Category Archives: North American Culture

My First Trip on Amtrak Trains in America

By   July 13, 2015

Although I have been on numerous trains in Europe, as well as a few in Australia and New Zealand, I had never been on a train in the US until a few weeks ago. All trains from Michigan go to Chicago first and there is no passenger service to or through Ontario which is quite inconvenient, and I never actually traveled much in the US before I left for France. I had already planned to visit my niece and nephew in Virginia upon returning from Australia, and I decided to try the overnight Capitol Limited train to DC and the Northeast Regional train to Newport News. It would take nearly 24 hours and cost $230 per person for the one-way trip (slightly less than the cost of a roundtrip plane ticket), but I wanted to experience American train travel. My mother was accompanying me to Virginia to spoil her grandchildren so we shared the sleeping accommodation on the overnight train.

The most important thing you should know about Amtrak is that trains are very often late since commercial trains have priority over passenger trains on the railways in the US. Do not book two trains that are within 2 hours of each other because you could very well be arriving 2 hours late. We were supposed to arrive in DC at 1:05pm and we had to book the 5pm train to Newport News because the system would not allow me to choose the 2:30pm train. Of course, I could have booked two separate tickets, but it was a good thing I didn’t since we didn’t even get off the first train until 2:45pm…

If you are not getting on the train at a major station, be prepared to board the train really late or really early. I could have taken a train from Flint to Chicago and boarded the Capitol Limited there, but that would have added another 18 hours to my trip (seriously!), so I decided to drive 2.5 hours down to Toledo, where the train was scheduled to depart at 11:49pm. Getting on the train in Cleveland? It departs at 1:54am.

Since you can print your ticket when you buy it online, there is no actual check-in process at the station, unless you are taking a train that has baggage check and you actually want to do it. Amtrak’s luggage allowance include two regular (not carry-on) size suitcases weighing 50 lbs. that you take on the train with you, plus two additional 50 lb. suitcases as checked luggage. If you have even more luggage, you only have to pay $20 for each additional suitcase (up to 2 more).

I booked a regular bedroom for the journey to DC, which includes a private toilet/shower in the room as well as free meals. Up to three people can be in one bedroom since the bottom bed is a double bed, but I don’t know if I’d recommend it considering how little space is left in the room after the beds are down. (This is also why you should leave your luggage on the rack downstairs and just take a backpack or small carry-on suitcase upstairs.) I even had trouble standing in front of the sink and I am very small! Soap, shampoo, towels, linen, and bottled water are provided – though you might want another blanket for the bed. The shower is in the same tiny room as the toilet so it will get soaked, but there is a rack at the top for towels and the toilet paper has a long cover over it. Roomettes are a cheaper option which do not include a shower, but may or may not include a toilet depending on if you’re on a Superliner or Viewliner train.

Amtrak train bedroom

Seats that convert to beds in bedroom on Superliner train to DC

Light sleepers beware – most of the rooms have a door leading to the next room so you can definitely hear noises from your neighbors. I could hear snoring next door so I had to move my pillows to the other end of the bed, underneath the air vent, to block out the noise. However, there are plenty of other noises to keep you awake anyway – the train can be quite bumpy, and the whistle blows often, plus other trains passing by make a lot of noise. I actually did not sleep very much at all – perhaps only an hour or two in the early morning. If you are on the top bunk, there is a safety strap to prevent you from falling off.

The sleeper car attendant was incredibly nice. He even checked on us in the morning to see if we wanted breakfast since we didn’t get up for it. Normally the Capitol Limited to DC doesn’t include lunch, but since we were arriving late, those of us in the sleeper cars were offered hamburgers/hot dogs. You are told where to sit in the dining car, so you will most likely end up next to strangers. The cafe car is open as well if you prefer to snacks or smaller meals.

Passengers with sleeper tickets should have access to Acela lounges at departure and arrival stations (if available), but I didn’t actually check out the lounge in DC. Union Station has free wifi, and plenty of shops and restaurants to keep you busy while waiting for your next train.

Amtrak bedroom third seat

Third seat in bedroom is across from seats that convert to beds, with storage space above

On the Northeast Regional to Newport News, we were in business class, but I do not think it is worth the extra money. The seat configuration is 2 x 2, so there is still the same amount of people as in economy. You are supposed to get free newspapers and drinks, but no one came through the car to offer them to us (so you have to go to the cafe car on your own). The seats did not seem any larger or more comfortable than those in economy class either. Luckily, there is free wifi on this particular train, which helps to pass the time. The bathrooms are large enough, and there is a free water fountain in each car.

