October 14, 2019

Francophonie Month, 2015: The Power of Bilingualism

Francophonie MonthSo, how many languages do you speak? Is French one of them? Most ethnic minorities of Canada speak more than one language, which may or may not add value to their family finances every month. The greatest value of speaking one’s traditional language, aptly called “mother tongue,” comes from family bonding and perpetuating cultural traditions.

French, however, enhances your career prospects, especially in bilingual countries like Canada. More than 22% of Canadian population speaks French, and the majority choose Québec as their preferred home. Whether it be a career in culinary arts or winery, tourism or banking, or maybe even the armed forces or archaeology, the ability to communicate in French adds value to your profile when you are job hunting. The Federal government of Canada even provides a bilingual bonus for most jobs that require both official languages.

At a time when new generation of fresh grads are moving away from traditional professions of medicine, engineering, architecture or research, greener pastures of tourist guides, restaurateurs, interpreters and tutors lure with their promise of jobs without rigorous study regimes.

March is celebrated as Francophonie month every year with much emphasis on French as the international language of arts and culture. Afterall, the famous portrait of Mona Lisa (La Jaconde) hangs proudly in the prestigious Louvre museum of Paris. Astérix and Obélix have long ruled the comic books world, and Le Pétit Prince is a landmark novella, challenging the mentality of adults who love to show their superiority, but in reality, don’t understand a thing about the world.

In the final count, the Eiffel Tower will stand out as the world’s most loved monument, under whose skinny shadow many a newly-weds have posed and kissed. Seasoned travelers never consider their itinerary complete without paying homage to the romantic city of Paris, where wine and wanderlust joins hands to transport the tourist to the ultimate experience of nobility and elegance just by strolling along the lush tree-lined avenue of the Champs-Élysées.

Not just a language of fun and frolic, French learning can take you to the prestigious Sorbonne University where scientists, politicians, athletes, fashion designers, entrepreneurs and influential people of France studied. Marie Curie is just one of many renowned figures who attended Sorbonne.

And in case you were thinking it’s tough to learn the language, consider this: Over 50% of current English vocabulary comes from French. We call “chair” a chair because French call theirs “chaise”. Likewise, “lamp” comes from “Lampe,” and “forest” comes from “fôret”.

Needless to say, if you master the French language, learning other popular Latin languages like Italian, Spanish or Portuguese is cakewalk.

And if none of the above advantages have been able to convince you to learn French, learn it just to impress. You will notice the opposite sex throng to you in restaurants when you leaf through menu books effortlessly, explaining to your charming company the difference between vin rouge and vin blanc, choosing from the array of delicious aperitifs, and washing down the meal with an informed choice of café noir avec du chocolat.

Warning: somebody might take your knowledge of the French language and culture by asking you to elaborate on the Famous French Kiss. A vous de jouer!


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