Jayne Abrate, AATF’s Executive Director
No, French week is not a Canadian event where everyone has to speak French. Organized by the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF), National French Week is an annual celebration of everything French, including French language and culture.
This year, the event takes place from November 8 to 14.
And surprisingly, there’s plenty to celebrate. French is actually growing as an international language. According to the Organization internationale de la francophonie (The International Organisation of La Francophonie – OIF), the number of French speakers in the world increased from 200 to 220 million in 2010. In the United States, French keeps getting more popular. According to the 2011 U.S. Census Bureau 1.3 million Americans speak French at home, although the OIF claims this number is closer to 2 million. Many Americans learn French to get access to French culture, including French literature, art, cuisine, French intellectuals and films. According to the 2010 OIF report, between 2006 and 2010 there were approximately 1.6 million elementary, secondary and post-secondary students of French in the U.S. Read more »
Also posted in French, Various
Jean-Benoît Nadeau, co-author of The Story of French is quoted in Maclean’s recent article by Martin Patriquin: Will immigrants save the French language, or hasten its demise? For Jean-Benoît, the issue is not the influx of immigrants into Quebec, but rather Quebec’s limiting definition of the term “francophone.” Read the article
Also posted in French, Press, Various
Photo: Veronica Louis
L’office québecois de la langue française’s (Quebec Office of the French Language) just published a report that shows the French language is losing ground in Montreal. French language defenders understandably went up in arms about this.
But appearances can be deceptive. What the study shows is that the proportion of Montrealers who speak French at home is declining. In other words, the report is counting native French speakers, not francophones.
Let us explain. You don’t have to be a French Canadian, and you don’t have to speak French at home to be a francophone. All you have to do is speak French. Period. Read more »
Jean-Benoit recently attended a conference of the association, Francophonie des Amériques where he heard University of Laval professor Michelle Daveluy speak about her adventures aboard the Canadian Marine’s frigates NCSM Ville de Québec and HMCS Vancouver. Daveluy, a communications ethnologist, spent several weeks at sea with the Canadian marines researching how communication happens in a bilingual military environment. Read more »
Written by Julie Barlow
The American Association of Teachers of French is holding its Annual Conference in Montreal this summer on July 7th, 2011. A member of the AATF recently wrote to us asking if the French spoken in Quebec is really a “dialect” as he had heard from a colleague.
The answer is no. But let’s back up a bit.
What is generally described as a Quebec dialect is a Quebec slang called joual. It is one among many local registers of the language. It is therefore extremely derogatory – or ill-advised– to reduce Quebec French to its slang, just as much as it would be derogatory to reduce American English to its slang, or French from France to argot. Read more »