If you don’t use it, you lose it.
As many learners of French as a second language can attest, living in a predominantly Anglophone region of Canada can make it difficult to keep your French skills honed. Fortunately, if you’re willing to put in a little effort and look in the right places, French is everywhere!
Here is a list of a few easy ways to incorporate more French into your daily lives to help maintain contact with the language regardless of where in Canada you may live.
1. Join a community/group
Communities can be priceless when it comes to sharing resources, practicing French, and making connections. Whether it’s by joining an online community like LearnFrancais.ca, or by joining a French chat group at your school or in your neighbourhood, they’re a great way to find the practice and support you need.
2. Read packages
In Canada we’re fortunate in that almost all of our product packaging is in both official languages. So start reading that “other” side of the cereal box that you previously may have ignored.
In fact, make a point of looking for the French on all of the items you buy, and you may be pleasantly surprised by the vocabulary you can pick up.
3. TV & Radio
Have a clock radio? Listen to the radio in the car? Make a point of knowing what the French stations are, and start listening from time to time. Difficult to find them on the dial? Radio-Canada, the French component of the CBC is accessible almost everywhere, so go here to find your local radio frequency and start listening!
The same applies to TV. Want to make the weather report more interesting? Watch it in French! While you may not receive many French channels where you live, Radio-Canada should be accessible in most areas of Canada.
4. Applications & Games
A great way to incorporate some French into your life is to take a computer application, game, or website that you use regularly, and switch to the French version. You’re already comfortable with the layout, so it won’t noticeably impact your usage and will allow you to expand your vocabulary.
Many large websites like Facebook, Google, Hotmail, etc. all allow you to easily switch, so what are you waiting for? Switch one, and then switch them all!
5. Computer Operating System
Are you ready to take the plunge? If you’re a more advanced learner of French and have already found that you have started switching some of your applications and websites to the French version, why not consider setting French as your operating system’s default language? It may take a short while to get used to it, but you’ll be amazed by how much vocabulary you can passively pick-up by using your computer from day to day.
Find these tips useful? Have other suggestions you want to share? I would love to hear about it in the forum comments!