Monday, August 18, 2014

What KIND of French are we learning, anyhow?

My students ask this several times a year, every single year. It always comes up. They want to know if the are learning Québécois French, French from France (aka French French), Franco-Ontarian speaking patterns and accent, or what? I bet that French teachers who hail from African francophone countries get this question a lot too!


I try to introduce variations, especially when it comes to vocabulary options that exist in different francophone countries and even regions around the world.  Synonyms and flexibility are good things, in my opinion. I'd really like my French students to be able to communicate with francophones from a variety of backgrounds that they might meet throughout their lives. (Am I the only one who is disturbed by the number of TV shows with subtitles added just for English speakers with some kind of an "accent"... as if we all don't have some sort of an accent!)

I'm also disturbed by francophones who attack other francophones, accusing them of not speaking "real French." Trust me, I'm picky about spelling, punctuation, and grammar... in both my languages, but I also recognize that no one speaks perfectly all the time. So suggest an alternative, introduce cultural flavours, but don't judge.

So, what kind of French are YOU teaching, anyhow?

2 comments:

  1. When teaching EFL, I face something similar. Is English from India "less" English than that from the the US? I don't think so, but some people ask me to teach "real" English meaning the language spoken in the US or the UK.
    As for French, I agree that students should be at least exposed to the variations of the language and they should also be made to understand that languages are ever-changing and that's the beauty of it.
    Great post!

    - Lucy

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    Replies
    1. I agree about the evolution of language and that being part of its beauty. It's interesting what you share about your experiece as an ESL educator... someone jsut told me a week or two ago that in France you really just have to be an American to teach English there. (I have a feeling that information must be based on someone's very narrow experience with one school, or something... sounds "off" to me).

      J'apprécie beaucoup que tu lises mon blogue et que tu as pris le temps d'écrire un commentaire. Bon soir!

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