In an old interview with CBC radio, beloved Acadian writer Antonine Maillet highlights the value of bilingualism by recounting the fable of the little mice. Freed into the wild world for the first time, three baby mice suddenly scurry back to the nest after a terrifying encounter with a cat. “This is no way to face the world,” their mother tells them. The next day she drags them out again. And again, the little mice meet up with the cat. “Meow!” the cat threatens. “Arf! Arf!” cries the mother mouse and, sufficiently spooked, the cat runs away. It’s a good … Read more »

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So I’ve scoured the web for good mobile apps to supplement my French learning, and I’ve come across a new favourite that’s also available for French learners of English (and a host of other languages). If you haven’t heard of it already, Duolingo (for iOS or Android) is perhaps the highest rated language learning app on the web, earning the title of Apple’s 2013 App of the Year—the first time an educational app has been bestowed such an honour. And have I mentioned, yet, that it’s entirely free, forever? Perfect for those whose pockets aren’t deep enough for the Rosetta … Read more »

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Wikimedia Commons/Wikipedia

In Canada, English speakers are all-too aware—sometimes with great outrage—of the Francophonie’s passion for preserving the French language, and for defending against anglicisms of all kinds. But what strikes me as rather ironic, and what may come as a surprise to Anglophones and Francophones alike, is the degree to which French has influenced English, making it the language it is today. And I’m not simply talking about the obviously French phrases (c’est la vie, déjà vu, en route) that have crept into English vernacular. In fact, by some estimates, up to 30% of the words you speak are French in … Read more »

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On occasion, one of my high school French teachers would erupt from the confines of standard French and launch, much to the class’s delight, into the French of the Québécois. Set free, the words heaved, abandoned a few consonants and swept up more vowels, burst with a gust of fresh air through his mouth and nose at once, and joined his hands in a lively waltz between motion and sound. This French was different from the French we were learning most often. It was also different from the French spoken by his wife, our school’s other French teacher and a … Read more »

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OffQc | Quebec French Guide This blog, formally called “Offbeat French from Quebec,” serves as a fun guide to spoken French, specifically in la Belle Province. Using examples from television, twitter, advertising, indie media and eavesdropping on the streets of Montréal, blogger Kevin Felix Polesello engages readers in an exploration of French at all levels of language–including the informal and colloquial. The blog not only helps learners to build the confidence to take risks with the language, but it also provides glimpses of the vibrancy of Québécois culture. Forthright, funny, and sometimes “R” rated, OffQc is nonetheless reverent and tops … Read more »

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Our one-year-old son loves to read, so much so that he often “reads” himself, babbling with a furrowed brow over books, papers, clothing tags, signs and anything else on which he finds letters. One of his first words was “book,” and he was turning pages before he was crawling. His board book collection is already extensive, and one of his favourite places is the library. On one of our recent visits, we found that although there was no shortage of French books for school-aged children, there were no books in French for toddlers. Our search in local bookstores was even … Read more »

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Le 25 Mai 1871 à Killarney, nous avons avec le consent mutuel de William Salomon fils majeur de Henri Salomon et de Marguerite Thibault d’une part et de Catherine fille mineur de Ferdinand Rock et de Marguerite Recollet d’autre part et n’ayant aucun empechement canonique, …[illegible]… donné la bénédiction nuptiale…[sic] Barely legible scrawl, recorded in a pastoral journal among hundreds of other entries, provides the only known surviving record of perhaps the most significant day for the lives of my great-great grandparents. The words are neither many nor remarkable, but with context they are voluminous. The journal is that of … Read more »

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On the day of my brother’s wedding, I discovered the richness of Franco-Ontarion culture, when his bride-to-be held up a pair of long, bright, striped wool socks. Angie’s grandmother had knit these socks for my brother to wear during the cold, seemingly endless Sudbury winters. They were special socks. I imagined these socks to be a symbolic gesture of final approval; considering that Angie is from a family of Northern Ontario miners with French roots, and that her three brothers insisted on “forgetting” Chad’s name for the first few years they were together, the socks were a pretty big deal. … Read more »

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Ottawa River

After reading my fellow blogger’s post last week, it’s come as a shock to me, as it probably does many Anglo-Canadians, that our national capital is not officially bilingual. Sure, there’s a lot of English and French signage around Parliament Hill, and the municipality certainly encourages the use of both official languages as a matter of policy. But over four decades after the Royal Commission of Bilingualism and Biculturalism highlighted the capital as a symbol representing “the product of a fruitful collaboration” of both French and English, bilingualism in our beautiful Ottawa has never been legally enshrined. In fact, while … Read more »

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First off, I have to express my appreciation for Philippe’s warm welcome into the francophonie. As I intimated in my first post, it’s been a struggle to learn French in what Philippe has called cette mer Anglophone.But as a second language speaker, it’s also taken great effort to stay afloat of the roaring tidal wave of the French. To be truthful, the self-assured alliance of the francophonie has been very intimidating for one Anglophone, such as myself, to navigate. With few opportunities to practice French in any one of the places I’ve called home, I’ve often been immobilized by the … Read more »

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Our Blogger

A stay-at-home mom and freelance editor and writer, our blogger Kirsten McPherson has tried hard to improve her French in an entirely Anglophone part of Canada.

