with basic directions.
Turning left – tourne à gauche
If someone tells you (la gauche) when giving directions then they want you to turn left. The “au” together is pronounced like an “o” so you would actually pronounce it “la g-o-sh-e” when saying it out loud.
Turning right – tourne à droite
If someone says “à droite” when giving directions it means turn right and is normally pronounced “d-w-ha-t” when said out loud.
Going straight- tout droit
When you are being directed to go straight the person will say “tout droit” which means go forward and is pronounced “too-dwa” when said out loud.
Roadways-route or rue
A road in French is called a route and a street in French is called a rue. You will see “rue” on many street signs in Quebec.
If you put it all together it may look something like this; Tout droit à rue Stephens, tourne à gauche à route 40, tourne à droite on route 156, tout droit.
In other words turn right on Stephens Street, left onto route 40, right on route 156 and go straight.
So if you are heading towards Quebec and find yourself needing directions to your destination keep this in mind. If you end up at the truck stop my husband can help you order a meal. Enjoy!
About the Author
Carmen Outridge owns Outridge Translation Services a Division of Outridge Enterprises Inc. offering English to French translation services for those operating in the Province of Quebec. She has been in the translation industry for over 30 years and is originally from Quebec. Services include document translation, presentation translation, web translation, and voice-over work. If you have documents you need translated then visit www.outridgetranslation.com and have your translation completed the way Quebec expects it!