This summer: Flex your second-language muscles

Simple ways to strengthen your linguistic muscles

Are you interested in exploring the new opportunities available to you by adding French to your linguistic tool belt? Do you doubt the ease and simplicity with which French can be learned and applied? You are not alone! Learning, practising and maintaining a new language can be a challenge no matter how old you are or where you live, but there are countless strategies and recipes that you can use to help you succeed.

In the spirit of strengthening your linguistic muscles and enhancing your journey of lifelong learning, here is a short list of simple ideas that will help you expand your knowledge of French.

Find the right ingredient for success!

  • Official languages cooking project. Set a date (monthly or weekly) to get together with friends or family and explore the many different culinary traditions, spices and ingredients that reflect our unique Canadian cuisine. Now take your gathering to the next level by reading your recipes and preparing your dishes in both official languages. Parks Canada has released its Heritage Gourmet mobile app, which features over 70 regional dishes from the 18th century to today, the story behind each recipe and videos. The app is available in both official languages, which gives you an opportunity to expand your culinary expertise and practice by creating a regional historic dish in French. After your cooking project has ended, share your experience, new-found historical knowledge and photos on Twitter and Facebook in both official languages or just in French!

Movie night, anyone?

  • Book a weekly or monthly Canadian movie night with family and friends, featuring films in your second official language (subtitles optional). The National Film Board of Canada has over 2,000 titles to choose from on its website. Catch up on French-Canadian films, documentaries or animations. Take your pick! Have you seen The Sweater yet? It’s a true Canadian classic. For people on the go, this experience is available through a new mobile app called NFB Films. Warning: This activity can be addictive!

Relax, unwind and discover Canada’s legends

  • Explore our country’s rich history through amazing stories about the men and women who helped build and shape the Canada we know today. Do you know the story of Big Bear? Find it in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, a free, bilingual on-line resource that’s sure to have something for everyone. Your linguistic challenge: Read the same article in French!

If you like solving puzzles or playing strategic games, why not think about one involving language?

  • Solve a word search or crossword puzzle in French. Browse through the variety of free games available on-line (search mots mêlés or mots croisés) or head to your local bookstore or variety store and scan the shelves for treasures!
  • For a more hands-on experience, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages has developed a fun origami game to help inspire you to read, write, speak and listen in your second official language. You can download the game for free in English or French.
  • Challenge yourself and your friends to a new level of Scrabble by taking turns spelling words in English and French. Start the first round in English and then play the second round in French. Continue alternating between languages and watch your vocabulary grow! When you are finished, share your experience, favourite new word and a photo of your game on Twitter and Facebook in both official languages or just in French! And don’t forget to tag us!

Revitalize your space with language!

  • Boost your linguistic memory with colour and posters! Using pictures coupled with terminology in English and French will help you increase your vocabulary and learn related words. The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages offers free bilingual, printable colouring pages featuring summer sports and winter sports. Download yours today, colour them and share them on Twitter and Facebook in both official languages or just in French!
  • Spice up your surroundings with free bilingual posters from the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages. Our posters are the perfect complement to any learning environment and offer subtle access to names of professionals and marine animals in both English and French.

Get back to basics

  • Challenge yourself to learn a new word in French every day. Download the Government of Canada’s mobile linguistic application, on the go!, created by the Translation Bureau. This application features over 3 million words, acronyms and abbreviations used by the Government of Canada in English and French. And it gives you round-the-clock access, no matter where you are in the world.
  • Enroll in a second-language course. Get out and meet new people while you learn! A teacher, a classroom and practice, practice, practice just might be your ticket to success. Check with your local community centre, your municipal calendar of activities or the Internet for information.

Learning a language doesn’t happen the same way or take the same amount of time for everyone. Make sure you do what works best for you and have fun with it!

Published on Friday, June 20, 2014

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