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Old 06-20-2013, 03:45 PM
 
Location: Jesusland
235 posts, read 268,884 times
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Do Canadians outside of Quebec have good knowledge of French? Is it same comparison as Scandinavian and Dutch having great knowledge of English?

The Dutch and Scandinavians, nearly 90% of their population knows how to speak/understand English. How many percentage of that is in Canada not counting Quebec?
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:57 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
21,962 posts, read 27,422,840 times
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It's not even comparable.

Only about 6 o 7% of English Canadians living outside Quebec can speak French.

Here are some other numbers for other groups in Canada:

English Canadians living in Quebec (a small fraction of the total English Canadian population): close to 70% can speak French

French Canadians living outside of Quebec (a minority of French-speaking Canadians): 85 or 90% of them can speak English

French Canadians living in Quebec (vast majority of French Canadians): roughly 40% can speak English
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Old 06-20-2013, 09:04 PM
 
Location: Jesusland
235 posts, read 268,884 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
It's not even comparable.

Only about 6 o 7% of English Canadians living outside Quebec can speak French.
Why is that?

Don't they teach French in schools? If so how often and how long?
Why don't they watch more French TV and media? This is crazy
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Old 06-20-2013, 09:07 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
21,962 posts, read 27,422,840 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mumsen View Post
Why is that?

Don't they teach French in schools? If so how often and how long?
Why don't they watch more French TV and media? This is crazy
It's a long story and it's getting late here in Québec right now! Sorry.

More on this tomorrow!
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Old 06-20-2013, 09:16 PM
 
Location: Canada
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No, Canada's Anglophone population outside of Quebec generally has a weak knowledge of French if they haven't lived in Quebec or worked in a bilingual environment for the federal government. Canada outside Quebec, beyond the more Francophone border regions near Quebec, is strongly and officially Anglophone, and because English is the dominant lingua franca of the world today, there aren't the same opportunities to be exposed to it as there are for English and those smaller European speaking peoples. The rate of French-English bilingualism outside Quebec is about 10%. They do learn it in school but unless they choose to study it longer in most provinces it seems they are only taught it for a few years. Without contact with Francophones, they often forget most of it through lack of use. Most do not watch Francophone media or movies because there is so much available in the English language due it being such a popular global language, so they don't tend to bother with the inconvenience of watching in a language they are less comfortable in. Also, official bilingualism is product of the reforms brought in by Trudeau in the 70's, so older generations typically weren't exposed to French, younger generations of Canadian born people are more bilingual. Immigrants to the rest of Canada not educated here also typically just learn English. Prior to the Trudeau era reforms English was dominant over French because Canada was coming from a very recent past of being basically just a piece of the colonial British Empire which was emerging as a self governing state. That old imperial power dynamic in the foundation of Canada means the relationship between French and English is coming from a different historical place then say the various languages of the Swiss Confederation. It would have been more like the relationship between Austria and Hungary in the Austro-Hungarian empire if you`re familiar with it, where Hungary was a very important and key part of the empire right near the halls of power which shared in prestige and was not completely dominated by German in the way, say, Czech was, but it also was not on an equal footing with it and the Empire still saw itself as primarily a German one. In the latter half of the twentieth century, Canada transitioned to the languages being officially equal and there was the emergence of the two founding peoples narrative for Canada being created. However, this old history which leads to French not having an entrenched place in the reality of much of the rest of Canada, especially the West and Newfoundland which were settled almost entirely under British governance which naturally saw English as the logical language to install as the public tongue in areas where there were few French speakers already present. This leads to a lag in learning it, as does some historical and modern antagonism and lingering bad blood between the lingustic groups, and as does the irresistible pull of English's global hegemony as the most popular language on Earth.

Bilingualism rate drops for first time since Pierre Trudeau | Canada | News | National Post

Last edited by BIMBAM; 06-20-2013 at 09:50 PM..
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Old 06-20-2013, 11:16 PM
 
Location: Aloverton
6,564 posts, read 12,329,257 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mumsen View Post
Why is that?

Don't they teach French in schools? If so how often and how long?
Why don't they watch more French TV and media? This is crazy
Couple reasons, from the perspective of a French-speaking Anglophone southern neighbor.

1) Much primary and secondary language education in the US doesn't really take, and based on what my Canadian friends tell me, it's similar in Canada. They take it for years, but many aren't thrilled about it, so they get through it and then forget it--unless they have Francophone relatives or live around a majority Francophone community.

2) Plenty of Canadians live far enough from Francophone areas that unless they need it for a job, there isn't a lot of motivation to learn French. There would be of course the altruistic motivation--that it would be ideal for every Canadian to speak both Canada's official languages--but that runs smack into the reality that most people have other priorities. Job, family, beer, whatever.

