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Bonjour Welcome
#1
Full disclosure:  I am neither Anglophone nor Francophone but I'm most comfortable communicating in English.  

I really like the idea put forward by the francophone association in Kitchener-Waterloo (Association des Francophones de Kitchener-Waterloo).  They started a programme called Bonjour Welcome because they would like to see a bit more bilingualism in KW.  I can understand why.  Living in most parts of Canada (including Québec) it would be hard to tell that Canada is officially a bilingual nation.  

A new French language high school is to open this fall in Kitchener.  That's great but where would the graduates speak French?  The only French I see around here are signs in federal government buildings.  And nowhere else.

You can read the article from the Record here.
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#2
Other than teaching French, perhaps working at a call centre, or in a bilingual federal government job (where you might or might not ever use French), I'd be hard pressed to think of a situation in which one could use French on a daily basis outside a school/family/church setting in the Region of Waterloo.  I suppose a number of local firms have some French language and French translation abilities that aren't farmed out to more francophone areas of the country.  I believe I've once or twice seen local job ads looking for French-speaking sales or customer service reps.  Do the insurance companies perhaps have French language employees working out of offices in the Region?

I don't know whether the francophone community is growing, but it's certainly not unusual anymore to hear people speaking French in the street or at the supermarket, for example.
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#3
Manulife and Sunlife both have French contingents in the region, perhaps not large contingents, but still a very marketable skill.
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#4
I count as an "allophone" in Quebec since my mother tongue is neither English nor French. Functionally it's really English, although, like many people growing up in Montreal, I'm fluent in French as well. Montreal is pretty bilingual these days.

I agree that for the most part French isn't going to be the necessary qualification for a job around here. It can be useful sometimes and both my spouse and I have used French professionally in various contexts; I've been on committees run out of Quebec and done a radio interview in French on Radio-Canada for a nonprofit, while my spouse produced a document in French on behalf of her employer this week.

I kind of hear more French in other parts of Canada than Ontario. There was a lot in the Yukon.

Anyway, sure, this is great.
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#5
(04-04-2019, 09:38 AM)jgsz Wrote: A new French language high school is to open this fall in Kitchener.  That's great but where would the graduates speak French?  The only French I see around here are signs in federal government buildings.  And nowhere else.

The reality is that people are mobile, and may go to university elsewhere, and/or move to another province or country after graduation. Completing high school in French would give you additional options for higher education -- or employment after that.

Personal anecdote: my sister did French immersion in elementary school. After some time of not really using much, she ended up doing a five-year-assignment at Airbus in Toulouse, France. She wasn't fluent when she went there, but the base she had from French immersion helped her get up to speed quickly.

Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get. Wink
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#6
I have a niece who is in Grade 11 and has been in imersion since first grade. Her French is reasonably fluent but her accent is just brutal. Apparently French pronunciation is not part of the program in London, ON.
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#7
Last week we made an appointment at the Ford dealership to look at a new car.  When we met the sales rep I noticed that under his name on the door it said that service was available in Spanish.  When we were finished I thanked the rep in Spanish.  He was taken aback and started to talk Spanish to me.  I told him (in English) that my Spanish is very limited but my French was better.  He immediately started to speak French to me.  And his French was excellent.  So I was curious why there was no indication below his name that he spoke French or could also offer service in French. 

I think the gist of the article was about the invisibility of French in KW.  And that's what the Francophone community would like to change.  It would be nice if some restaurants got help from Hello Bonjour to make their menu bilingual.  (The irony that both restaurant and menu are from the French language is not lost on me.)  Personally, I would like to see more bilingual signs on highways.  And I wouldn't be upset to see some streets or new streets use "rue" as well as "street."

As for French language education beyond High School, I think it would be wonderful if our two universities and Conestoga College could get together and figure out a way to offer enough French languages classes that would lead to a BA.
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#8
The simple answer to the question re the Hamilton salesman (of Hispanic origin?) would be that he is far more likely to encounter customers who speak Spanish and have limitations wrt their English than he is to encounter people who speak French and have limited English.

