There is a river that goes by here, and on one side is one city, Gatineau, and on the other is another: Ottawa. They’re 100 m apart.
They’re very different from a language perspective. People in Gatineau speak mainly French, the shops and signs are all in French, the events are all in French, and a lot don’t understand any English.
A short walk away, in Ottawa, all the people speak mainly English, the signs and shops are all in English, the events are all in English, and a lot don’t understand any French.
I am living in one city and working in the other. My fluency in both languages means that it isn’t a barrier to occupying these spaces. Not so for others.
Two of my room mates speak almost exclusively French; we only talk in French amongst ourselves. English is a great struggle. It’s striking seeing someone so eloquent in the language we converse with struggle to string basic sentences - mainly when I bring over anglophones. They’ll talk about the idiosyncrasies of the English language they were exposed to that day at work.
Part of my family is francophone and doesn’t understand any English. Part of my family only talks in English. We all live in the same area, and have lived here all our lives. But some of us grew up on one side of the bridge, others on the other. Family events see people be excluded from entire conversations because of that language barrier.
This is why I want my kids to be fluently bilingual.