The Word on the Street Is . . . “Gang”

Word on the Street Montreal Translation SyllabusThe word “gang” tends to conjure up images of drugs, motorcycles, dark alleys, and all sorts of criminal activity. That’s the case in English at least.

So when, at my dinner party, my friend babbled on about last weekend’s adventures with her “gang,” it was no surprise that my mother’s jaw dropped and she shot me a who-are-these-people glance from across the collection of well-used wine glasses and half-eaten finger food. My mom speaks English—only. My friend, however, was born and raised in Montreal and speaks French and English interchangeably. In true Montreal style, she tosses around Quebecisms freely. Some of these terms don’t necessarily work in both languages—like “gang.”

What my mother didn’t realize was that, in Quebecois French, “gang is a term of endearment commonly used to refer to a close group of friends—no illegal activity implied. For example: “Je vais chercher un verre avec la gang.” (I’m going to get a drink with my homies.)

The next time your Ontario family is in town, you may want to use a word like “buddies” or “pals” to refer to your friends—or you just might raise a few eyebrows!


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