Monday, August 13, 2007

Gotta Learn Me Some French

I am from Nova Scotia. I am a product of the Nova Scotian educational system. Like any educational system it has it's strengths and weaknesses. One of it's strengths is, I think, math. It seems to have done a good job of teaching that.

One of it's many weaknesses is French. They are absolutely terrible at teaching French. As a result most Nova Scotians, unless they're from Acadia, don't speak French. And since no one around speaks it, that which people learnt in school quickly gets lost. Use it or lose it. Well, none of us uses it, so we all lose it.

Now I work in Quebec. I still work close to the Ontario border. I live in Ontario. I recently got a new job which put me even further into Quebec than before. That extra 15 minute bus ride shows quite a difference in the populace.

Nearly everyone in Hull speaks very good English. Especially those in customer service. But just 15 minutes away into Gatineau and that changes. Sometimes ordering food at a fast-food restaurant at the local food court is hard. The customer service agent will have a very thick accent, and you can tell they're having trouble understanding English.

I work beside a big mall now. It's not very exciting for me. It's mostly shoe stores. However, there is a cool bookstore in there. It's bigger than Coles, but smaller than Chapters. It has games in there, and a big comic book section.

One problem: 99.9% of the books in there are French. I'm the sort of person that can spend hours in a good bookstore. This bookstore is one of the few stores around here that interests me, but I don't understand anything in it! How frustrating! The store draws me to itself. But when I get there I find myself to be illiterate.

Sometimes I wonder how the French customer service agents would take to my French. Usually when I speak French, French people start speaking to me in English. I figure my accent either makes their day by giving them something to heartily laugh at, or my bad accent insults them, their language, their culture, their homeland, their parents, their ancestors, and their gods.

So, kids, stay in school. Learn French. Watch the French channel! Eat French Fries! Read a French book!

1 comment:

C.F.B said...

You should try to write a post in French...