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#1 Posted by danimal_furry (1453 posts) -

At work, I got into an argument about French in Canada. I said that Canadians were kind of forced to recognize French and it was more like Spanish in the US. My coworker attacked me with claims of bigotry for being a stupid American that thinks only English should be spoken all over the world. She said everyone speaks French in Canada because it is one of the primary languages... besides english. I have friends I grew up with who were from Canada but that means they aren't great primary sources since they didn't grow up there. I am not being anti French either. I am going off statistics and my actual visits to Toronto. In fact, I remember clearly at the McDonalds near the CN tower, a kid at the counter being unable to help a French couple . That story is a long one, but the end is they could speak english because they spoke it perfectly in line with me but refused to do so at the counter. Anyway, if I am wrong, I will eat crow. But I want clarification.

#2 Posted by Ezakael (935 posts) -

We're taught french in school but no not everyone speaks french in Canada.

#3 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

Some people are just assholes, and shit all over people.

Witnessed something similar at a local grocery store recently. The lady at the counter was clearly an immigrant, as they so often are, and a man and his two kids were checking out. Apparently one of the kids ate a bread roll in the store, so the man told her so, but instead of using the proper word for that specific bread roll, he used an ancient Swiss dialect word - maybe 1 in 10 Swiss people would actually understand that word - just to humiliate the lady at the counter. He almost outright insulted her for not knowing the word, being a total bitch about it. I was next in line, have been living here all my life, and I wouldn't have gotten it either. Neither would my father have. Maybe my grandmother, but she's been dead for 20 years. What an asshole.

Almost would have bashed that son of a bitch's head in, in front of his children and all (not really, but I wish I'd have made a big fucking deal about him being a fucking arse). What an incredibly petty thing to do.

#4 Posted by danimal_furry (1453 posts) -

If it is required for schools, do you have to actually come out knowledgable in French, or is it just a class people forget once they pass 2 levels like most people with Spanish here in the US?

#5 Posted by SarjuTheRapper (279 posts) -

i speak french but i live in ottawa which is like right next to quebec, and even here it's about a 50/50 split between the kids who take french immersion in elementary and those who opt for 100% english classes. so no not everyone speaks french

#6 Posted by Zella (731 posts) -

We're supposed to be taught at school but at least her in BC it was barely covered. French Immersion in school though is pretty common and available. It only really seems like french is truly equal in Ottawa and Quebec.

#7 Posted by Skyrider (347 posts) -

In Ontario (don't know about the other provinces) you only have to learn it up until tenth grade. So yeah, years of learning french and I can't really understand it at all anymore, let alone speak it.

#8 Edited by Ezakael (935 posts) -

@danimal_furry said:

If it is required for schools, do you have to actually come out knowledgable in French, or is it just a class people forget once they pass 2 levels like most people with Spanish here in the US?

They teach it till High school here. Up to grade 9 where I live(You can do more but it stops being forced after grade 9). Honestly I never really did well but I got through it. I can't speak any french at all so needless to say it was kind of useless.

#9 Posted by ShadowConqueror (3050 posts) -

I've known Canadians who didn't know French, particularly those who were in the western parts of the country.

#10 Posted by danimal_furry (1453 posts) -

That is more strange than I expected.

#11 Posted by blueinferno (448 posts) -

No, we don't all speak in french. But we do live in igloos and go ice fishing year round.

#12 Posted by Ezakael (935 posts) -

@blueinferno said:

No, we don't all speak in french. But we do live in igloos and go ice fishing year round.

Don't forget the polar bears. I ride one to school.

#13 Posted by danimal_furry (1453 posts) -

Hahahaha! I like fishing. Cold... not so much.

#14 Posted by blueinferno (448 posts) -

@Ezakael: I did too, but we had to shoot it last month because it got hit by a flying hockey puck. Had to put it out of its misery. Now I have to snowshoe to school.

#15 Posted by scarace360 (4828 posts) -

No not even close.

