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Quebec language Police Fine English-Only Site 86

Posted by timothy
from the welcome-to-the-new-millenium dept.
Navarre writes: "The Quebec government continues to embarrass itself by missing the entire point of the internet. The language police are at it again, by fining an English-only website operating within the province. They didn't care that the owners of the site were selling to English-only customers outside of the province. If they would take their blinders off and join the 21st century, they would see that all they are doing is driving business out of Quebec by forcing these people to find their internet hosting elsewhere."
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Quebec language Police Fine English-Only Site

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    This doesn't belong in your rights online. You can have all you pages, or speech, or whatever you put online, in any langage, in Quebec. The thing you cannot do is "To operate a commerce in Quebec without a french website". Every country, state, or island, has laws, and a soon as you try to *sell* something, anywhere, you'll stumble upon many laws. I'll agree this would have to be revised, but this is not a "rights" issue. This is a business issue.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Wow. I've rarely seen so many clueless comments on my province in one place. I would like to think that most of you never have been in the province, but that's probably not true.

    Those who have seen the last 40 years remember the days when "le garage George" was "George's garage" in the 50s. Those remember. Although the language laws can seem somewhat exaggerated, they have greatly contributed to maintaining and improving the strength of the french language in Quebec. After all, it is the language that the great majority of people in that province speak! These laws are not made to prevent free speech, but to insure that the french language remains in use at least in public affairs.

    Now, I still fail to see how insisting that both languages be used somehow hinders your free speech... just speak freely in both languages!

    It is a simple matter of preventing a strong culture to disappear amidst the mass of american culture surrounding it. There is nothing to it about preventing free speech.
  • where "politically offensive" is defined as "in English" by the Canadian authorities
    no, by the Québec provincial authorités...
  • Does anyone know for certain if the language laws restrict just English, or all non-French languages? I've looked around on lots of websites, but I've just gotten a lot of conflicting answers.
  • by Archfeld (6757)
    you not only READ the article, YOU RE-READ it ?!?!?! You are obviously in the wrong place :)
    I thought it was MANDATORY to post prior to reading the articles on /. :)
  • I live in California, and it is official, more than 50% of the population speaks Spanish. English is officially the state languauge but we print ballots in 9, count em 9 languages. As a minority english speaker here I do NOT feel the need to employ LANGUAGE POLICE. The crazy Cannuck Frogs are just too inbred.....
  • You said "neither of your parents went to a French school in their youth" you had to go to French school...what you meant was if neither of your parents went to ENGLISH school. It used to be if they went to English school anywhere in the world, it was OK...I think it was changed to it had to be within Canada or you were stuck with French for your kids. - adam...who went to English school in Quebec, so my kids can go to English school also--which would matter if I had any intention of raising them in Quebec
  • I remember when i lived in western Canada that they came out with a postage stamp with his picture on it. There was report that the stamp was not sticking in the west because folks were spitting on the wrong side.
  • Indeed, this is true for most languages... a sentence in Swedish such as "The priest writes a letter":

    Prästen skriver brev.

    ... contains in actuality all loan-words from Latin. (presbyter, scribo, brevis)

  • Cool, now let's turn ./ in a spanish-only site. My guess is that a few million users wouldn't be so prompt to celebrate pluralism.
    The U.S. would kill to keep english safe.
    Quebec imposes fines to have french coexist with english.
    (BTW, I don't speak for my employer and its bilingual website, funded by americans, located in Montréal)
  • by yugami (102988)
    the US has no official language, its actually one of the few(if not only, not up on every countries language) that is like that.
  • Your arguments track amazingly well with those in favor of preserving white power in the US, Aryan purity in Germany in the 30's and what the Taliban is doing now in Afghanistan. Is that the company you like to keep?
    --
  • I thought they tried to go after some businesses in Montreal's Chinatown once, I don't know what ever came of it.
  • That's a huge exageration. The difference between Quebec French and France French is like the difference between North American English and British English. Different accents, different expressions, a few alternate spellings, and few alternate words (especially slang); that's perty much it. Do the British accuse us of not speaking English? (Maybe they do :)
  • They'll go after you for having badly translated sign/manuals/website/etc. (bablefish translations are usually hardly legible). They'll usually give you a warning before hand, but that's not the point.
  • "in Denmark, where I am from, I would say that over 90% of people between 15 and 40 speak english near fluently"

    My GF lives there, so i visit quite a lot (Nice country! I`m from England so I appreciate people being nice, the cleanliness, efficient public transport etc. Its also good to hear English being spoken properly!).