If you have comments or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact her at
Centre de la francophonie des amériques
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The Hon. Shelly Glover

The Hon. Shelly Glover

Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

On the road to Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017, our Government is committed to celebrating everything that makes this such a remarkable country – including our two official languages.

This is why we are proud to support Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie 2014.

Under the theme “La joie de vivre d’hier à demain,” Les Rendez-vous invite us to open ourselves up to our Francophone culture in all its diversity, as well as to strengthen the bonds that unite all the country’s Francophones and Francophiles. This makes an outstanding contribution to the vitality of the French language and culture in Canada.

On behalf of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Government of Canada, I would like to thank the Canadian Foundation for Cross-Cultural Dialogue for making this cross-Canada celebration possible.

Andrée Lortie

Andrée Lortie

President of the Canadian Foundation for Cross-Cultural Dialogue

Laughter brings people together and is contagious. It builds extraordinarily strong bridges that span cultures and languages.

This is why the theme for Les Rendez-vous de la francophonie (RVF) 2014 reflects the fact that the French joie de vivre has always been, and will continue to be, grounded in humour.
Ever since Champlain instituted the Order of Good Cheer, humour has been a vector used to bring people together, put things in perspective, call minds to reason and harmonize our differences.

As it has done for years, Canada’s Francophone communities from coast to coast will converge around the RVF for an opportunity to shine and strengthen ties with supporters of La Francophonie and linguistic duality in Canada.

Our collaboration with Just for Laughs and the National School of Humour has given rise to some pretty “entertaining” episodes. Also, in addition to the NFB viewings, a number of contests and activities have been concocted across the country.

I thank all of our partners and collaborators, and Canadian Heritage in particular for its financial support.

Happy RVF 2014!

Alexandre Cloutier

Alexandre Cloutier

Minister for Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs, the Canadian Francophonie and Sovereignist Governance

A key event for Francophones and Francophiles from all walks of life, the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie bring together different cultural expressions that enliven our rich Francophone world.

On the occasion of the International Day of the Francophonie, the Government of Québec wishes to convey its unwavering support for strengthening the French fact in Francophone and Acadian communities.

My best wishes for success with this 16th Rendez-vous, whose theme is the «joie de vivre» of Francophones, a distinguishing feature that unites us!

The Hon. Madeleine Meilleur

The Hon. Madeleine Meilleur

Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services and Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs

I warmly welcome you to the 2014 edition of the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie.

Like the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie, which play an important role in promoting the French fact in Ontario and across the country, the Government of Ontario will invite all Canadians to participate in the 400th anniversary of French presence here in our province in 2015.

We look forward to seeing you!

Calin Rovinescu

Calin Rovinescu

President & CEO, Air Canada

For the 16th year, Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie recognizes and celebrates francophones’ grand contribution to our country.

As the nation’s official airline, Air Canada is proud to participate in this festive cultural initiative.

We can all appreciate the extent to which the French language has enriched this country and recognize the vital role it plays cross-culturally. That’s what being a truly grand country is all about.

John W. Crichton

John W. Crichton

President and CEO of NAV CANADA

As a sponsor of Les Rendez-vous and through the provision of bilingual air navigation services,

NAV CANADA is proud to play a part in the great cultural gatherings taking place across our country.

We hope that you enjoy the festival and share in the joie de vivre that Canada’s diverse Francophone populations are known for. Bons rendez-vous!

Claude Joli-Cœur

Claude Joli-Cœur

Acting Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the National Film Board of Canada

Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie celebrates the admirable richness and diversity of francophone culture, reflecting the essence of the francophone communities I had the pleasure of visiting in 2013.

The National Film Board of Canada will be contributing to this event for the ninth year, presenting four programs of screenings for general audiences across Canada as well as an exclusive Web offer on All these films combine a sense of celebration with a historical perspective.

Enjoy the films!

Carol Jolin

Carol Jolin

AEFO President

AEFO represents 10,000 elementary and secondary French-language school teachers, as well as professional and support staff employed in various Ontario workplaces.

Celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, it is a dynamic association with an unbelievable capacity for action and dissemination.

If the Francophonie can spread its wings as well as it does in Ontario, it’s in part thanks to us. Congratulations to those who, for decades, have made their own the values that join us and make us who we are.

Alexis Couture

Alexis Couture

President of the FJCF

The Fédération de la jeunesse canadienne-française (FJCF) is very proud to present the 6th edition of Les jeux de la francophonie canadienne (JFC) in July 2014!

Focused on the arts, leadership and sports, this UNIQUE EVENT highlights the CULTURAL PRIDE of French-speaking Canadian youth aged 13 to 18.

I invite you to visit for all the details.

Hope to see you there!

Denis Desgagné

Denis Desgagné

President and Chief Executive Officer
Centre de la francophonie des Amériques

The Centre de la francophonie des Amériques is pleased to be a part of Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie, which contributes to the vitality of the French language

In cooperation with organizations representing French-speaking communities, the team members of the Centre de la francophonie des Amériques are proud to develop and create various programs and innovative digital tools. These tools are created with you in mind, and will evolve based on your feedback! Discover them, share them and continue to play an active role in the promotion of Francophonie throughout the country and continent!