I just came back from Montreal for a short visit, and then I read a blog post by Ms. Laura, “Visiting Bilingual Quebec” at Lingvae.com on July 14, 2010. I feel the same impetus to write a few words about it.
Looking at the Korean girl who served me Surf and Turf, I was amazed at her fluent French and English. For her, definitely, it’s more than bilingual context. She seemed to have no difficulty in switching between languages. As Ms. Laura said, people I met in Montreal starts with French all the time and then switch to English when they heard my language. With my limited experience with French learning, I could hardly gather enough courage to try French on them. And I didn’t notice they felt uncomfortable to speak English at all.
Of course, the environment in Montreal is English-friendly enough for everyone to pick up English very easily, but their fluency in English is not at all coming from any casual picking-up.
Is it acquisition or learning?
I think I will have very exciting discussion with my doctoral students during summer session at my bilingual and second language acquisition class.
Then I will come back to this blog again.
Anyone who wants to share your experience with cross linguistic and cultural acquisition? Your response will definitely give us more various cases to talk about.
I am also a French-Canadian from Montreal and from my own personal experience, people will react nicely if you at least try to speak French with them. It shows a sort of respect to their culture. Just saying “Bonjour” and “Merci” is enough.