    Its funny when you hear people talking Danish, but with sentences littered with the occasional English `oh yeah`, `i dont think so` etc!

    >If you have decided that you want to protect >your language, then what's insane about being >specific ;)

    I found it funny that Dansk Big Brother decided that the contestants werent to use english phrases...something like that. That was strange on a program called `Big Brother` (and not Stor Bror or whatever :) Insane or other - at least be consistent!!

    Hej hej!
  • I happen to like being attached to a monarchy - it's something called "heritage."

    -Medgur
  • Yes, and Waffle House shouldn't have to serve those pesky black people if it doesn't want to, right?

    Well, actually, that's right. They could refuse to serve white people as well, if they choose. That you don't like who people prefer to associate with doesn't mean they don't have the right to decide for themselves. Or do you prefer to legislate morality?


  • If they want to force ecomerce out of their province, let them.

    I am an advocate of freedom of speach, and I do think the law is silly in this case, but there are more pressing battles to be fought. These people wern't arrested, they wern't censored, and they wern't forced out of buisness.

    They did break local law, as silly as it may be.

    As long as the local goverment doesn't try to fine sites hosted outside of the province for being displayed inside the province without a french option, its just not worth worrying about.

  • Have they been to Tauzin's website yet?
  • "Obviously, if a business does not wish to cater to French speaking people, they should not be forced to do so."

    Yes, and Waffle House shouldn't have to serve those pesky black people if it doesn't want to, right? After all, it's part of our heritage in this great US of Assholes to hate people with different skin colors - why should the gubmint stick its nose where it doesn't belong and force us to change our ways (if not our attitudes)?

  • RE: I said that Montreal loves multi-ethnicity,

    A blanket statement. The McGill student ghetto crowd loves em. Hey, in the St. Denis area a guy can walk down the street in a sarong and noone bats an eyelid. Go east of Berri and try it, though, amongst the various pure-laine butt-rocker types and unwashed Quebecois squeegee punks. "Hostie de tapette, tabarnak!"

    RE: and the Quebec gov encourages other cities to do the same.

    Sez who? Not Lucien "we pure laine people must be having more babies" Bouchard. Certainly not Jaques "thanks you ethnics" Parizeau. Quebec's government loves the idea of culture, so long as it is pure laine, classic Quebecois language, pure laine, classic Quebecois heritage, etc.

    RE: pow(2,n); /* where n is the number of generations from mine. ex: 4 grand-parents */

    Just that you listed four nationalities.

    RE: I don't recall saying I was.. Anyways, human genetical diversity is good.

    I agree. According to many parts of Quebec, no.

    RE: I havent yet explained my political views, only described my thoughts on multi-ethnicity in Quebec.

    Sure you have. Quebec's official policy is you're very welcome so long as you already speak French, and intend to completely assimilate. You've declared yourself as a Montrealer and interested in multiple heritages, which is a political stance in La Belle Province.
  • If I remember correctly, Quebec province laws state that ANY business operating in the province, must use french AND english. This has been the law for many years - right or wrong. It's not like it's a new law, so the business owners had no excuse about it. With services like Babelfish [altavista.com], there's even less an excuse. It certainly doesn't take long to translate a bunch of english pages into french with a service like that. Especially when you can simply use a GET request URL, via babelfish, to translate the site.. and label the link something like "en français".

    I don't agree with the agressiveness of the police on this matter either. They probably could've saved everyone time & money if they simply warned the business to comply with the laws by a certain time, instead of arresting them.

    with 2 cents,

    Dev
  • here's how the (Canadian) French see it: There language is being destroyed. It's like any major language that is thousands of years old

    The French language is thousands of years old???

    Is this what they teach in the schools up there?

  • When these laws went into effect, I think I remember reading that the only similar laws existed in Libya.
    Maybe the laws aren't identical, but on Iceland no English words are allowed, and every word which enters the country has to get an Icelandic translation. So the word 'computer' does not allowed there (but most likely used). Also, right now in Croatia a similar 'cleaning' of the language is taking place - they are getting rid of all the old Yugoslavien words, and replacing them with sometimes strange made-up Croatian variations (that's what Croats tell me anyway). France itself has laws that state that radiostations have to play at lease 30% French sung songs, so you often (more often than most Americans are aware) get english singers to rewrite their songs to French to benefit from these laws.

