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

Montreal Translation SyllabusIt looks English. It sounds English. But don’t be fooled, on the streets of Montreal, “actually” is not an English word, at least not all the time.

In a city where French and English are swapped like hockey cards, “actually” is a term that can have a surprising meaning, especially if you’re an out-of-towner who’s unfamiliar with the local lingo.

“Actually” is often confused with the French word “actuellement,” which means “presently,” “currently,” “right now,” and “as we speak.”

So don’t be puzzled when you hear people say, “I’m on my way actually.” They don’t mean, “I’m on my way, in fact,” but rather, “I’m on my way right now.”

Beware! Francophones aren’t the only ones who employ this false friend. You can just as easily hear allophones and anglophones making the same mistake. Rather than getting your panties all in a knot about it, why not savour the local flavour!

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