A Fridge Full of French

French in my fridge
If you haven’t visited or lived in Canada, you might not know that our country is officially bilingual. Canada is a culturally diverse nation where numerous languages are spoken, but only French and English are legally protected by the Canadian Constitution. Rather than getting into a lengthy history discussion, suffice it to say that Canada is officially bilingual because we were founded by both the French and the English.

Now you might assume that all Canadians can speak both languages, but according to the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages some 22 million Canadians can speak either French or English but not both. As of 2006, 85% of Canadians spoke English, 31% spoke French, and 2% spoke neither language.

The effects of living in a bilingual country can be easy to overlook because they just become part of your everyday life. For instance, Continue reading

Irish Say What??

Driving in Ireland

Most travellers add a dictionary to their suitcase when they visit a country that has a national language different from their own. It only makes sense to be able to respond properly when you’re trying to barter for Cuban cigars or a Turkish belly dancing costume.

But answer me this: If you’re from North America, would you bring a translation dictionary with you on a trip to Ireland?

If you think a bonnet is worn on your head, and hurling is something you do after too many pints, allow me to help you out. The following “how to speak Irish” tutorial will ensure you arrive in the Emerald Isle ready to have the craic with any bogger you meet in the car park of a chipper. Continue reading