    The DMCA looks sane in comparison. These language laws specify things like the relative font sizes of English and French signs in various contexts, and whether English is permitted at all.
    If you have decided that you want to protect your language, then what's insane about being specific ;)

    I completely understand (but don't support) the Canadian approach. To native English speakers it might seem strange why anyone would object to letting the people use whatever words, they want, but in Denmark, where I am from, I would say that over 90% of people between 15 and 40 speak english near fluently, and maybe half that many speak a third language. In my daily life in Denmark, I speak English about 50% of the time. I have several foreign friends and it seems much more normal to speak English with them, than it does speaking Danish. One friend has lived, studied and worked in Denmark for 6 years without ever speaking the language, simply because it's not a problem - he speaks English. With only 5 million citizens in Denmark, it's easy to see where the language is going, and why someone would go to great lengths to stop such a development.

    Just my 2 øre.

    -Kraft
  • Keep in mind those folks like to be as ethnically pure as possible. While collecting tax money from those they so despise.

    I think you're forgetting that the city of Montreal keeps talking about how proud they are about their multi-ethnic status, and how the government keeps applying pressure to send immigrants to smaller cities (Sherbrooke, Quebec City, etc.) to encourage diversity and at the same time encourage cultural integration to the french language.

    I have always lived in Montreal, but now study in Sherbrooke. I was told that the people here are dumb and close-minded, but a massive amount of Arabs, Africans, and French (btw, the French bitch a lot against the closed minded a-la-americain stupidity of Quebec) also studying here have a big influence on the city as they integrate it. Also, Quebec doesn't have a strong and invasive culture as the United-States, so merging cultures is much easier. I would give a ton of examples, if it were not that this message will be marked -1 for flamebait since it diverges from average slashdot opinion :)

    p.s. I have a lebanese name/origin, I am also from italian, irish and quebecois origin. I'm what you could call a "pure-Montrealer", since one of my parents is francophone, and the other anglophone; both are from different religions. Beat that ;)

  • Montreal has also talked about seceding from Quebec if Quebec secedes from Canada.

    No, the West-Island of Montreal said that, not it's government. Saying that Montreal doesn't reflect the whole nation is obvious, as you mentionned in your post.

    You're doing the equivalent of an American saying "yes, I know all about Canada. I stayed a couple of days in Toronto." Head up to Beauharnois or Riviere-De-Loup.

    Your twisting my words or maybe I didn't express myself clearly enough. I said that Montreal loves multi-ethnicity, and the Quebec gov encourages other cities to do the same. For it to become a reality takes time, but I guess that's obvious.

    Wow. How many parents did you have?

    pow(2,n); /* where n is the number of generations from mine. ex: 4 grand-parents */

    Then you're not pure laine.

    I don't recall saying I was.. Anyways, human genetical diversity is good.

    According to Parizeau it's your fault for ruining the separatist election.

    I havent yet explained my political views, only described my thoughts on multi-ethnicity in Quebec. No need to impress me with your high level of comprehension in politics. :-)

  • Mod this up from Troll to to Informative. I'm also a Canadian and every law mentioned is true, the language laws in Quebec really are far out of hand.
  • If a culture is strong, it does not need protection. The English Canadian Culture does quite well without any protection and we are even more exposed to american influence then the french.

    You seem to have forgotten about the CRTC and the various Canadian magazine laws whose purpose is exactly that. Protect Canadian culture from American influence.
  • I haven't spent much time in Quebec, but your "sarcasm" may be a bit misplaced. I'm not sure how many Quebecois would choose to continue carrying the handicap of a language spoken by almost no one else in this hemisphere without these laws. I do know that when I was growing up in this part of Michigan, there were a fair number of French speakers. Now there are none, although we've still got the same proportion of people with French names. It's not quite the same situation, and I don't see it as a loss, but the people who care about preserving French in Canada aren't necessarily mistaken about coercion being the only way to do it.
  • Since you asked....

    Consider yourself slapped!
    Now where's my money bitch?

  • Hi, you should try it *here*.

