Monday, February 20, 2012

Dredging up the French, part 2 (turbo mode!)

Allons enfants de la patrie, le jour de gloire est arrive!

I talked about how my French is coming back to me a year ago, but since then, it's been on the accelerated path.  On the one hand, I've got a province where French isn't REALLY spoken a lot, but you can definitely find it.  On the second hand, I've got the boyfriend who was in Ontario French immersion school (and his father and sister will banter back and forth with him on occasion).  And on the third hand, and likely the most prevalent in my everyday life, we've got our new Quebecois postdoc and new Iranian postdoc, who both speak French.  They speak French to each other and to anyone else who admits they know a bit of French and would be willing to speak it occasionally.  The Ontario-native grad students and I are included.  It's super cool.

That's three hands of French, people.  French is launching a triple-pronged and multi-accented attack at me.  It sounds dumb of me to say "I know it's an official language and all, but I didn't know it would be so prominent," but that's kind of how I felt moving to Ontario, land of English-speakers.

I find myself falling into the trap that I always do with all of the (bits and shreds of) foreign languages I know.  People talk to me in the foreign language.  I understand, but knee-jerk answer in English.  My comprehension is solid and immediate, but so desiring am I to convey information back quickly, that I answer in the most expedient way possible.  I have to convince the postdocs to stop letting me do this.

Has anyone else moved to Ontario and noticed an unusual influx of French into their life?

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