The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

More information

Marie-Laure Konan

Director, Skills Development – Acclr

“J’apprends le français”: a pairing program to develop the French language skills of business owners

The language pairing program is an innovative francization initiative in Quebec. The program connects allophone shopkeepers speaking little to no French with students that can act as linguistic mentors. The purpose of the approach is to develop the language skills of shopkeepers so that they can effectively serve customers in French.

Initially launched in 2016 in the Côte-des-Neiges borough, the language pairing program allows shopkeepers to take advantage of free and practical French conversation workshops with university students that specialize in teaching French.

Building on its success, the program is now offered in six boroughs (Côte-des-Neiges, Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension, Ville-Marie, LaSalle, Lachine, and Saint-Laurent). It brings together five partner universities (Université de Montréal, Université de Sherbrooke, UQAM, McGill University, and Concordia University) and has produced nearly 500 pairings between shopkeepers and students to date.

Free and practical conversation workshops

The workshops are entirely free and are built around specific cases. They are adapted to the situation of each business owner, allowing him or her to integrate French language learning more easily while also maintaining the productivity of their establishment. The objective of the program is to improve shopkeepers’ knowledge and use of the French language in their daily work over a period of three months.

Promotional campaign among residents: “J’apprends le français – encouragez-moi!”

Customers of these businesses and residents living nearby will be able to actively support the participants in their learning. Highly visible posters at the door, inside shops, and in the immediate environment will read: “J’apprends le français – encouragez-moi! Parlez-moi lentement, apprenez-moi un nouveau mot.” (“I’m learning French – encourage me! Talk to me slowly, teach me a new word.”)

Shopkeepers wishing to participate in the program can sing up by contacting:

Nora Juliéno
Advisor, Language Pairing
514-871-4000, ext. 4069

Amelia Irina Manolescu
Advisor, Language Pairing
514-871-4000, ext. 4083

Merchants’ testimonials

How to learn French as an owner of a very small business

Xin Lee, owner of the Marché bon fruit convenience store in Côte-des-Neiges, and his mentor, Amélia Manolescu, a student at Université de Montréal.

Study business French at your workplace

Franklin Orlanda, an employee at Meuble Cité, is learning from his French mentor, Joana Godran, a student at Université de Montréal.

Overcoming shyness and seizing every opportunity to practice business French

Navid is the owner of Imprimerie Victoria, a business that has been located on Victoria Street for several years. He does not understand French very well and did not speak the language until Geneviève, a student at Université de Montréal, taught him.

Speaking French at work “is good for my business!”

Iqbal is the owner of Voyage National, a travel agency located in Côte-des-Neiges in Montreal. He attends a French class at his workplace as part of the project.

In the News

La CCMM lance une offensive d’affichage urbain pour le programme «J’apprends le français»
Grenier, November 29, 2018

Ils veulent continuer à apprendre le français
Journal de Montréal, April 28, 2017

Jumelage linguistique à Côte-des-Neiges
Journal Mé, March 30, 2017

Apprendre le français en travaillant, March 27, 2017

Des immigrants apprennent le français sur le lieu de travail
Journal de Montréal, 16 janvier 2017

La CCMM lance une offensive d’affichage urbain pour le programme «J’apprends le français»
Journal de Montréal, 16 janvier 2017

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