    We have left, two middles, and right.
    Left & Right are both fanatics, the left says, bend over and spread your legs, the right says, get a sword and start foaming at the mouth.
    The two middles are identical, but the left one change its name every couple of years so the public wouldn't remember the fuck ups that they did.

    Oh, and I forgot the relegious types (don't really care about left or right, give me money *now*! God it the only Truth, and laws will make sure of that. Unless the laws are inconvenient, then we have permission from Above to ignore them.) the sectors types (don't care about politics, but I want the money!) and the anit-relegious types (don't care about anything, stop the relegious!)

    All of the above, BTW, allign themselves with the right, sort of.
    The relegious will do anything if you legalisate relegious laws or give them money.
    The anti-relegious has some pricipals, apperantly.
    And *no one* understands what the sectors does.

    We also changed the elections system *twice* in the last ten years, and had a 3 prime ministers in the last three years, the last two didn't manage to keep their chair for the whole time they were elected to.

    On, and in the previous elections, it was quite common for people to vote for the left prime minister, and then vote for the far right party, just so he wouldn't get too big for his head.
  • So who talked him into it? Jean Chretien

    I didn't know that.

    Trudeau, Chretien, they're all Liberal scum as far as I'm concerned :)

    Ryan T. Sammartino

  • they brainwash their citizens from 14 years old on.

    Oh, it starts much earlier than that, I'm afraid.

    Ryan T. Sammartino

  • Yeah you're right. But like you said, it also applies that if your parents are immigrants from another country. I did get past Bill 101 for my senior year about 5 years ago, but that was because of my father's political ties.
  • "Tell me, would the language police shut down an English-language site that called for repeal of the province's law forcing French down its citizens' throats?"

    Only if the sign were in English only. If the website was predominantly French and the fonts were sufficiently larger for the French text, it would be OK.

  • The intent of Section 32 (The Notwithstanding clause) was to ensure that laws are made by the Parliament and Legislatures, and not the courts. Furthermore, this section was added to the Constitution Act of 1982 at the request of the Western Premiers who feared an activist judiciary.

    Since Section 32 allows for the over-ride of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, any bill invoking that clause must be renewed every few years (don't remember how many) and over-riding basic freedoms cannot be done unless the electorate is in favour of such restrictions. Unfortunately, a sizable majority voters in Quebec are in favour of the language laws.

    Potentially as a counter-balance, the federal government has the power to "disallow" (i.e. cancel) any legislation passed by a province without question, but that clause has never been applied AFAIK.

    Personally, I think that the language issue has a lot more to do with Quebec xenophobia than with the protection of a linguistic minority. The separatist movement has always had dark under-currents of anti-semitism and anti-immigrant sentiment.
  • "Language is a tool. People use it to communicate with each other, and built upon that, the rest of society functions." Maybe they just don't like new concepts, _changes_ to the way society functions. That's why they invented Newspeak in George Orwell's 1984. Whoops.. That was a ++ungood crimethink.
  • ...are spoilt brats who figure that they can have their own way with everyone in the world the same way as they do with the weak Federal Government.
    Quebec politicians don't CARE that they're hurting business. Quebec politicians KNOW that their language laws are driving people out of their province. The rich are still getting richer, and for a reason.
    The only reason they get away with the crap they do is because they brainwash their citizens from 14 years old on.
  • I was just speaking of what's been advertised. I didnt' want to SCARE everybody. ^___^
  • What's the difference between protecting your culture by legislating, and protecting small businesses by legislating? A lot of you here where happy when Microsoft was punished for occupying too much space in the OS market. Why does the government have to "protect" other OSes, any strong OS doesn't need a protection to succeed... I live in Quebec and I'm what you call a "pure laine". The language laws have been created to protect the majority of french speaking people against the abuse of the minority of english people. There was a time in Montreal not long ago when if you didn't talk english, no one would hire you. It was almost impossible for a french speaking person to go up on the hierarchy of a big "english owned" business. It's that kind of discrimination that made these laws necessary. But now, since the francophone have been given a chance to occupy some space of their own, and since people are more open minded these days, I agree that this kind of law should be relaxed a little, and let the french survive on it's own strenght.
  • The language situation in Quebec goes way beyond language. It is reverse-racism. 99% of all government jobs are held by Francophones in Quebec which screams of discrimination. Being bilingual in Quebec holds no weight at all. The government and fully half of the population (if the last referendum is any measure) exclude anyone who even has an English name (first or last). The day-to-day lives of people in Quebec who are not "de souche" (of pure French ancestory on both sides) or pur laine" (sounds a lot like arien no?") is intolerable. I left Quebec because I was distraught at being treated like a 2nd class citizen in my home. I can trace my Francophone maternal ancestory back to 1640 and my Anglophone paternal ancestory back to 1850. I sent both of my children to French schools (voluntarily) only to have to withdraw them and place them in the English school system by grade 3. Why? Because they were suffering verbal and physical assult in school simply because their mother had some trace of English (a name). While I agree with the preservation of the French language in Quebec and realize how fragile it is clustered between a sea of English, I do not agree with the underlying condemnation of anything non-Francophone to the point of absolute racism.
  • Perhaps this is a good time to mention to our worldwide neighbors that the Liberals and the Conservatives in Canada are political parties, and that "liberal" and "Liberal", and "conservative" and "Conservative" here can be entirely different things. The exact times that they are different things depends on who you talk to. :)
  • Uh-huh. And what if you can't speak french? Do non-French-speakers not have the right to make a living?
  • The U.S. would kill to keep english safe.

