Monday, August 6, 2018

Speaking French...........

Despite living in Canada for over 29 years, I still speak with a British accent.  I took French in school and sucked; really I was terrible but I took it for four years.  I left school a "number" of years ago and have never really had the need to speak French.

Fast forward to yesterday and we were in MacDonald's down the road from us and me being the nosy person that I am, was listening to a strained conversation at the counter and gathered the poor woman who was trying to order didn't speak English.

I said to the young kid behind the counter don't you take French in school, he said not; which I found strange as we are a bilingual country for heavens sakes.  Anyhow, my British schoolgirl French kicked in and we had a conversation on what she was trying to order.  I don't know who was more surprised me or dh.

Now granted my pronunciation was terrible but the lady understood me enough so I could double check the order and make sure it was correct.

I still couldn't get over the three kids, nor the manager didn't even know a bit of basic French?

So now I can add another thing to my resume/cv; TRANSLATOR!!!!


Linda said...

I took Spanish in 1964 and then in college in 1968. I have never spoken it but continue to learn vocabulary. Often, I step in the help Spanish speaking people. one woman actually spoke English better than I can speak Spanish. She was just shy. I am continuing to learn more Spanish. Good for you. Kids in the US do not learn languages as it is not required as it once was. Too bad!

50 and counting said...

OK, this isn't what you want to hear but here goes.

My family came here from the UK in the 60s. I did French up until second year of university.

The French I was taught is a totally different animal from what is spoken in Quebec. In fact the French think Quebecois French is terrible and often have issues with some of the words. It is a language that is still stuck in the 18th Century with a lot of words and phrases no longer used in France.

Growing up in BC, it would have been better for me to learn Cantonese. It was used far more frequently than French. The area that I grew up in, Portuguese was the second language.

My children were raised in Albert. Ukrainian would have been of more use to them. Our youngest son can hold a conversation in German and Japanese. Our oldest can hold his own in German.

Bi-lingualism has been a curse. My family are in the military and the RCMP. To advance they must be bi-lingual. Even when posted to areas where French is rarely, if ever used.

After the conquest of Quebec, the British should have just enforced the use of English. I mean they managed to pretty much kill Gaelic in the Highlands.

Boyett-Brinkley said...

My husband worked in and around your very area for years. He was encouraged to learn French but he never did. He could understand enough but he could only speak a little (too bad he worked for a French company!) He said he always used the universal language -- point atwhat you want and use your fingers to show how many you want -- I think he visited the bakery a LOT!!

Evelyn said...

I haver to agree with 50 and counting. I live in New Brunswick and rarely see French used and even then it is not the right French. My son took immersion but doesn't use it and probably has lost it, Cantonese or Mandarin would have been more useful

William Kendall said...

My French is rough from lack of use, but I can muddle through, and I certainly understand it when it's spoken. I did a tour of Rideau Hall a few months back with a French speaking guide, and understood the whole lot.

Winifred said...

Good for you Jill.

I learned Spanish at school, Latin too but no French. I've tried to keep learning Spanish & thought I had forgotten most of it until we went to Orlando last year. My daughter ordered a taxi by phone & a chap turned up & bless him he spoke hardly any English, only Spanish. We gave him the address but when we got near he needed directions. Suddenly from the back seat I came out with my Spanish telling him to continue straight ahead for a while & the apartment was just on the right.
I was sitting in the back so couldn't see him. My daughter sitting next to him had been panicking a bit but she said his face lit up when he heard my Spanish. Never thought anyone would be pleased with it.
My Spanish friend says my accent is very good but my problem is verbs & dealing with masculine & feminine!
Must get out my CDs & get back to using Duolingo, we're going back to Orlando next summer so who knows I might need it again.