Thursday, August 08, 2013

Why It Makes Sense to Know A Second Language

An interesting read from The Huffington Post (June 13, 2013 by Dan Roitman) on why it makes more sense than you think to learn a second language. To read the article in full, please visit

Posted by Raissa Bado at 12:00 AM 0 Comments

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Conference Board of Canada Study, reveals that the knowledge of both official languages is an asset to the Canadian Economy

On Wednesday, June 19 Canada, Bilingualism and Trade released a study showing that knowledge of both official languages is an asset to the Canadian Econonomy. The study will be useful in demonstrating the social/economic benefits of being bilingual. For more information, please visit


Conference Board of Canada Study, reveals that the knowledge of both official languages is an asset to the Canadian Economy  

This paper has established that Bilingual Canada’s trade volumes are higher than would be expected, given its share of overall Canadian trade. As a share of overall world trade, Bilingual Canada trades much more with French-speaking countries than Less Bilingual Canada. These results do not come as a surprise because the empirical literature is clear—sharing a common language facilitates trade.

We also provided a numerical example of the benefits of trade, using David Ricardo’s famous theory of comparative advantage. Given that trade leads to increased prosperity and countries that share a common language trade more with each other, it follows that being a bilingual country will boost trade and, in turn, prosperity, as knowledge of more than one language increases the number of potential trade partners.

In fact, using two separate empirical techniques—location quotients and gravity equations—we were able to estimate how much proficiency in French has boosted trade between Bilingual Canada and French-speaking countries. We take comfort in the fact that both techniques yielded very similar results. In 2011, exports from Bilingual Canada to French-speaking countries were valued at US$2.7 billion, while imports from French-speaking countries to Bilingual Canada were valued at US$9.3 billion. Thus, average bilateral trade, using the geometric mean, was US$5 billion that year.

Using location quotients and using 2011 as an example, we determined that Bilingual Canada’s knowledge of French boosted exports by US$1.7 billion and imports by US$7.2 billion. Taking the geometric mean, we see that Bilingual Canada’s proficiency in French boosted average bilateral trade by US$3.5 billion in 2011.

According to our gravity equation analysis, we would expect Bilingual Canada’s trade with French-speaking countries to be more than 65 per cent higher than with countries that do not speak French. This means that, again using 2011 as an example, Canada’s nominal exports and nominal imports were each US$3.3 billion higher thanks to Bilingual Canada’s proficiency in French. 

Research shows that individuals benefit from being bilingual, as the ability to speak more than one language has a positive payoff. Thus, bilingualism confers private benefits on those who speak two languages. But this paper has shown that there are public benefits to bilingualism as well. General knowledge of French in New Brunswick and Quebec boosts trade between those provinces and French-speaking countries. Thus, higher bilateral trade is one mechanism through which all Canadians benefit from Canada’s status as a bilingual country.


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Thursday, October 25, 2012

French Rocks feat. Justin Lacroix - Cultural Tour 2012


Cultural Tour 2012 – “French Rocks! feat. Justin Lacroix”


This year, our Cultural Tour facilitator was Justin Lacroix, a bilingual singer/songwriter who has been touring Canada with his Funky, Folky, Bluesy Pop-Rock in English and en français since 2005. Justin visited 13 schools in Flin Flon, The Pas, Swan River, Roblin, Morden, Selkirk, Brandon, Elie, St. Adolphe, Winnipeg, Dugald and Stonewall.

The tour consisted of a song writing session in the morning, in which Justin created an original song with a group of students. A session full of brainstorming, crazy ideas and a lot of laughs, Justin and the students hammered out “One Direction pour toujours! One Direction tout les jours!” a song about boy band sensation One Direction to celebrate their 1 year anniversary of being a sensational boy band. A few students were given the opportunity to play a variety of instruments to help create the melody, and slowly but surely, the song began to take shape musically. To give you an idea of just how broad the song ideas were, the 2nd group that participated in the morning workshop created a song about Paul le panda rouge (Paul the red panda) who competed in a ping pong tournament in a pyramid.

The afternoon portion of the tour included a fun performance of Justin’s solo material for all those who were interested in participating. Justin played a wide variety of music; some French songs, some bilingual songs and some in English. The students at John Henderson Junior High were very much enjoying the concert as they clapped along and some students even sang when they knew the lyrics. Even the students who participated in the songwriting workshops got to get up on stage and share their new song with the whole school!

Here’s what some of the students and teachers had to say about “French Rocks!”:

-          “Justin a fait un travail magnifique pendant l’atelier d’écriture avec les élèves ! Il a vraiment su engagé les jeunes à écrire une chanson et à participer à la présentation de celle-ci. / Justin did magnificent work during the songwriting workshop with the students! He really engaged them in writing and presenting the song. “ - Teacher

-          “I really liked writing the song. It was really fun!” – Student

-          “Justin was really talented! He can play more than one instrument at a time!” – Student


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