    "Safe" in what way? While there are a few states where I've seen "official english" laws (those that specify that state business will be conducted in english -- primarily to try to avoid having to deal with employees who unilaterally decide to do all their work in another language or something), as far as I know none of them have been very succesfull, most of them as far as I know have never passed. And that is all on a state level, on a national level something like that would stand even less of a chance. As far as trying to 'keep english pure', there is no U.S. centric movement like that with any power. On the contrary, Americans delight in bastardizing the language by coining new terms at the drop of a hat, slang, subdialects (ebonics anyone?), large scale borrowing of terms from other languages... Spanish, French, Vietnamese, Russian, Japanese... All of them have been borrowed for words and phrases in common usage.

    As for your suggestion of a spanish-only site... In certain parts of the U.S. there are tons of spanish speaking radio stations, a few spanish speaking television stations, and spanish newspapers. I don't hear much call for them to be shut down or fined. If you don't speak spanish you just turn the channel or read something else.

    Nobody in the U.S. would think of imposing fines to keep spanish from coexisting with english, let alone 'kill to keep english safe'.

    On the other hand, very few people in the U.S. are in favor of forcing multi-lingualism either... And frankly it wouldn't be fair, for example to require everything to be in both english and spanish, for example... What about the people who's native language is Korean, or Vietnamese or German or Norwegian? If you required multilingualism, there are places in the U.S. where in a certain area, people of those ethnic backgrounds are large minorities, if not occasionally the majority. There are just too many different languages spoken in the U.S. to choose some specific set.

  • U.S. English does indeed specify "color" rather than "colour", but no copy editor would let "nite" get printed in a respectable publication.

    There really isn't a legal definition of what 'U.S. English' is, as far as I know. The generally agreed spelling is 'color', but there certainly is nothing legally stopping people from using 'colour' should they choose. Certainly a 'british english' publication or web site would be permitted in the U.S. without having to publish a 'U.S. english' edition/site. Similarly a french, german, chinese, japanese, korean, norwegian, spanish, etc. publication or web site would not be required to also have an english version.

    Unfortunately businesspeople are known for taking normal words and bastardizing them, as in Kwik Kleen and the like.

    Trademark laws actually tend to encourage that. You probably couldn't successfully trademark and defend "Quick Clean", but "Kwik Kleen" you probably could.

    Anyway, I agree with your points, I just didn't want you to think that our USAian language skills had degenerated *that* far :-)

    Most of us U.S. citizens love to bastardize the language by borrowing words from other languages and haphazardly coining new words or changing the meaning of existing ones... One only has to think of the horrors of, for example, 'ebonics' to figure that one out. 'Wuz up wid dat?' Need I say more?

  • Congratulations! YOU...have mastered the art of the Straw Man!

    What the poster said:
    "...the people who care about preserving French in Canada aren't necessarily mistaken about coercion being the only way to do it."

    What you say he said:
    "COERCION GOOD! FORCE THEM TO SPEAK FRENCH! KILL ENGLISH-SPEAKERS AND EAT THEIR BABIES!"

