Here’s How to Get By in Montreal without Being a French Speaker

 
 

Planning a move and wondering how to get by in Montreal without being a French speaker? As a multilingual city, there is a pretty significant Anglophone population here spanning over 200,000 people. However, most businesses, signage, and locals place strong precedence on speaking French. Over the past few years, the province has really pushed ahead to make it the default language.

Though you can get by with only English, be prepared to face challenges with employment and service as the language is an integral part of the culture here and throughout the province. Plus, the locals always appreciate when you make an effort to learn. So if you’ve just recently moved to the city or are planning to, here are our top tips on how to navigate Montreal as an Anglophone.

Learn the Basics

Like when in any new city or country that has a different language, it’s important to at least nail down some of the basic sayings and greetings. As mentioned, locals really do appreciate when you show that you’re attempting to learn their language. And today, there are so many different options that can help you learn some essential phrases quickly. Apps like Duolingo are excellent for learning on the go, or you can even check out free French lessons that are offered by the government.

Meet Some Bilingual Friends

Another helpful way to get by without having French speaking skills is to meet some bilingual friends who can help you. They can buffer conversations, explain what certain words or phrases mean, and assist you in improving your conversational speaking skills.

Use a Translation App

When all else fails and you’re stuck wondering what something means, use a translation app. These are always handy to use when you’re caught in a guessing game and need to understand what something says quickly.

Choose an English-Speaking Neighbourhood

There are certain areas in Montreal that are more French-speaking than others. So your best bet might be to pinpoint the areas that are predominantly English-speaking instead while you’re new to the city and in the early phase of learning the language.

When it comes down to it, you can get by in Montreal without being a French speaker. However, as a predominantly French-speaking city and province, we highly recommend making an effort to learn the language. This will not only allow you to experience more of the local culture, but it will also open up more job opportunities, attract better service from local businesses, and allow you experience authentic city life in as a true Montrealer.

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