French class trip to Canada

I traveled to Canada one summer with students from my French class. It was my first, and still only, trip outside of the United States. It was exciting to think that I would finally get to apply my somewhat rudimentary French and hear native speakers.

Canada, incidentally, is an excellent place to practice the French language for several reasons.

First, most people in the French-speaking part of Canada are bilingual in French and English, so in the event that you have something extremely important to communicate, it is easy to be understood without having to fumble with foreign words.

Secondly, the people there (at least the ones with whom I interacted) appreciate even a feeble attempt at speaking in French, which they hold in higher esteem than the English language.

Interestingly enough, despite my eagerness to communicate in my newly-acquired language, I soon found myself tongue-tied when the time came to actually try and use it. The French-Canadian accent is different from the accent used by people from France (which we had studied), and many words (such as “hot dog”) are completely different.

Though I did find several opportunities to practice speaking French, I was grateful to have my mother tongue to fall back on when I needed to do so!

Comments for French class trip to Canada

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My experience is Canada was similar
by: Ron

I had a similar experience in Canada the few times I was there. You don't need French in Quebec but it can be fun to use. Just about everybody speaks English.

I too learned Parisian French (from an Italian teacher!) and find the Canadian accent a little strange. Besides reading signs and watching the news in French, the only time I actually spoke French was to order a burger (avec fromage, bien sur).

I think Canada is the best place to practice French because you don't need it to get by. You can use it when you are ready, there isn't too much pressure like you would have in France.

And absolutely they hold French in higher esteem than English! That's usually a big knock on the French attitude, but that is one of the reasons I like French. I think everyone should have that attitude about their own language. If they did, there wouldn't be so many languages dying out around the world. We should take that lesson from native French speakers.

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