Abroad in Montréal, QC: Learning the language

Although French (Canadian French) serves as the main language in Québec, English is still widely understood and there is at least a decent percentage of anglophones who reside here in Montréal. Being in the environment and being surrounded by French speakers definitely assists in the learning speed.  However, in saying that, French is definitely not an easy language to learn and mistaking “a louer”for “a lover” is only one of the many funny moments I’ve experienced since arriving here. And why oh why is the grammar so complicated!

At this point, the things I remember the most are the phrases and words I use to tease Alex with (désolé Alex *wink*) and the phrases and words used when purchasing things at the store. But mostly I just repeat oui (yes) and non (no) and hope I didn’t just answer yes to giving up a bunch of money.

Initially, not speaking the language made me nervous when going to the shops myself. But with a little bit of courage and practice, I can now confidently make simple exchanges with cashiers. Except the one time I said “non, s’il vous plaît (no, please)” instead of “non, merci (no, thanks)”. It probably sounded like I was deeply afraid of receipts and was begging her to not give it to me. NO. Please. Anything but receipts!!

Anyways, at the end of the day, learning a language is all about making mistakes and the willingness to learn. Coming to Montréal knowing only a bit of French probably wasn’t the best idea. But throwing myself in to a predominantly French speaking environment with french abilities of a 1 year old sounded amazing and I just couldn’t pass that up (ha ha). I mean, I learnt how to ride a bike that way? What could go wrooooooong. Duolingo is my best friend now and everything will be alright!



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