There are no assigned seats in either business or economy class, so boarding is a free-for-all. Not all doors open so you have to find the Amtrak employees in order to get off the train. Sometimes they walk through and announce the stop and tell you to follow them to a particular door. They often help with luggage, especially for business class passengers.

Yes, Amtrak takes forever to get you across America – but it’s more environmentally friendly, and best of all, it’s the opposite experience of flying. You do not need to arrive 2-3 hours ahead of time just to wait in line to get through security where TSA doesn’t allow you to bring enough shampoo for your trip. It is quite cheap to bring tons of luggage, and the food is surprisingly good.

I wish the US had more passenger railways and better connections between cities, especially between Michigan and Canada. Currently, Amtrak stops in Port Huron, and if you want to continue to Toronto, for example, you need to take a taxi across the border to get to the Sarnia train station where you can board a Via Rail train. It’s quite ridiculous. I highly doubt the US will ever have extensive train travel like Europe since state governments do not want to spend money on it, and American car culture is so pervasive that it will be hard to change. I enjoyed my time on Amtrak trains, but I don’t know if I’ll be doing another sleeper train since I am such a light sleeper. For shorter trips, it is definitely a cheaper and less stressful option than flying, as long as you live near an Amtrak station.

TL;DR – Your train will most likely be late. No assigned seats. Free wifi sometimes. Don’t expect to sleep much on overnight trains. Lots of luggage allowance. NO LIQUID BAN IS AWESOME.

Foreign Earned Income Exclusion for Americans Living Abroad (Form 2555)

By   March 29, 2014

Updated with figures for 2014 tax returns.

Just a reminder for Americans who have foreign income: you must declare all foreign income on US income tax returns. For most language assistants, for example, this often simply means including the assistant income on line 21 of Form 1040 as “other income.” This will increase the adjusted gross income, however, and if it is more than $10,150 (if you are single and under 65), you must file tax returns and you might have to pay taxes – unless you have other deductions besides the standard of $6,200 (if you are single) or other exemptions besides the standard of $3,950 (if you have no dependents). Even if your adjusted gross income is less than $10,150, your taxable income is 0 and you are not required to file, it is still a good idea to do so to reduce your risk of audit in the future.

You will also need to check Yes on line 7A of Schedule B to acknowledge that you have a foreign bank account, and you will need to include the amount of interest earned on all domestic/foreign bank accounts on line 1. If if at any point during the year, the amount of your foreign bank account was $10,000 or more, you must also submit the FBAR form online at the BSA E-Filing System. Unlike income tax which is due by April 15, you have until June 30 to submit this form – however, Schedule B should still be submitted with your 1040 by April 15.

If you paid income taxes in another country, you might be able to use the Foreign Tax Credit (Form 1116). You can either claim a credit for eligible foreign taxes or deduct foreign income taxes. If you did not pay taxes on your foreign income, such as language assistants who do not make enough to be taxed in France or students who received a tax-free scholarship to study in another country, you may be able to use the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (Form 2555). However, in order to claim this exclusion, you must be in the foreign country for at least 330 days of a twelve month period. This means that most assistants do not qualify, unless you were able to renew your position and did not return to the US for more than 35 days the entire year.

Foreign Income Exclusion for Americans Living Abroad Photo Credit: John-Morgan via Compfight cc

If you are able to claim the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, Form 2555 is quite simple to fill out. This form doesn’t explicitly tell you to put your foreign income on line 7 of Form 1040 though, so just add it to other wages, salaries, etc. if you need to.  You will then subtract it out on line 21 where you put the same amount in parentheses and write Form 2555 on the line to the left. When claiming the exclusion, your foreign income does NOT increase your adjusted gross income, but it WILL increase the amount of tax you need to report on line 44 of Form 1040 (if your taxable income is more than 0). Your taxable income is often your adjusted gross income minus $10,150 ($6,200 for the standard deduction on line 40 and $3,950 for the exemption on line 42) if you are single with no dependents.

