A surprise visit from Washington DC at Diskuto French Corner

GTA language quilt 2006 census

Greater Toronto Area ‘language quilt’ based on 2006 Canada census. Source: Catharine Farley, Damian Lister / Toronto Star

As  a “French Ambassador” for Diskuto, I make sure everyone who comes to our Corners (not just French but also Spanish and Mandarin) feels comfortable speaking and interacting with other Diskutizens.

When I call out to those passing by our events in the street, I see that most of them wish to practice but for many, shyness and shame (to speak a non-native language) make them hesitate–despite their inner desire to speak the languages they had learned in school or when they traveled abroad.

Toronto is the perfect place to learn and practice languages. With hundreds of ethnic groups and more than a hundred spoken languages (see them on www.torontolanguages.com) you do not need to travel; the world comes to you!

Before coming here from Paris, I hardly dared imagine was that I would have the chance to talk with such a diversity of people and learn so much from their culture. Thus, as part of the ‘Diskutoyen’ community at French Corner, I also share my experience (my trips abroad) and my biculturalism (French/Senegalese) with Diskutizens .

It is through French Corner that I met a talented guy from Washington D.C. who came to visit Toronto for a weekend.

Like many of our first-time visitors, Jamel was passing by Philosopher’s Walk when he encountered our  group: To his eyes it must have seemed interesting and somewhat strange to see this small group of citizens and students engaged in our Diskuto learning and practice session. By talking with him and while introducing him to the language, I discovered that Jamel is a radio host in Washington DC, produces shows and has a website, the lOOKing glass, which deals with fashion, art, lifestyle and design. After a 35-minute crash course in French, Jamel learned some elementary phrases (very useful if you need help, order food in a restaurant or to hit on a Parisian!).

Jamel was kind enough to send us this postcard below!

Khady and Jamel at Diskuto French Corner

Khady and Jamel at Diskuto French Corner

The members of the Diskuto team were amazingly  welcoming and very eager to learn my story.  I stood around for a few minutes observing my new surroundings. As I stood in the middle of this small group of people my eyes and ears instantly became captivated. I was able to learn basic French conversation starters as well as basic Mandarin character structures. Thank you to my wonderful instructor Khady–she is an amazing teacher. I would also like to recommend the Diskuto team to anyone interested in learning a new language. These people are fantastic and I believe what they are doing for the community is simply outstanding.


Khady arrived to Toronto from Paris. She lived in several countries such as China, Mexico, Senegal and Spain. Because of her many travels, she speaks fluently four languages: French, Spanish, Wolof and English. She is brushing up her Mandarin in Toronto. When she’s not learning different languages, she likes to cook and play the acoustic guitar.

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4 comments on “A surprise visit from Washington DC at Diskuto French Corner
  1. sooeum says:

    Learning other languages is so enjoyable. I want to study Spanish!!

  2. Olivier says:

    Bravo à toi Khady, tu as l’air bien à l’aise dans ta nouvelle mission d’ambassadrice de la langue française !

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