#16 Posted by GrantHeaslip (1573 posts) -

In Ontario, we do French from grades 1-9 (and optionally through to 12). That said, at least in my case, it was a complete joke -- I know some very basic conversational French and can maybe get the gist of a passage of text, but compared to the second language education in other parts of the world, we didn't learn shit. We were taught very narrow vertical slices of vocabulary and grammar that we were tested on, and looking back there was a general air of "well, it's in the curriculum, so let's do the bare minimum possible" at every stage.

My middle school French teacher would often show us English movies and give us very basic French fill-in-the-blank tests on it, and I think one year we learned the names of all of the African countries in French because why the hell not? Her class was in a portable, but was moved to the open-concept area of the school after (I assume) the administration caught on.

If I sound bitter, I am -- I would love to know French now, and the time in which my brain was the most receptive to a second language was wasted by the joke of a French education I received. I don't claim to speak for everyone, but I don't think my experience is that far from the norm. There is a tiny subset of schools called "French immersion" in which students get much more in-depth French education, but it's very much opt-in.

Canadians might know more French than Americans know Spanish, but not much more. The percentage of French-speakers (in the sense of being able to have even a basic conversation) is probably well under 10% in every province except Quebec.

#17 Posted by TobbRobb (4603 posts) -

Wasn't gonna post since I haven't ever been in Canada. But I can at least reinforce what @Zella: said. Which is that I'm pretty sure it's region based. Quebec is supposedly largely frenchspeaking while most of the county only recognizes it and to some degree teaches it.

#18 Posted by Ezakael (935 posts) -

@blueinferno: My condolences. Something similar happened to our last one only it was a curling rock =(

#19 Posted by Castiel (2580 posts) -

Is it true that Canadians wears sunglasses at night?

#20 Posted by danimal_furry (1453 posts) -

That was useful. From what I know, French is spoken by about 20% of Canada (95% in quebec). That really was interesting to learn.

#21 Posted by dudeglove (7772 posts) -

Silly question, nobody likes Canada.

#22 Posted by Akeldama (4244 posts) -

In a word, no.

#23 Posted by AjayRaz (12424 posts) -

@danimal_furry: i live in Montreal, Quebec and french is pretty much mandatory around here. it's part of your required courses in school, even during college and there are some parts of Montreal (like where i live) where everybody speaks French, and all the signs and shit have french on 'em.

also, if you're going to work in retail in Montreal, it's recommended that you know both english and french because you never know who you're going to get. an english speaker or a french speaker.

#24 Posted by danimal_furry (1453 posts) -

Also, I love the jokes. They are making me laugh pretty damn hard right now. But seriously, one of my friends from Canada lost a brother in a zamboni collision. A polar bear was driving it without a license, after a visit to the Molson factory.

#25 Posted by Sooty (8082 posts) -

What is this Canada you speak of?

#26 Posted by DelroyLindo (387 posts) -

I studied french for 6 years and spanish for 4. I can't speak a lick of french and can only make simple requests in spanish. If you have no interest in learning another language you wont take any of it in, no matter how long a school may drill you on it.

#27 Posted by Damian (1538 posts) -

@Castiel said:

Is it true that Canadians wears sunglasses at night?

I don't believe it!

#28 Posted by danimal_furry (1453 posts) -

That is interesting as well. So basically anyone can get around Quebec fairly easily without knowledge of French. That would explain why the French folks at McDonalds were giving the dude behind the counter a hard time. I also have heard that all signs in Canada have to be in English and French.

#29 Posted by AjayRaz (12424 posts) -

@danimal_furry: i can't speak for the rest of Quebec, but you could be fine in Montreal being an English speaker. although you're more likely to run into somebody who knows French only as opposed to somebody who know English only, since there are some French only schools, while English schools have mandatory French courses.

lots of stuff in Canada is required to be in English and French. game boxes take a pretty big hit when it comes to that stuff.

..that's a lot of text.
#30 Posted by RedRoach (1191 posts) -

Quebec is the french province. Outside of that most people don't care. French is a mandatory class from grade 4-9 but I can't speak french to save my life, I know a few basic phrases, number and colours, but that's about it. out of the 60+ people that were in the same grade as me, only 3 or 4 can actually speak it.

