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Old 06-21-2013, 04:15 AM
 
Location: Windsor, Ontario, Canada
11,265 posts, read 13,159,648 times
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I took french all thru grade school, and a year and a half in high school.

The only thing I remember is: Puis-je aller aux toilettes s'il vous plaît ?

Why? That's what I found most important. LMAO!

For the record though, when I have children, I do plan on sending them to french immersion schools so they have better job oppertunities.
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Old 06-21-2013, 04:24 AM
 
3,072 posts, read 4,278,019 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnatomicflux View Post

The only thing I remember is: Puis-je aller aux toilettes s'il vous plaît ?

Why? That's what I found most important. LMAO!
.
I had a discussion with hubby last night about this and I'm thoroughly confused. He said in Quebec people never actually say this but 'puis-je-t-aller...' and that's why people don't understand me sometimes. Acajack???
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Old 06-21-2013, 04:29 AM
 
Location: Montreal > Quebec > Canada
477 posts, read 426,668 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aliss2 View Post
I had a discussion with hubby last night about this and I'm thoroughly confused. He said in Quebec people never actually say this but 'puis-je-t-aller...' and that's why people don't understand me sometimes. Acajack???
"Est-ce que je peux *insert question*" would be more commonly used in informal conversations, but everyone would understand "Puis-je"
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Old 06-21-2013, 07:12 AM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
21,947 posts, read 27,348,673 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aliss2 View Post
I had a discussion with hubby last night about this and I'm thoroughly confused. He said in Quebec people never actually say this but 'puis-je-t-aller...' and that's why people don't understand me sometimes. Acajack???
Well, "puis-je aller..." would be the equivalent of saying "I shan't be too long" instead of "I won't be too long" in North American English. Almost everyone would understand but it's not what they normally say.

My kids know the expression but only use it when they are joking around and pretending to speak Parisian French.
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Old 06-21-2013, 07:35 AM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
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More answers for the OP (and trying as much as possible not to play the blame game):

Second language education is generally of poor quality in Canada. There are some notable exceptions like the French Immersion programs in English Canada, but it only involves a relatively small minority of children.

To be honest, the reason that second language education is so weak is because the heart's usually not in it. Both language groups have hang-ups about the other language and English Canadians tend to see French as an unjust and artificial imposition, and French Canadians often see English as the language of the occupiers or colonizers.

In both population groups a large group of people tends to see knowledge and use of the other official language as "ceding" something or "giving in" to the other group.

Some other points:

In most of English Canada, cultural and everyday life in general is very similar to that in the United States. If you consider that most Americans don't know a second language, it is then not hard to understand why most English Canadians don't know French.

There is a significant original cultural production in French-speaking Canada than in some cases is of very high quality. (I believe that Quebec has placed a film among the finalists for the Oscar for best foreign film in four of the past five years.), but there is little curiosity about this in English Canada outside of very few and tiny artistic circles. The American Hollywood cultural juggernaut is extremely dominant in English Canada, and to be quite honest, even the anglophone English Canadian culture itself has trouble finding its place and is usually dominated by American stuff. So you can imagine how little interest there is for stuff in French.

Another interesting point is that the majority of French-speaking Canadians, even though they live in a majority anglophone country and in North America, only speak French. This is surprising when you consider that 95% or more of the French Canadian population lives less than 1000 km from New York City.

For some of the reasons for this, see posts 9 and 10 here:

English fluency in Quebec versus northern European nations
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:11 AM
 
Location: Aloverton
6,564 posts, read 12,308,108 times
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It is fun to surprise people. In BC, generally, French is very rare. In a national park, however, I'm pretty sure that service in either language is compliance with Canadian law. So I cross the Alberta border into Jasper, and while it's possible that the park ranger at the pay shack alternates greetings with each vehicle, I think it far more likely that she has seen my WA license plates and decided I need a minor Hosing when she says, "Bonjour, bienvenue a Jasper." I guess I was supposed to look at her blankly, pick my knuckles off the truck floor and rub them on my overdeveloped brow ridges, and drawl 'what the hell?'. She does not expect, by reflex, "Bonjour mademoiselle et merci !" in a voice that has evidently been exposed to nasal vowels. Ha! All in good fun.
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:13 AM
 
Location: Calgary, AB
3,401 posts, read 1,919,932 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mumsen View Post
Why is that?
In my case, it's because my Dad didn't teach my sister or me to speak it. Don't know why, the vast majority of my vast French Catholic family has it as a first language.

Quote:
Don't they teach French in schools? If so how often and how long?
It's not mandatory, but there are Francophone schools as well as French Immersion programs in English schools or just the option to have French as a class in juniour high and high school.

Quote:
Why don't they watch more French TV and media? This is crazy
Yeah, I'd prefer to have been bilingual.
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Old 06-21-2013, 12:05 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
21,947 posts, read 27,348,673 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seabass Inna Bun View Post
It's not mandatory, but there are Francophone schools as well as French Immersion programs in English schools or just the option to have French as a class in juniour high and high school.
Just to clarify - French is mandatory in English language schools across Canada. It is almost always the second language that is taught. (Like it is usually in the UK, or Spanish is in the US.)

If you go to an English Canadian school anywhere in the country from kindergarten to high school, you will at least take a few years of French.

The intensity, frequency and quality of this varies greatly from province to province, and even from school board to school board, but you can't really get around it.

In Ontario for example it is mandatory from grades 4 to 8 in elementary. In high school though you only have to take it for one year.
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Old 06-21-2013, 02:15 PM
 
Location: Jesusland
235 posts, read 268,253 times
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French should be taught mandatory from first grade thru high school 3-4 times a week.
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Old 06-21-2013, 02:46 PM
 
34,381 posts, read 41,471,780 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mumsen View Post
French should be taught mandatory from first grade thru high school 3-4 times a week.
While we're at it Why not just make French mandatory right across the country whether its needed or not,We can even have federal language police to make sure every one complies.
Not sure where you live in Canada Mumsen but i'm sure you'd really embrace living under laws like this
http://www.cbc.ca/montreal/features/bill-14/
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