There's nothing to prevent a restaurant in KW from having a bilingual English-French menu, but if it's not a French restaurant (an unfortunate local "gap"), it would seem an odd affectation.

People sometimes forget that Canada is not a bilingual country, it is an OFFICIALLy bilingual country and these are two different things.  There is no requirement or expectation that individual Canadians will be bilingual, with certain exceptions.
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#9
(04-06-2019, 09:33 AM)panamaniac Wrote: People sometimes forget that Canada is not a bilingual country, it is an OFFICIALLy bilingual country and these are two different things. There is no requirement or expectation that individual Canadians will be bilingual, with certain exceptions.

I do believe this to be true of other bilingual (or multilingual) countries as well. For example, while Belgium or Finland might have many bilingual residents, it's neither mandatory nor a majority of the population.
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#10
(04-06-2019, 07:35 AM)jgsz Wrote: As for French language education beyond High School, I think it would be wonderful if our two universities and Conestoga College could get together and figure out a way to offer enough French languages classes that would lead to a BA.

I happen to know that you can get a French Studies BA at Waterloo. They also have graduate students. Studying things other than French in French might be hard though. I mean, I could teach a course, but that really isn't enough to make a degree. And it's pretty specialized.
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#11
(04-06-2019, 01:58 PM)plam Wrote:
(04-06-2019, 07:35 AM)jgsz Wrote: As for French language education beyond High School, I think it would be wonderful if our two universities and Conestoga College could get together and figure out a way to offer enough French languages classes that would lead to a BA.

I happen to know that you can get a French Studies BA at Waterloo. They also have graduate students. Studying things other than French in French might be hard though. I mean, I could teach a course, but that really isn't enough to make a degree. And it's pretty specialized.

You can earn your MA or PhD in French Studies at UofW.  I assume, howevr, that the program revolves entirely around French language and literature.
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#12
(04-05-2019, 10:51 PM)panamaniac Wrote: I have a niece who is in Grade 11 and has been in imersion since first grade.  Her French is reasonably fluent but her accent is just brutal.  Apparently French pronunciation is not part of the program in London, ON.

Funny, I had a friend that was from France and had moved to Ontario around grade 5. He said that Quebec French was absolutely brutal. It's bad enough in Quebec that for Amazon Alexa they needed to work on that device for a long time so that it could be used in french Canada. It wasn't just a brutal accent, but throwing in some poorly spoken English for good measure (which was one of the issues with Alexa).

The funny thing about all of this friend, he could only manage a 75% in French. Neither him nor the French teacher could understand each other.

I dated this girl from Montreal years ago, and she was bilingual, but obviously a very heavy French accent when she spoke english. I also had a friend that was from Georgia, USA. Had them talking together and I had to translate for both of them. The Georgian accent is pretty brutal (not in a bad way though) as well, and you'd need to be raised in an English only household to understand these people, y'all.

Speaking to some friends from the US, they think that Ontario's accent (or lack thereof) is closest to California, simply almost no accent.
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#13
It's not that there's no accent. Everyone has an accent. It's just very close/identical to the dominant accent in media, and so pretty much universally intelligible across North America.
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#14
(04-10-2019, 05:13 PM)jeffster Wrote: Funny, I had a friend that was from France and had moved to Ontario around grade 5. He said that Quebec French was absolutely brutal. It's bad enough in Quebec that for Amazon Alexa they needed to work on that device for a long time so that it could be used in french Canada. It wasn't just a brutal accent, but throwing in some poorly spoken English for good measure (which was one of the issues with Alexa).

I find it very difficult to give credence to anyone who's m.o. is to criticise someone's accent.
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#15
There's a lot of little differences in Québécois and Français but after doing immersion here and going to both France and Québec I didn't have a hard time getting by with the mix of lingo they taught us in immersion... people in France asked about my accent and most people understand or smiled when I'd say bicyclette instead of velo, char instead of voiture, like going to England and putting your stuff in the boot instead of the trunk. If someone from England came over here yammering on about our brutal colonial accent I'd tell 'em to f--- themselves.
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