Grenadians need to embrace the French language

Magalie Bongard is trying to get more locals to speak French

Magalie Bongard is trying to get more locals to speak French

The Alliance Francaise is taking a holistic approach to teaching the French language in Grenada, as it believes that Grenadians need to see French as very important.

In an exclusive interview last week with THE NEW TODAY Newspaper, Director of the Alliance Francaise, Magalie Bongard, said the local French Institute has decided to extend on the French classes on offer on the island in order to create more room for persons to learn the language.

According to Bongard, the time set aside for holding of French classes was not conducive and not yielding enough fruits and a decision was taken to double the adult, teenagers and children classes.

“We will have two classes a week for adults, intermediary and beginners, in the evenings or in the mornings, (and) for the children we are also doubling it – for the children it used to be a one hour class, once per week and now it’s going to be an hour and a half twice a week”, she said.

“…For the teens we are doubling it as well, it was an hour and a half once a week, now it’s an hour and a half twice a week and the parents have a choice to send their children either once or twice so they don’t have to come twice if they want to come only once,” she added.

Bongard stated that this has become necessary because the time that they had teaching French to the students was not enough especially to engage in true interactive learning, which is the best way to learn the language.

The Alliance Francaise, she said, is now offering more action packed classes for students.

“Now we are introducing movie making in French, we are introducing theatre plays production in French, we are encouraging the kids to take books from our Learner’s Library so that they can really get into the language and learn it in some way with activities that (are) really enjoyable as opposed to sitting in a classroom all day long,” she remarked.

The rate set by the institute for French class for a child is $90 per term, a teen is $100 per term and adult is $150 per term.

Classes will begin on September 15.

Bongard spoke about the importance of the French language in the Caribbean and what it does for the people who speak the language.

“A lot of people are looking back and saying South America, a big continent with a lot of Spanish speakers but the reality is that there are very little opportunity in South America at the moment in terms of employment and business opportunities.

“But if you look closer into the region you have 1.5 million French speakers right here in the Caribbean which are part of the Caricom region and OECS but then you also have 9 million French speakers in Canada and this is huge market opportunities for Grenada.

“If we are really looking for market, which is economically, striving and offer economic opportunities those are the markets that Grenada should look into. In Canada, it is becoming increasingly difficult finding a job if you are not completely bilingual.

“There are already rules in terms of working as a nurse or an airline attendant or any civil servant and those rules are increasing to really make French an integral part of the bilingual culture in Canada”.

Bongard noted that there are French universities here in the Caribbean that provide opportunities for learning the language at reasonable cost and Caribbean people can take advantage of this.

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