As you may remember from last week, I’m currently attending a full immersion language school in Quebec. A little over a week ago I gathered in a sweltering auditorium with approximately 250 other students while a professor spoke to us in English, for the last time.
“The people of this village have a name for you anglophones;” he explained, “they call you the ones with the blank stares.”
I’ve been here for about two weeks now, and more often than not that’s how it goes. I limp out something French. The Francophone responds so fast that to my untrained ears a sentence sounds instead like one very long word. It feels a little bit like being two years old again, only with memories of a time when you were actually a competent human being.
Just imagine that first image is someone trying to explain something in French.
Growing up in British Columbia I heard complaints against French language laws, which work to protect French culture. English speakers argued that it was an unfair double standard, and that the French were just being snobby. That has not been my experience here in Quebec. Continue reading
Posted in Canada, language, politics
Tagged Anglophone, bicycle, big families, British Columbia, deer in the headlights, Francophone, French culture, French Immersion, French language laws, language, language extinction, language preservation, professor, Quebec, Quebecois, snobby, Trois Pistole, university
Guess where I am right now?
That’s right, Quebec! (Sorry, you don’t get a prize because I already gave you the answer in the title of the post).
Look how far away I am from home!!
Those of you who follow the blog (or know me in person) will know that I live in British Columbia. Anyone who saw my excited Facebook announcement will know why I am here, but for anyone who didn’t, I want to give you an outline of where I am exactly and why.
This past year John and I both applied for a program called Explore. It’s a bursary provided by the Canadian government that pays for English students to experience French immersion (and vice versa for French students). The bursary covers room and board along with the cost of the classes, the majority of extra curricular activities and textbooks. Students just need to find their own way to the school they’ve chosen. The bursary covers a wide variety of schools; some provide a credited program and some do not. John and I both applied for the language program in a small town called Trois Pistoles. Since it’s pretty easy to find pockets of English in both Montreal and Quebec City, we chose somewhere small that would (ideally) force us to use French as much as possible.
Posted in Canada, communication
Tagged bilingual, Canada, english, Explore, French, immersion, language, Quebec, Quebecois, school, travel