If you read the instructions for Form 1040, the very last paragraph for line 44 states: “If you claimed the foreign earned income exclusion, housing exclusion, or housing deduction on Form 2555 or 2555-EZ, you must figure your tax using the Foreign Earned Income Tax Worksheet.” The worksheet is on the next page and it basically instructs you to figure out the tax rate of your taxable income (line 43 on Form 1040) PLUS your foreign income (from Form 2555) and then subtract out the tax rate for your foreign income alone. Essentially this pushes your taxable income into a higher tax bracket as it will be higher than if you just look up the tax rate for your taxable income alone. If you also have qualified dividends, then you must use the Qualified Dividends and Capital Gain Tax Worksheet in order to figure out the correct number to put on line 4 of the Foreign Income Tax Worksheet. So simple, right?

If you only have foreign income and you are able to deduct all of it, then your taxable income will be 0 so you don’t need to worry about using the Foreign Earned Income Tax Worksheet or paying taxes. However, if you have both US and foreign income (such as self-employed Americans who also work at a different job abroad), you will end up paying more in taxes than if you had only foreign income. Let’s say you have $5,000 for your taxable (NOT adjusted gross) income on line 43 of Form 1040 and $10,000 for your foreign income. You would put 10,000 on line 7 of Form 1040 and (10,000) on line 21. But when you get to line 44, you’ll have to use the Foreign Earned Income Tax Worksheet found in the 1040 instructions. Assuming you are single and do not have qualified dividends, this is how the worksheet would look:

1. Taxable income from Form 1040, line 43 = 5,000

2. Foreign income from Form 2555, line 50= 10,000

3. Add lines 1 and 2 = 15,000

4. Tax on amount of line 3 = 1,800 [look up 15,000 in tax table in 1040 instructions]

5. Tax on amount of line 2 = 1,050 [look up 10,000 in tax table]

6. Subtract line 5 from line 4; include this amount on Form 1040, line 44 = 750

So you would have to put $750 for the amount of your tax. If you did not read the instructions and did not use the Foreign Earned Income Tax Worksheet, you would have simply looked up the tax rate for your taxable income of $5,000, which is $503. But thanks to your foreign income, you must instead pay $750. Even though you can exclude your foreign income from your adjusted gross income, you may still end up paying more taxes. Isn’t being an American expat great?

Be wary of the Free File websites as many do not report foreign income correctly (and you can’t use the majority of them anyway if you no longer live in the US). I tried some of them and a few didn’t even include foreign income on the 1040 while others only included the amount in parentheses on line 21 so the adjusted gross income was a negative number.  I was also unsuccessful in submitting the forms electronically – even simply using Free Fillable Forms – since I am still living abroad and cannot put an end date under the Bona Fide Residence part, which creates errors and a rejection of the file. So if you’re still abroad, you may end up mailing the paper forms to Texas (if you’re not including payment) or North Carolina (if you are including payment).

Disclaimer: I am not an accountant or tax specialist so if you have questions about your return, contact the IRS.

Numbers and Counting: American vs. French

By   April 27, 2011

I’m still endlessly fascinated by cultural differences between the US/North America and France/Europe that most people probably don’t spend much time thinking about. A McDonald’s commercial on French TV got me thinking about numbers and counting in other languages and cultures.  You learn quickly that Europe uses the 24 hour clock for schedules and the 1st floor in Europe is the 2nd floor in the US, etc. but did you know that Europeans also count on their fingers differently?

The American style is to start with the index finger but Europeans start with the thumb, which I have NEVER been able to remember to do – and I end up confusing my 2 year old niece who doesn’t understand why weird American aunt Jennie doesn’t know how to count correctly.  If you just hold up the index finger, some people will misinterpret it as 2 instead of 1.

Written numbers also gave me some problems in French. This was the validity date on my first autorisation provisoire de travail as an English assistant. I knew that European dates were in the format day/month/year but I wasn’t yet used to how numbers were actually written. When I first glanced at the dates, the 1’s looked completely bizarre to me and I thought the second date was 30/06/07 instead of 30/04/07.

Here’s how David writes numbers:

For comparison, the way I write numbers is below. My students always thought my 1, 2, and 7’s were weird whenever I wrote numbers on the board. Even the post office makes me cross my 7’s because they’re afraid that someone will mistake it for a European 1. I don’t know about other Americans but we used to get in trouble at my elementary school for crossing our 7’s…

Another major difference pertaining to numbers is that the use of periods and commas are reversed. Periods are used as the decimal mark in the US, while commas are used in most of Europe. Commas are used as the thousands separator in the US, while periods or spaces or nothing are used in Europe (there are many differences depending on the country).  This doesn’t cause many confusions but one mathematical operation probably will at first glance.