    Permit me to translate the poster's intent...Regardless of the utility of preserving French in Quebec, I believe that it won't happen voluntarily. People will not decide to speak primarily French unless they are forced to do so. Without the application of some external motivation, people will choose NOT to speak French.

    Let's consider another example...gun control.

    (ahem) The only way to achieve gun control in the U.S. is through coercion.
    (You need only look at all the "from my cold, dead fingers" bumper stickers to see the truth in this.) Does the bolded statement up there affirm or oppose gun control? Neither; it merely states the opinion that it's not going to happen voluntarily.
  • We regret to inform you Mr. Rinker died of a heart attack while reading your post. His last words were reported to be "can't be...rational people...on slashdot..."

    :)
  • I turned down an invitation to speak at a conference in Quebec. I don't speak French, and couldn't find anyone to translate the presentation materials.
    Oh, well. Next year is Denver.
  • > I am an advocate of freedom of speach, but [ ...] They did break local law, as silly as it may be.

    I like this guy, he's funny. He's an advocate for freedom of speech - even if he can't spell it.

    Like my Dad's army buddy, who said "Fuck the war in VietNam! Of course I hate the draft, but it's against the law not to register for the draft, man! Ya gotta register!"

    Or my great-uncle, who said "Ah'm all fer civil rights, but don't they know it's agin' the law fer niggers t'drink from the whites-only fountain!"

    And my great-great-grandpappy, who said "Hey, universal suffrage is a cool idea, but don't those silly dames realize it's against the law for women to vote?"

    So I guess I'm all for freedom of speech... as long as the government hasn't outlawed it.

    ("So love me, love me, love me! I'm a liberal!")

  • > the people who care about preserving French in Canada aren't necessarily mistaken about coercion being the only way to do it.

    Ah, I see, so if $COERCION is required to preserve $ETHNICITY in $GEOGRAPHICAL_REGION, that makes it OK?

    I suppose you have no problem, then, with what happened in Bosnia... or Rwanda... or Cambodia... or, well, we won't mention that little country in Europe 60 years ago that decided it was OK to use a little bit of force to gain some "living space" for its ethnically-pure citizens.

    Do a google search on "pur laine" (lit: "pure wool"). You'll see that there is a sizable segment of the Quebec population that thinks of itself as racially-pure.

    Do some more searching, you'll find links between Quebec Nationalism and fascism. Sample source: 1996 article, "A Look At The Catholic Far Right In Quebec" [hartford-hwp.com]

    Better source: The story of Jean-louis Roux, Lieutenant Governor of Quebec, and his time as a Nazi sympathizer in the early 40s where he took part in Montreal's little mini-Kristallnacht: Source: 1996 B'Nai Brith article [bnaibrith.ca].

    I'll leave off with an article from last year: Quebec Language Policy Isn't Funny [vigile.net].

    Bottom line: There are some (to use the clinical diagnosis) seriously sick motherfuckers in Quebec. They have a hell of a lot of power, given how sick they are - they've kept a lot of secrets, and they've had a lot of cooperation in covering things up. Quebec language policies are just the tip of the iceberg - the underlying ethnic nationalism is a real problem, and a real threat, to fundamental freedoms in Canada.

  • As for the straw man accusation, I beg to split a hair:

    I agree entirely with the poster that coercion may very well be the only way to preserve French in Canada.

    When I read the post, however, it looked (to me) like the poster was presenting this thesis in a sympathetic context, implying that such coercion was justified.

    Upon rereading the post (and parent post) in context, -the part of the article that says "I'm not sure how many Quebecois would choose to continue carrying the handicap of a language spoken by almost no one else in this hemisphere without these laws." and the part that says "I don't see [the loss of French in Michigan] as a loss", don't appear to advocate such coercion.

    Good call. I didn't set up a straw man per se... but I sure misinterpreted the post to which I was replying ;)

  • > While I admit Quebec language laws have gone somewhat ridiculous, I just can't equate "requiring any English contents to be translated in French" with "deporting and/or killing all English-speaking Canadians".

    1) I don't think Godwin's Law applies when you're actually talking about a political movement where many of its early leaders sympathized with the government of Germany during WW2.

