I’ve lived in Canada for 5 years now and what makes it very challenging is the fact that I have two languages I have to master, English and French. I live just outside of the nation’s capital of Ottawa, in which, the city is predominantly English with a large French population.
It goes back the early 17th century when Samuel de Champlain first made his trek up the Ottawa River and encountered the first nations tribe, Algonquins.
Since then, a large population of French settlers took ground in New France, which is now known as Quebec. Conflicts between the French, First Nations and British settlers dominated the 18th century until and agreement in 1763 ended the French and Indian war, which gave the British control of the region.
Now, in order to do business, it’s important for me to learn some fluency of the French language, as many of my clients are what they call, Franco-Ontarians. In 2010, the company I work with hired a translation agency to teach it’s employees French. For the next three months, I was given a crash course, mastering the language as best as I could.
Some of the words I noticed are the same in English and in French. For example, the word ‘premiere’, which is an adjective, means first in English. However, in French, the word uses a backward hyphen on one of the e’s. It is shown as ‘première’. Same meaning, though.
Après 4 années d’études, mon français doit encore beaucoup de travail quand il s’agit de la prononciation. Mais je peux comprendre ce que cela ressemble et comment lire le français. (Translation: After 4 years of studying, my french still needs work when it comes to pronunciation. But I can understand what it sounds like and how to read French.)
Practice makes perfect! (La pratique rend parfait!)