This is how David was taught to do long division:

And this is how I was taught way back in 5th grade:

Learning words and grammar is never enough!

Getting Used to Being an American Abroad (and Realizing that 30 Degrees is Hot)

By   April 11, 2011

The weather has been gorgeous in France this past week and I’ve been looking at the forecast everyday hoping that the sunshine sticks around for a while. Yet every time I watch the météo on TV or check the prévisions on, I always have to stop for a moment and convert the Celcius degrees to Fahrenheit so that I will know the “real” temperature. Even after 4.5 years in France, I am still not used to talking about the weather in Celcius because it just seems so… unnatural to me.  I’ve finally memorized some conversions (30 is hot enough for me to go swimming, for example), but I still cannot convert automatically and instantly in my head.

But is 10 degrees cold?

Yesterday while we were driving home from grandma’s house, David asked about speed limits in the US and after the requisite “it’s different for each state” line that I have to say for everything concerning US laws, I immediately started rattling off numbers in miles per hour, which of course meant nothing to David. Unlike North American cars, mainland European cars have no use for an odometer which includes both miles and kilometers, so I had to use a conversion app on my iPod to give him the equivalents in kilometers per hour.

Makes driving to Canada much easier

So that got me thinking about other small changes that Americans who live or travel abroad have to get used to, because the US just has to be different from everyone else. Not only is it Celcius for temperature instead of Fahrenheit, or metric measurements instead of customary, but also:

  • writing the date in day/month/year format instead of month/day/year: personally I like the logical progression of smallest to largest, but at the same time, I like knowing the month first because that’s how calendars are designed
  • using the 24 hour clock instead of AM and PM: it seems like only the military uses the 24 hour clock in the US but everyone uses it in France, for public transportation, flights, opening hours, work or class schedules, television programming, etc.
  • chip-based cards with a PIN instead of the swipe & sign type: this is major headache for American tourists trying to use any machine in Europe without cash (or coins in France since few machines take bills*); barely any American banks or credit unions offer chip & PIN cards, though Travelex now does even if the exchange rate is not that great
  • 1 and 2 euro/pound/dollar coins instead of bills: even though the Government Accountability Office wants to switch over to at least the $1 coin, I don’t see it happening any time soon for the same reason excuse a change to chip & PIN cards won’t happen anytime soon – too many machines and cash registers to upgrade even though coins last longer than bills and chip & PIN cards are more secure than swipe & sign cards
  • manual cars instead of automatic: I never learned to drive a stick shift because my family didn’t own any by the time I was 15, and my driver’s training class would only teach us how to drive automatics. Learning to drive a manual transmission was a hassle where I’m from, just like trying to buy an inexpensive automatic car in France. Most rental companies in Europe don’t have many automatic cars, and if they do, they are usually those weird cars that can be driven as either automatic or manual but that don’t have much acceleration power, don’t shift into reserve when they’re supposed to, and roll back when stopped, like manual cars. (I have never had a good experience with renting automatic cars in Europe!)
  • inconvenient opening hours: there may be some 24 hours grocery stores in Paris, but most stores/pharmacies/post offices/hairdressers/museums where I live close for lunch between 12 and 2, close for the day by 7pm, and are definitely not open on Sundays. Banks are generally closed on Mondays. Library hours are completely sporadic. Drive-throughs for ATMs or mailboxes are extremely rare, though they are common for fast food restaurants. Even many restaurants close down between lunch and dinner so you cannot eat a late lunch after 2pm or early dinner – by French standards – before 7pm

On the other hand, there are many differences between the US and Europe (or more specifically, France) that are easier to get used to and come as pleasant surprises when compared to America, such as finding out that going to university doesn’t have to cost a small fortune (only 300€ per semester), health care is NOT reserved for the rich, extensive public transportation and train networks are quite convenient, separation of church and state actually exists, incoming calls are FREE on cellphones as well as many outgoing calls when it’s landline to landline (or any phone in the US/Canada), and you can’t just buy something because you want it even though you don’t have the money for it which prevents you from going into debt and losing your house.

For foreigners visiting the US, it almost seems like adjusting to these changes is easier because chip & PIN cards can be used as swipe & sign cards so there are no problems when trying to pay for something (except for those ridiculous minimum amounts that certain places require for debit or credit cards), automatic cars are easier to drive plus the cost of gas is much cheaper (compared to $9 a gallon in some parts of Europe), and stores that are open 24 hours a day and on Sundays are much more convenient for tourists who have limited time to see and do everything they want while on vacation.

