Proud to be im­mersed in bilin­gual­ism

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page -

The Editor, In the con­text of the cel­e­bra­tions of the 400th an­niver­sary of French pres­ence in On­tario, area fran­co­phones were treated to a royal feast of hu­mour at the Aultsville Theatre by the “Juste pour rire/Just For Laughs” or­ga­ni­za­tion in part­ner­ship with many groups.

Among the 14 per­form­ers, one hu­morist, Kather­ine Levac, made a state­ment that res­onated very well in our bilin­gual com­mu­nity: “Ma plus grande fierté c’est d’être bilingue.” (“My great­est pride is that of be­ing bilin­gual.”)

Be­ing im­mersed in bilin­gual­ism, we some­times take this life skill for granted, a skill that opens so many doors, not only in our area, but in our coun­try, and around the world re­ally.

I some­times won­der if we, as Cana­di­ans, re­al­ize our luck in hav­ing French and English as the of­fi­cial lan­guages of our na­tion. They are so sim­i­lar: Same al­pha­bet, 40 per cent of English words are iden­ti­cal or sim­i­lar to their French equiv­a­lent, ev­ery Cana­dian has equal ac­cess to them.

French and English are taught in ev­ery Cana­dian school.

Al­low me to list some of the many at­tributes that come with this life skill that we pro­mote in all schools of Canada, as listed by a B.C. as­so­ci­a­tion called, “French for the Fu­ture,” www.french-fu­ture.org. Did you know that... French and English are the only two lan­guages taught in ev­ery coun­try in the world.

French is the of­fi­cial lan­guage of the Red Cross, the Uni­ver­sal Postal Union. French is the lan­guage of diplo­macy. French is one of the two of­fi­cial lan­guages of the Olympic Games.

French is one of the of­fi­cial lan­guages of the United Na­tions, and UNESCO. New Brunswick, the North­west Ter­ri­to­ries, the Yukon and Nu­navut have English and French as of­fi­cial lan­guages. French is the lin­gua franca of art, cui­sine, dance and fash­ion. There are over 700 French-lan­guage univer­si­ties in the world.

French-speak­ing Africa rep­re­sents an area larger than the USA. Many schol­ar­ships are of­fered to bilin­gual stu­dents. French is the lan­guage of love.

Salaries are higher for bilin­gual work­ers than they are for unilin­gual work­ers.

French opens doors to ca­reers in teach­ing, busi­ness, diplo­macy, re­search, trans­la­tion, in­ter­pre­ta­tion, travel and more.

If you bump into Johnny Depp, or Sid­ney Crosby or even the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, you could have a French con­ver­sa­tion with them. The lat­ter was sent to Switzer­land for his ed­u­ca­tion.

Jean Lecompte, Cornwall

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