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Opinion: French speakers need more representation

Almost 55,000 students are enrolled in French immersion, what happens after?

Rena Medow illustration.
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Reported by Joe Ayres

Living in Vancouver the window of opportunity to practice my second language is small. The catch with having a second language is once you stop using it you will eventually lose it. That is why places such as the Alliance Française de Vancouver are important.

Alliance Française gives people a chance to reconnect with French

This year 54,603 students are enrolled in the French immersion program, according to the government of BC website. When students in the program graduate their opportunity to speak their second language drops dramatically. This might indicate to some that French as a second language isn’t all that useful, why would we need a skill we can’t use? Because those of us that grew up in the French immersion program lose the community it gave us once we graduate. The Alliance Française presents an opportunity for folks like me to have that community.

Kids who spoke French growing up need a community

The French immersion program is a distinct Canadian experience. Like the house hippo commercial French its something nostalgic for many Canadians. According to stats Canada 7.2 per cent of Vancouver’s population speaks both French and English. Places such as the Alliance Française are more than cultural hubs, they’re a chance to reconnect with something close to many of our hearts. Kids who grew up with the French language deserve the chance to keep that language.

In a province as diverse as British Columbia I believe it’s important that we promote all the cultures that compose our communities. The events offered by the Alliance Française celebrate the French culture in an accessible way for all in the community and to many extents those out of it. If you want to brush up on your skills or even if you want to pick up the language the Alliance Française can do that for you. The promotion of the French language only serves to benefit our communities.

 

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