So my fellow Americans, anything major that I missed? Canadian friends, which ones are the same up north? And for the non-North Americans, anything else that you have to get used to while in the US?

* Tip: In France, you can find change machines in major post offices and video arcades, which are usually connected to movie theaters, if you need/want coins instead of bills. You can always try asking for change in stores or tabacs, but don’t count on them to help you out. The train station in the town where I live won’t give change even if you just want to use the machines in the train station!

Cultural Differences in Photos: USA and France

By   January 25, 2011

In my English classes I taught at the university, we used flashcards with a photo of an object and the English word written out to teach and/or reinforce vocabulary. For most objects, there were no problems with the images provided but every once in a while, my students didn’t quite understand the connection between the image and the word because of cultural differences between the US and France.

For example, what word comes to mind when you look at this image?

If you are American, you would most likely identify it as a loaf of bread. All of my French students, however, thought it was a cake. Why? Because un cake in French is this:

Most Americans would probably call this a sort of quick bread, such as banana bread or zucchini bread, because the shape is similar to a loaf of bread. Loaves of bread are not all that common in France because pain has many shapes, whether a baguette, or pain de campagne, or petits pains. Sliced bread sold in loaves is just called pain de mie, or “American Sandwich” as it’s written on the bag, and it is not really eaten with meals but used almost exclusively for making sandwiches or croque monsieurs.

Another image that my students found strange was this:

Orange prescription bottles that are the norm in the US don’t exist in France. When you go to the pharmacy, you receive a box of medication but there is no printed label with the directions on it, or even your name or doctor’s name. All of that information stays on the prescription paper itself, which you must keep.

Students who watch a lot of American TV or films recognized the bottle, but it was still a foreign concept to them – just as not receiving an orange bottle is still a bit odd to me whenever I fill a prescription in France.

Now what image pops into your head when you hear the words crutches or vacuum?

If you’re American, I bet you think of these:

If you’re French, I imagine it’s more like these:

The forearm crutches and cylinder vacuum are also used in the US, but the underarm crutches and upright vacuum are relatively rare in France. I always thought it was strange when my students came to class with the forearm crutches after a car or skiing accident, because I only ever saw those used by elderly patients with lifelong disabilities or Kerry Weaver on ER. I don’t know which set of crutches is considered better for healing, but at least with the vacuums it makes more sense that the upright version is more common in North America – because we have a lot more carpet in our homes and businesses. I have yet to set foot in a home in France where there is wall-to-wall carpet instead of a few small rugs here and there. Since Europe prefers hardwood and tile floors, the cylinder vacuum is more convenient here.

Another difference that I had never thought of came to me when I was flipping through Oops magazine this past weekend. Oops is one of those trashy celebrity magazines that I only look at to learn more slang or see what atrocities French has done to English words lately (relooké always kills me). There was a picture of Zac Efron next to a car holding a few things in his hands, one of which was a tube of Burt’s beeswax lip balm, which is very recognizable to Americans – as are most tubes of chapstick. [I believe this was the paparazzi photo if you want to see for yourself.]

However, the caption in French said that he was holding a tube of homeopathic pills. I don’t think that Burt’s Bees products are as popular in France as in the US, and homeopathic pills found in little tubes are very common, so it’s easy to see why the author was mistaken:

There are many other subtle differences that don’t lead to confusion (houses with siding vs. stone houses, cars with trunks vs. hatchbacks, top-loading washers vs. front-loading) that help to identify something as American or French/European. Searching for the English word on and the French word on will provide many examples. Can you think of any other items that could be mistaken for something else like the cake and tubes above?

Christmas Wonderland in Michigan’s Little Bavaria

By   December 19, 2010

Every time I come back to Michigan, whether it’s in December or not, I have to go to Frankenmuth and Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland.

Originally settled by Lutheran immigrants from Franconia, Frankenmuth today is nicknamed Little Bavaria and is probably Michigan’s most popular tourist attraction. The city itself is rather small (2.8 square miles with 4,600 people) but the architecture is undoubtedly Bavarian and they even have their own Oktoberfest each year, which is sanctioned by the city of Munich. The biggest attraction is Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, the largest Christmas store in the world.

Located only 15 minutes from my childhood home, Frankenmuth began my love affair with all things German and started the association Germany = Christmas in my mind. I went to Bronner’s on Friday for some holiday cheer that I had been missing in France.

