In the Chamber -- Grant Mitchell's Blog

Learning French

Posted 5/29/2008 by Grant Mitchell


I really want to be bilingual. Very much. I love the language and I am inspired by the many people I work with who speak both English and French beautifully. I also feel that as a Western Senator I have a special responsibility to learn it. Quebec and its culture and the francophone culture outside of Quebec add a great richness to Canada and Canadians and I want to support it and be part of it.

I have been taking French lessons two or three times a week and sometimes more for upwards of three years. I have had two weeks of immersion at the St Jean sur Richelieu language center in Quebec. I have had a base in the language from school, a course in university and, most significantly, working in two Francophone MP Offices as a Parliamentary Intern some 34 years ago. This has afforded me some advantage in my efforts now but it is a challenge. I think most of us feel that our memory fails us a bit as we age. I find that whereas 30 years ago it was much easier to “enter” words and structure into my brain – now it feels as though it just does not stick as well.

I persevere and try to listen to French as much as I can – radio and TV - and read French language papers often. I am also trying not to focus on each word but rather to listen and read as I do in English, allowing my mind to sort and order words and meanings in the almost unconscious way it does in English. I need to stop thinking through each choice of word when I speak.

I am enjoying it and find it to be a stimulating challenge. Got to keep at it.

Give us your feedback about this post.

We would love hearing your comments about this speech. Please submit them using the form below.

Your contact information

First Name:
Last Name:
Postal Code:

RSS Feeds »

You can read the most recent posts from Grant Mitchell's blog in your newsreader via this RSS feed.

RSS Feed »

Liblogs »

Recent Posts