Almost no one outside of Quebec gives a shit about french.

#31 Posted by bigsmoke77 (788 posts) -

The only reason French is a factor in Canada is because of the province of Quebec but what you might not know is that Quebec is afraid of losing their "culture" and language so they try to keep English out by making it law that all signs have to have French on them and if you want to have another language it has to be a lot smaller and all government relations have to be done in french and there is rules about how businesses conduct themselves with french. (Charter of the French Language)The only Province that is bilingual is the small province of New Brunswick. I can't remember what grade french is first taught to all students but its for a small part of the day and than pretty much everything that you learned is gone after summer but the school program expects you to retain everything you learned so in my opinion its a waste of time unless you keep learning through out the summer! Like that is going to happen!! In my province the last Grade you have to take french is Grade 10 and when I left that class for the last time I was so happy. So in conclusion French sucks and so does Quebec!

#32 Posted by mosespippy (4127 posts) -

@danimal_furry said:

If it is required for schools, do you have to actually come out knowledgable in French, or is it just a class people forget once they pass 2 levels like most people with Spanish here in the US?

Where I'm from you only have to take it from grade 4 to grade 9 and the french teachers from 4 to 6 don't have to actually know french. In Alberta (the region politically most like the American south) you don't even have to learn French. You can learn other languages instead like spanish, german or cree. It really depends on what region you are in. With that said, where I live the program for French in every course from kindergarten to grade 12 is really popular. Parents need to be waiting in line at 4AM when they open registration in order to get a spot. I'm pretty sure there is a law saying that people who speak both languages have to be paid more than people doing the same job that only speak one.

The biggest difference between Canada and a country that only speaks one language is that all government services must be available in both languages. So if you were taken to court you could request that it be held in french and they would have to find translators or bilingual judges/lawyers/jurymen. Or if you have to fill out a government form there will be English on one side and French on the other. The other big difference is of course the fact that all products have to have French and English on the package.

#33 Posted by Deranged (1837 posts) -

@danimal_furry said:

If it is required for schools, do you have to actually come out knowledgable in French, or is it just a class people forget once they pass 2 levels like most people with Spanish here in the US?

For my generation, we learned it from the earliest level of kindergarten all the way up to grade 9. It then becomes an elective for the rest of high school.

My brothers generation and I think any under mine don't have to start taking french until the 4th grade.

#34 Posted by CL60 (16906 posts) -
@AjayRaz

@danimal_furry: i can't speak for the rest of Quebec, but you could be fine in Montreal being an English speaker. although you're more likely to run into somebody who knows French only as opposed to somebody who know English only, since there are some French only schools, while English schools have mandatory French courses.

lots of stuff in Canada is required to be in English and French. game boxes take a pretty big hit when it comes to that stuff.

..that's a lot of text.
There was also The Orange Box cover. In big letters it said "La Boîte Orange" and in tiny letters it said "The Orange Box"

That shit pissed me off.
#35 Posted by Chop (1996 posts) -

@danimal_furry said:

If it is required for schools, do you have to actually come out knowledgable in French, or is it just a class people forget once they pass 2 levels like most people with Spanish here in the US?

I'm in the one of the Western provinces (Alberta, to be specific) and we didn't even have a French class at my school. You had to do it through distance education if you wanted to take it.

#36 Posted by Mcfart (1611 posts) -

Basically, the further west you go, the less likely you'll run into French speakers. The majority in Qubec know French, since they consider themselves a French province. However, in BC I remember being forced to take French from grades 4-8 (optional in high school), and I never learned anything. I just remember watching English videos in class.

HOWEVER, I have relitives and friends that are fluent in French, and part of that is because of the easy-to-access French immersion programs we have. So just don't expect those who went through public school to know French :)

#37 Posted by QuantumPilot (86 posts) -

I am Canadian, and fuck French. I spent most of primary school and high school learning it, and I don't remember a god damn word.

