When thinking of learning French, most people envision having a baguette and cheese picnic on a grassy knoll a stone’s throw from the Eiffel tower. But if you’re doing business with someone from Canada, learning French might serve you well.

There are over 9.5 million speakers of French living in Canada, representing almost one-third of the population. Approximately 22% of Canadians speak French as their mother tongue, most of which reside in Quebec, an area once referred to as New France.

One should be aware, however, that there are some differences between French spoken in France and Canada. Firstly, Canadian French tends to lean towards more archaic discourse rather than modern French from France. No doubt, due to isolation of French as a language surrounded by English speakers in other parts of Canada and the US. Also, there are a number of regional dialects in Canada including, but not limited to, Quebec French, Acadian French, and Brayon French.

Generally speaking, the difference between French from France and French from Canada has been likened to the difference between English spoken in the UK compared to English spoken in the US. Noticeably different, but when it comes down to it we can still understand each other’s television shows.

Want to sample of Français Québécois for yourself? Why not watch a movie made in Quebec. My favorite one at the moment is Starbuck, staring Patrick Huard. Huard plays David, a perpetual screw-up in his early 40’s who finds out he is the father of 533 children (I’d tell you more, but I don’t want to give too much away).

If—like me—you see watching a movie in its entirety in one sitting as an impossibility because of rambunctious children, try watching French Canadian cartoons instead. Caillou (pronounced kai-yoo) is a popular children’s series based on books by Christine L’Heureux. Not only will you be giving yourself a chance to pick up a different dialect of French, but your child might learn a thing or two as well.

Even the popular American cartoon South Park has taken notice of the importance of French Canadian culture, satirically of course. In an episode where the main characters, four young boys, travel through Canada, they are greeted in French Canada with a song that states, “There’s no Canada like French Canada, it’s the best Canada in the land.” Who can argue with a song sung by animated mimes and mustachioed men wearing striped shirts and berets?

Speaking French means more than eating baguettes and taking romantic strolls by the Champs-Elysées, it’s a language spoken around the world. Wouldn’t you like to become part of that tradition? Even if you are only traveling as far as Canada, why not learn French and give Quebec a visit? After all, “It’s the best Canada in the land.”

Have you tried giving Canadian French a listen, what did you think? Did you find it had a certain je ne sais quoi?