3) I am told stories, which I believe are not universally representative but do have a basis in broad experience, that Anglophone Canadians trying their halting French in Quebec (at least) sometimes meet with a chilly reception, and if they speak no French at all, more so. (They also tell me that it's different for Americans, from whom the most pathetic but honest attempts at French are usually appreciated--perhaps because it's such a stunner to hear us do better than "bonn-jure.") I suppose this breeds some resistance about the matter in those who experience it. It's not my place to evaluate the rights or wrongs of that, but I have heard often enough to believe that it can happen.
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Old 06-20-2013, 11:30 PM
 
Location: Vancouver
12,714 posts, read 8,792,917 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mumsen View Post
Why is that?

Don't they teach French in schools? If so how often and how long?
Why don't they watch more French TV and media? This is crazy
I live on the west coast of B.C. When I travel to France I have had people ask me, as a Canadian, why I don't speak French. My flippant answer is " for the same reason you don't speak a central African language."

The distances in Canada are huge and outside of Quebec French communities are sparse, with a bit more concentration in New Brunswick.

Of course the difference is French is an official language in Canada and is seen on goods and signs etc, so most have at least a few words, but no where near conversational French.

Yes people get some French in school and there are French Immersion schools that, at least in B.C. fill up quickly, but once learned you have to work hard to keep your French since it is not used in everyday life for most of the rest of Canada.
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Old 06-21-2013, 12:31 AM
 
Location: Alberta, Canada
2,189 posts, read 1,761,081 times
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For the record, I speak English, French, and Russian.

Quote:
Originally Posted by j_k_k View Post
3) I am told stories, which I believe are not universally representative but do have a basis in broad experience, that Anglophone Canadians trying their halting French in Quebec (at least) sometimes meet with a chilly reception, and if they speak no French at all, more so. (They also tell me that it's different for Americans, from whom the most pathetic but honest attempts at French are usually appreciated--perhaps because it's such a stunner to hear us do better than "bonn-jure.") I suppose this breeds some resistance about the matter in those who experience it. It's not my place to evaluate the rights or wrongs of that, but I have heard often enough to believe that it can happen.
I've encountered this. I've spoken French in Quebec, only to be replied to in English (often with a roll of the eyes). I've also spoken French in France, where the replies come in French, without a roll of the eyes. I understand the reason behind the French replies in France: I try to speak the local language and begin the conversation in French, assuming that the other person does not speak English, so naturally, we will continue with the French language. I am sure my accent is atrocious, but it has proved to be understandable in France; much like us English speakers can understand English as spoken by a native Mandarin speaker who has learned English at school in China.

I do not always understand the reason behind the Quebec replies. Just as I do in France, I am making an effort to communicate in the language of the land where I find myself. But in spite of my not-always-Larousse-perfect French, I must ask: why do the French in France make an effort to understand me while Quebecers roll their eyes and speak English?

There was one time when I was talking with a merchant in Montreal. This person deduced that my native language was English (in spite of the fact that I was speaking French), and promptly ripped a strip off me in rapid-fire Quebec French. I have no idea what she said, but I caught enough to know that it wasn't polite. So, since it was obvious that my commercial transaction for a takeout cup of coffee was not going to take place, I ripped a strip off her in Russian. And I let her have it with both barrels. Loudly.

The look on her face was priceless. She simply could not comprehend that an English Canadian knew anything other than English.
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Old 06-21-2013, 01:48 AM
 
34,475 posts, read 41,589,827 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mumsen View Post
Why is that?

Don't they teach French in schools? If so how often and how long?
Why don't they watch more French TV and media? This is crazy
Kinda pointless to speak French if every one in your daily life speaks English as it is in the rest of Canada outside Quebec, sure the kids across Canada might get an hour of French per week but whats the point if you never use it and why would you use it if everything is English.
People dont just start speaking another language for the sake of speaking another language they usually speak any given language because thats what everyone else is speaking in Canadas case thats French in Quebec and English everywhere else.
As for speaking French to a French person and them coming back in English i find the practice rude particularly here in Quebec when the French culture and government has done its best to marginalize the Anglo community so ok now we're speaking French and you're coming back to me in English? I most always continue on in French,thats what you wanted thats what you got,Anglos speaking French.Own it.

Last edited by jambo101; 06-21-2013 at 01:57 AM..
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Old 06-21-2013, 04:04 AM
 
3,072 posts, read 4,288,221 times
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I live in Quebec now and speak decent French but I didn't start learning until I was 23 in Vancouver (and I didn't attain any sort of practical ability until I actually moved here at 25).

The vast majority of people in British Columbia do not have any ability in French. We take French (mandatory) until grade 8 where you can either chose to do another language, no language, or continue in French. I took Japanese and Mandarin - Mandarin in particular can be used daily in Vancouver whereas any French speaker is usually fluently bilingual (to the point you don't even know they are French).

I have two friends who were fluent in French ~ both girls had attended (well sought-after) immersion programs, there was usually only one school per town because there just aren't enough teachers. I didn't realize until I was 25 that the "d" in il fait chaud was silent French is taught by people who have no ability to speak it. The situation is a bit similar in rural Quebec except those teachers tend to have better English than anglophone teachers have French.

Nobody uses French in British Columbia so there's no need. Why learn French when you can use Mandarin and use it daily? My children are bilingual because of their father but they probably wouldn't be if it wasn't for him.
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