There are many differences between French spoken in Québec and that spoken in France. One is state and one is king french. The two main differences are that Québec has retained many 18th & 19th century French words, while French spoken in France has incorporated many English words. Furthermore, aside from Europe & Québec, many French-speaking regions have incorporated many local words or formed a distinctive dialect/language known as creole.
Like that of English, unlike almost all the other Romance languages, French spelling is not very phonetic. The same letter used in two different words can make two different sounds, and many letters are not pronounced at all. In general, it's not impossible to sound out words, but suffice it to say that many experienced non-native French speakers(and even some native speakers) mispronounce words often.
One thing to note is that final consonants of a word are usually dropped: allez (go) is pronounced ahl-AY, not ahl-AYZ; tard (late) is pronounce tar, not tard. But if the next word begins with a vowel, the consonant may be pronounced; this is called liaison. A final 'e' is also usually silent if the word has more than one syllable, except in parts of southern France, especially Toulouse.
Stress is fairly even in French, but the stress almost always falls on the last syllable.
For many French words, it is impossible to write something which, when pronounced as English, sounds like the French word. Use the transliteration as a guide to liaison and the French spelling to pronounce the vowels.
Vowels in French can have accent marks, which generally have no noticeable impact on pronunciation, but they often distinguish between homophones in writing (ou, meaning or, and où, meaning where, are pronounced the same). The only really important one is é, which is always pronounced "ay", and changes the meaning of the word.
like "a" in "fat"
like "a" in "father"
in most cases a central neutral vowel ("schwa") like "a" in "about", sometimes not pronounced at all, sometimes like "é" or "è"
é, è, ê, ai, -er, -es, -ez
é is towards "e" in "set" or "ay" in "day", and è is more nasal, like the a in "cake" in English, except without the "y" sound at the end. They are not equivalent and they make very distinct sounds.
like "ee" in "see" but shorter and tenser
o, ô, au, eau
generally like "oa" in "boat" in American English or "aw" in "law" in British English, can be considered equivalent
like a very tight, frontal "oo" sound (purse your lips as if to pronounce "oo" as in "soon" but try to pronounce "ee") - uu in transcriptions
like "oo" in "food", but a pure vowel
like "ee" in "see" ; also sometimes used as a consonant, pronounced the same as in English (in 'yes' for example).
between "ew" in "dew" and "ur" in "burp"; written eu or uh in transcriptions
Note: Most final consonants are silent except for c, q, f, l, and r (except in the combination "-er", normally found in verb infinitives). Note that the plural ending "-ent" for verbs is never pronounced, though it is pronounced in other words.
like "b" in "bed"
like "k" in "sky" (before "a", "o", and "u" or before a consonent), like "s" in "sun" (before "e", "i", and "y")
like "s" in "sun" (this letter can only be written before "a" ,"o", or "u")
like "d" in "death" (but a bit heavier than in English, and pronounced on the tongue)
like "f" in "fun"
like "g" in "go" (before "a", "o", and "u" or before a consonent), like "g" in "sabotage" (before "e", "i" and "y").
like "g" in "goose" (before "e", "i", "y")
like "ny" in "canyon". This is particularly difficult when followed by oi, as in baignoire (beh-NYWAR) "bathtub".
usually silent, but may sometimes prevent a liaison with the former word
like "g" in "sabotage"
like "k" in "sky" (not native to French)
like "l" in "like"; some exceptions for "ll" in the combination "ille" (pronounced ee-y)
like "m" in "me"
like "n" in "nurse" (but see Nasals below)
like "p" in "sport"
most of the time like "k" in "sky" (not like "qu" in "square"); in some words like "qu" in "square" (generally before an "a") or the same but with a French u (generally before an "i")
guttural; kind of like coughing up a hairball (similar to a German "ch")
like "s" in "sun"; like "z" in "zero" (between two vowels)
like "sh" in "bush"; sometimes like "k" in "sky" (in words of Greek origin mostly)
like "t" in "stop"
like "v" in "value"
only in foreign words, mostly like "w" in "wise" and sometimes like "v" in "value" (in particular, "wagon" is "vagon" and "WC" is "VC"!)
in standard French, like "an" in "croissant" and in Quebec French, like "uh" in "uh-huh" (not always pronounced as a nasal, especially if the n or m is doubled: emmental is pronounced as a normal "emm" sound)
nasal ô - distinguishing between this and "an" is tricky, it's a deeper, more closed sound
in standard French, like "uh" in "uh-huh" and in Quebec French, like "ain" in "rain"
nasal eu (pronounced the same as 'in' in Parisian French)
When there is an accent mark on "e", it prevents diphthongs. Letters should be pronounced separately, following the rule for the accented letter. Example: énergumène, (rowdy character), réunion (meeting).
A diaeresis (") may also be used to prevent diphthongs on "e", "u" and "i". Example: maïs (Indian corn or maize).
In the combinations "gue" and "gui", the "u" should not be pronounced: it is there only to force the prononciation of "g" as in "go". If the "u" is pronounced, a diaeresis is added on the 2nd vowel : aiguë (sharp).
In the combination "geo", the "e" should not be pronounced, it is only there to force the prononciation of "g" as in "sabotage" (in the case the "e" should be pronounced, it is indicated with an accent mark as in géologie).
Note you should not pronounce the "G" where "NG" is used in the prononciation hint.
(Note on time: the French use the 24 hour clock, with midnight being 0h00 (note that, except on digital clocks, the in France an 'h' is used as a seperator between hours and minutes as opposed to a colon in many other countries). However, the 12-hour clock is making some inroads and saying 1-11 in the afternoon or evening will be understood.
From 1-30 past the hour / ___ plus ___
[hour] + plus (pluu') + [number]
Example: 10h20 dix heure plus vignt (deez er pluu VAGN)
For 1-29 until the hour / __ 'til ___
[next hour] + moins (mwan)
quart/le quart (KAHR/luh KAHR)
7h15 = sept heures et quart (set er eh luh KAHR)
16h45 = dix sept heures moins le quart (deez SET er mwan luh KAHR)
half-past : demie (duh-MEE); demi (after midnight or noon, duh-MEE)
10h30 = dix heure et demie (deez er eh duh-MEE)
one o'clock AM, 1h00
une heure du matin (uun er duu ma-TAN)
two o'clock AM, 2h00
deux heures du matin (dooz er duu ma-TAN)
one o'clock PM, 13h00
treize heure (traiyz er)
une heure de l'après-midi (uun er duh la-preh-mee-DEE)
two o'clock PM, 14h00
quatorze heure (KAH-torz er)
deux heures de l'après-midi (duz er duh la-preh-mee-DEE)