But one thing helped to make it through the long days (that is, other than the pack of cigarette I smoked and the cup of burning hot coffee sitting by me on the table) : when customers called, I had to ask them for their address. And I soon discovered Canadians had some kind of humor when it came to naming places.
Browsing: French & English
Summer usually brings the worse students, along with those to busy to take classes the rest of the year and whose only chance is to come to school when the Parliament isn’t in session. I don’t mind those ones. They’re usually focused on their studies because they’re desperate to pass their French test, which will entitle them to a promotion or a pay rise. But the weirdos…
I’m losing my French. Too bad I’m a French teacher.
It all started when I moved to Ottawa. The city is in Ontario but the French-speaking province of Quebec is only minutes away, across the Ottawa River. As a result, roughly 50% of the population speaks English and 30% of the population speaks French.
English wasn’t popular. French don’t like English much (“they put vinegar on chips and eat meat with mint sauce !”), and the relationship with the USA has always been a bit rocky (“these warmongers/ burgers-eaters !”), so there were basically no incentive to learn.
My students are office workers. I’m not – and their field of work and the arcane of the ubiquitous bureaucracy can be bewildering for a rookie like me. Like when I was filing up for another teacher last week for a Canada Revenue Agency class. So I came into the class, introduced myself and asked the students to do the same, one by one.
Qui est quoi ? Le Québec est officiellement francophone, le Nouveau-Brunswick est la seule province officiellement bilingue, et le reste est anglophone, avec des poches francophones un peu partout (Manitoba, Ontario…). Le tout forme un pays qui se bat sur quelle langue utiliser, quelle langue privilégier, quelle langue a combien de pourcentage de locuteur. Et surtout, pas-dessus, un long contentieux entre anglophones et francophones.
Ces anglicismes ne me choquent pas, mais j’ai appris à les traduire spontanément en québécois. Histoire d’éviter de me faire reprendre trop souvent. En effet, les anglicismes français sont le plus souvent des anglicismes lexicaux, des noms, ayant un sens en anglais (ou non ! – essayez de parler de « camping-car » à un anglophone…), qu’il est facile de remplacer.