Trying to Learn French in a Non-French World

Canada is a bilingual country. Yet so few Canadians are actually bilingual.

In the Ontario English school system, students starting learning French in grade one and it is required that all students take French up until grade nine. After that, it’s your choice.

So, after nine years of taking French in school, one should know how to speak it or at least understand it, right? Wrong.

In all those years that I had to take French classes as part of the school curriculum, I only know a few words and phrases. That isn’t right. I should be fully fluent in French by now. But, I’m not.

It is true that I grew up in a small town in Northwestern Ontario where not a lot of people speak French there. But, there are French schools in the Catholic school system, and there is a French immersion program in at least one of the elementary school’s in the English school system (that I know of) if parents want to enroll their kids in it. However, that is beside the point.

Kids shouldn’t have to be enrolled in French immersion schools or classes just so they can become fluent in French. They should be able to learn how to speak French just as well in the English school system. That way when they travel to places in Quebec or they live in Ottawa and someone who doesn’t know English that well is talking to them in French, they will be able to communicate casino online with them.

And, now that I myself live in Ottawa and constantly hear people speaking in French all around me (at work, on the bus, out in public), it makes me wish that my education curriculum was more vigilant in teaching me how to speak French so that I knew how to speak it now.

But, last summer (after living here in Ottawa for about a year), I really wanted to take French classes so I could become bilingual. So, I had asked a friend I worked with at the time how much it cost to take classes because I knew she was currently taking them, and she told me it had only cost about $30. I thought to myself, ‘Great! I can afford that.’ But, then my friend informed me that it only cost that much for her because she was an immigrant and that it would cost me more. I asked her if she knew how much, but she wasn’t sure. Later, she found me the advertisement for the classes in one of the daily newspapers that showed how much it was and it said that was almost $300 (from what I can recall) for Canadian citizens.

That’s absolutely ridiculous. Almost $300 for Canadian citizens who want to learn French and become bilingual, and yet immigrants only need to pay $30? Now, I have nothing against immigrants, and I’m all for them learning how to speak French. But, shouldn’t it be cheaper for Canadian citizens to learn French than for immigrants, or at least have it cost the same for both since it is one of Canada’s official languages?

In a country that identifies itself as being bilingual, it is far from it. And, if we want to change that then more adult French classes at a cheaper cost will have to become available, or better yet, improve the Ontario English education system so that by the time students get to high school for the last year of mandatory French class, they’ll be able to speak fluent French.

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