Je veux appendre le français! Pourquoi?

I don’t even know if that is grammatically correct. I can translate things word-for-word, but when it comes to the settle oddities or French sentence structure, I must sound horrible. If they had a French equivalent of Engrish Funny, I’d probably be their top contributor.

“Wait, you mean “tête carrée” isn’t a compliment? Whoops.”

As many of you probably know, Canada is a bilingual country. This doesn’t mean that everyone in every city speaks French, or that we even like French. It just means that there are two sides to every cereal box, a French one and an English one. Québec is our French province. In most places outside Montreal, everyone you encounter will speak French and perhaps a little English. There are also the Acadian areas of the east coast, and various small towns in northern Ontario and Alberta that are francophone.

Toronto, however, is the opposite. People here speak every language on earth. Russian, Hindi, Italian, Punjabi, Cantonese, Mandarin. Not so much with French. I think I’ve encountered maybe…I don’t know…10 people speaking French in Toronto? (Yes, more probably know the language but were just conversing in English.)

This is why I’m having such a problem with it. I want to become fluent. I took French throughout high school and I can conjugate verbs like no body’s business, but when it comes to conversing, I don’t know what the hell people are talking about. Every spoken word in high school French was slow and straightforward. I can’t even understand French kids’ shows, they speak too fast for me.

The amount of times I’ve driven through Québec and lost my nerve to order a sandwich in French in frustrating. I’ll stand in line and think to myself, “Bonjour! Est-ce que je peux avoir une six inch vegetable sub, s’il vous plait?” only to walk up and order in English? What if they don’t understand my accent? What if I have to switch to English when they stare at me with confusion? Ahhh!

I mean, if I’m going to get a degree in something a little abstract with no surefire job, as I had in nursing, I might as well have something going for me that most people don’t.

Hopefully next year I’ll have the guts to join a French club at university. What could be more fun than going out to a pub and getting drunk with a bunch of French-learners?

Until then, I’ll suffer through watching Dino Train on the French channels with the captioning on.

Don’t even get me started on learning Quebec French vs. France French.

Anyone who has struggled to learn a new language without the option of immersion, please share any tips you have avec moi.

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2 responses to “Je veux appendre le français! Pourquoi?

  1. I tried to order a cheeseburger in German when I went to Germany and because of my accent I instantly got glares for everyone around.