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!
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.