#38 Posted by Brodehouse (9887 posts) -

Je suis tu es il et elle et nous sommes vous être ils est elles est!

Middle school French will teach you to be a philosopher; I Am You Are He Is...

#39 Posted by Farmer (328 posts) -

@QuantumPilot said:

I am Canadian, and fuck French. I spent most of primary school and high school learning it, and I don't remember a god damn word.

So imagine how bitter I am about Welsh.

#40 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (2691 posts) -

Meh, I rather learn Kutenai.

#41 Posted by Brendan (7778 posts) -

Quebec is French. The rest of the country is like the U.S., where we learn it in school for a while and then most of us forget it.

#42 Posted by jonny_mung (90 posts) -

@Castiel said:

Is it true that Canadians wears sunglasses at night?

This is absolutely true.

Also, every Canadian is working for the weekend... you know.. because they are taking care of business.

=)

#43 Posted by Unmada (68 posts) -

One side of my family lives in British Columbia and not one of them speaks French. A Canadian friend of mine from Toronto doesn't either, but is fluent in Spanish.

#44 Posted by Shuborno (938 posts) -

It's among the things they teach you in grade school that you promptly forget if you don't use it.

I'm in Ontario and I took it all through high school but my French isn't great - I could communicate with a French-speaker but I wouldn't be able to hold a proper conversation about anything.

#45 Posted by ZeForgotten (10397 posts) -
@jonny_mung said:

@Castiel said:

Is it true that Canadians wears sunglasses at night?

This is absolutely true.

Also, every Canadian is working for the weekend... you know.. because they are taking care of business.

=)

But, How I Met Your Mother taught me that all canadians fear the dark, and wearing sunglasses at night just makes it even darker! 
My god, Canadians are brave. 
#46 Posted by Brodehouse (9887 posts) -
@jonny_mung

@Castiel said:

Is it true that Canadians wears sunglasses at night?

This is absolutely true.

Also, every Canadian is working for the weekend... you know.. because they are taking care of business.

=)

Most of us are just here for a good time, not a long time. We told that American woman to get away in the summer of 69 and now she's been gone, gone, gone, she's been gone so long. Oh well, life is just a fantasy, and also a highway, and also a stereo.
#47 Posted by Rolyatkcinmai (2686 posts) -

I find myself speaking French primarily when I go to Montreal, otherwise you can get by entirely on English, as that's the main language in most of Canada. (I live in Boston)

#48 Posted by MarvinPontiac (112 posts) -

The short answer is no. We take French in school, but anything beyond the high-school level you really have to persue French on your own. Primary and secondary Schools will have the option for "French Immersion" which allows an English student to have his/her lessons taught in French, but not at the same level as an all-francophone school.

In terms of work, public servants are given French classes, and you reach higher paygrades depending on your level of fluidity. In large cities, it can be hard to find a job in customer / client service or retail if you don't speak français, but obviously not a requirement if you don't deal with the public. So it's true that you don't need French to get by in Canada, but it can affect your hirability.

If we're talking about rural Canada, French isn't much of a factor. Most rural areas are either predominantly French-speaking, or predominantly English. Obviously the province of Quebec is an exception, and is completely French-speaking, although there's an argument that Montreal is predominantly English. I would believe that, but French is always first in their signage.

I haven't met any francophones that can't also speak English. The only monolinguals I know speak English or Inuk.

#49 Posted by nbesnerson (33 posts) -

Take off eh! You hoser..

#50 Posted by mosespippy (4127 posts) -

@Brodehouse said:

@jonny_mung

@Castiel said:

Is it true that Canadians wears sunglasses at night?

This is absolutely true.

Also, every Canadian is working for the weekend... you know.. because they are taking care of business.

=)

Most of us are just here for a good time, not a long time. We told that American woman to get away in the summer of 69 and now she's been gone, gone, gone, she's been gone so long. Oh well, life is just a fantasy, and also a highway, and also a stereo.

If I had a rocket launcher I would raise a little hell where no cars go.