The best part of Bronner’s is of course the Christmas around the World section, full of ornaments from other countries.

You can find ornaments saying Merry Christmas in over 100 languages.

And ornaments in the shape of famous buildings and cultural objects, such as the Eiffel Tower and bottles of wine for France.

Even the trashcans are multilingual.

And outside of the store stands the Silent Night Memorial Chapel, a replica of the original chapel in Oberndorf, Austria where Stille Nacht was written. The signs along the sidewalk are translations of Stille Nacht/Silent Night into several languages.

Now I’m ready for Christmas!

Home for the Holidays

By   December 14, 2010

My Christmas secret is out! I came back to Michigan yesterday as a surprise for my parents and will be home for the next two weeks. I had been planning this for months and even though all of my friends knew, everyone was able to keep the secret and my mom was indeed surprised.

I absolutely love Christmas in Michigan and I hadn’t been here in December since 2007. I was a bit worried about my flights because of the big snowstorm that came through the Midwest this past weekend, but everything worked out fine and I will have a white Christmas for the first time in years! Well done, mother nature. Well done.

I was excited like a little kid when I arrived in Detroit last night. The Christmas lights, the snow, even the football fans at the airport (thank you Vikings for proving that a team besides the Lions can lose at Ford Field!) made me feel right at home. It was bitterly cold (a balmy 6 F / -14 C this morning) and the roads were still covered in ice & snow, but it felt good to be home where most of my friends and family are.

I will be playing in the snow with the dog, visiting friends in Flint, experiencing Bavarian Christmas in Frankenmuth, and just enjoying my time at home so I won’t be online as much until I’m back in France for New Year’s.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Chinese Food in France (Helps with Homesickness)

By   November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving to the Americans, whether you are actually celebrating it or not! This week is always hard for me because I’m usually rather homesick, more so than at Christmas since Christmas actually exists in France (albeit a less excessive form of the holiday… I need an overload of decorations, people!) Luckily we did something this week that helped with the homesickness: ate lunch at an all-you-can-eat Chinese restaurant.

Eating out in France is not common for us since we can’t really afford it, but I make an exception for Chinese restaurants. If I could find a decent Mexican restaurant where I live, I would make an exception there too, but I’ve been having no luck finding one. Luckily there is a good Chinese restaurant near Chambéry with offers an all-you-can-eat buffet (buffet à volonté) and it reminds me of an American-style restaurant because it is huge:

Finding restaurants that serve more than French or Italian food can be hard outside of the large cities, and even in Indian or Moroccan restaurants, épicé is not what Americans would call spicy. Every time I travel I make sure to find a restaurant that serves food that I can’t find in the Alps, such as falafel and hummus. There’s only so much cheese and potatoes I can take, which is surprising because I really LOVE cheese and potatoes.

The lack of variety of food that we take for granted in the US is what makes me homesick often, and I’m not just talking about in restaurants. I would give anything to find frozen mini tacos in my local grocery store. There is usually one small section of international food, and even though you can find fajita kits, Asian soups and occasional British items, it just isn’t the same. Luckily Picard offers more choices in the frozen food department (bagels!), but some days I just really want some nachos, you know?

For now I’ll take advantage of the Chinese restaurant and its side of the highway exterior and non-French decor.

Le Palais Cantonais is just outside of Chambéry, on the borders of Barberaz and La Ravoire. Lunch is 13€ and dinner is slightly more, but there is more food available in the evening (and karaoke on weekends!). Plus they accept tickets-restaurant, so thanks French government for paying for half of my lunch.

Death of a Language Website:

By   July 19, 2010

Last year a friend of mine who had recently immigrated to Quebec sent me a link to a great website about learning Canadian French. The URL was simply and the site included grammar and vocabulary specific to Quebec as well as several videos of Quebecois songs and examples of Quebecois speech. It was an extremely useful site for learning the Quebecois accent and understanding another variety of French. I noticed the updates stopped in late 2009 but I only recently checked the actual website and found that it was gone.

I want to learn Canadian French too!

I created a Playlist in YouTube for most of the artists who appeared on the site (plus other famous French Canadian singers), but I would really like to access the rest of the information, especially on pronunciation. The RSS feed only goes back until the end of October and the site is not yet archived in the Wayback Machine. If anyone knows how to get in touch with Kevin, the author of the site, please let me know. It’s such a shame that this valuable resource has disappeared from the internet.

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