Reply to Isabelle Rivard on bilingualism
In response to your letter in the Bulletin, I want to share the following. My adult son has an auditory learning disability and therefore has a difficult time grasping languages. Many years ago, he went to work at Toys R Us at Christmas time. That in itself was a challenge.
He asked to work in the stockroom because he knew he wasn’t bilingual enough to work in the front of the store serving customers. Well, they put him at cash and he met a very disgruntled customer who proceeded to get very upset that he did not speak French. In fact, the customer pounded his fist into a glass partition. My son came home very upset and instead of feeling “I hate the French language”, he decided to take a French course at his own expensive. Unfortunately, he has not truly grasped the language but, to his credit, he tries to speak every chance he gets and most people will convert to English for him and generally just smile.
So please try and understand that not all anglophones don’t want to speak the French language. In some cases they just can’t master it and perhaps feel embarrassed to try. Despite this, he travels to Ottawa to work, but absolutely loves living in Aylmer. So please show some compassion, it’s not always what you think. For the most part people have a great attitude when he speaks in his broken French, so let’s not encourage French-only living, it just sounds like bullying.
Besides I think Francophones enjoy being bilingual as do Anglophones.