By Alexia Forsythe proud member of Ambassador Squad #teacher5etoiles
What does your second language mean to you? Is it simply another subject you learned in school? A better career opportunity? A lifestyle? My experience has brought me to the conclusion that my linguistic journey has had a positive impact on a myriad of domains within my life. This is the second of a three-part series on the opportunities offered by my second language.
A New Culture
Each and every language is unique in its culture. With French for example, its users are scattered across the world, in countries such as Haiti, Morocco and the United States. Practiced in such a diverse number of regions, the French language encompasses a wide range of customs, values, food and art, often varying depending on the area. New Brunswick, the province in which I was born and raised, is home to a large population of Acadians, a community of which has their own traditions and history, as well as a unique dialect of the French language.
My family being primarily Anglophone, Acadian culture wasn’t exactly a nightly dinner topic. Over the course of my time at a French university however, my second-language education experienced a significant shift from grammar evaluations to history lessons, in one way or another. Through the use of the language and the people by which I was surrounded (friends, professors and colleagues especially), I developed an undisputable respect and appreciation for the culture. As such, I took an interest in a variety of French artists, became an avid reader of Acadian literature, and may or may not have developed an unhealthy love for chicken fricot.
Over the course of my journey to bilingualism, the various cultures of the language in which I’m (still) learning have meant a great deal to me. Expanding from the Acadians, I’ve had the opportunity to educate myself and to be educated on various traditions and lifestyles of the Francophones of Québec, of France, of Louisiana, of Switzerland and of various African countries, to name a mere few.
Overall, learning about the history of these communities and the ways in which they live have granted me a new perspective on a world that was otherwise unknown to me, generally diversifying the people I meet, the knowledge I gain and the things I try.
To be continued…