    History moment: There was an intense Anglo/Protestant vs. Francophone/Catholic ethnic mess going on in Quebec since the 1700s. Anti-Semitism was part of the baggage you happened to carry if you were a Quebec Catholic in the 1930s. Supporting the Germans in WW2 was natural for a Quebecois - because WW2 was portrayed to them as "just another silly British war like WW1" and they were still collectively bitter over that. Hence the Quebecois opposition to Conscription, which was the Canadian/British policy, and the resulting increase in sympathy with the you-know-whos in Germany. The fact that the German government shared the hardliners' hate-on for the Jews just made it easier for the meme to spread among the French population of Quebec.)

    2) This isn't about requiring English documents to be translated into French. When laws call for fines (and if you don't pay the fine, presumably imprisonment) for putting up English signs and web sites, when laws call for unilingual French - outlawing English - at workplaces over 50 people, and so on, I don't see it as anything other than the start of a programme whose goals are indistinguishable from any other ethnic cleanser's. It's the thin edge of a sick wedge.

    Perhaps a look at the demographics of Montreal during the period 1970 through 1990 would suffice?

    ObGodwin: ("We don't persecute $ETHNICs, they just all seem to want to leave! We even help them pack!")

    I'll grant you that ethnic cleansing is too strong a word for what the PQ is doing now. How 'bout "linguistic profiling"?

    ("You sir, you with the English on your website, gotta send the tonguetroopers over to your store to make sure you're not putting English signs up." seems pretty comparable to "You sir, you with the black/gold/green bumpersticker and the dreadlocks, pull over, you're doing 31 in a 30 zone, gotta check you out!")

  • On its face, the "Language of Commerce and Business" [gouv.qc.ca] section of Quebec's language law applies to all non-French languages equally, but everyone knows that its primary target is the use of English.

  • I suppose you have no problem, then, with what happened in Bosnia... or Rwanda... or Cambodia... or, well, we won't mention that little country in Europe 60 years ago that decided it was OK to use a little bit of force to gain some "living space" for its ethnically-pure citizens.

    It's reassuring to see that the internet is not such a lawless place. At least Godwin's law [tuxedo.org] is respected.

    While I admit Quebec language laws have gone somewhat ridiculous, I just can't equate "requiring any English contents to be translated in French" with "deporting and/or killing all English-speaking Canadians".

    Maybe I'm just another fascist pig myself.

    Thomas Miconi
  • Again, why should people be forced to speak a language? Obviously, if a business does not wish to cater to French speaking people, they should not be forced to do so. They obviously do not want the business of the French speakers, or may not need it. So what would forcing French into their business do, besides prove that French needs legislation to keep it alive?

    If a language, culture or affluence is losing because another language, culture or affluence is greater in acceptance, then it's either time to let go, or setup a historical district (like Colonial Williamsburgh or Amish Country here), in which people can still learn about these with unfettered access, without laws.

    But pushing people to always be a certain way through laws, for culture or language, is Fascist, not protecting a culture or language. The language and culture should change and modify itself for how its masses see fit, not how a Government demands it.

    That's what I'm missing. Why this is accepted and not fought.

    Dragon Magic [dragonmagic.net]
  • I'm missing something that's been throughout this entire thread, when people argue in favour of this decision. Since when is it that internet sites do not have the right to choose what language they want to have their sites in, that they must make it French accessible, but yet Quebeccers have every right to be able to access the site in French?

    Pardon me, but it's the business's decision to whom they cater, not being forced by the Government. Just as someone pointed out, what if a bookstore with only English Language books, for all those who wanted to learn English or knew English and wanted to read, setup shop there? Why would they have to cater to the French speakers, who probably would not want to shop there as frequently as English speakers? Forcing them to spend more money on something they won't use is just hurting the business, which will hurt the government with lost taxes.

    Any Government which legislates mandatory restrictions on how people can speak, deal business, and live, to the point that it has to be this certain way and no other, has come down to the point of being a Fascist State. And that is not a State of which I would be proud.

    Sure, the US Constitution makes exceptions where the general public or others may be harmed by exchange of words or print, but that's an extreme of harm. In Quebec, if you harm even the French Language or culture, or just not make everything about your business accessible for French speakers, you've done this imaginary harm.

    Wake up, Quebeccers, you're a Fascist state when you let this happen. Stand up and demand that they stop with the iron grip, or you'll soon find that the DMCA, which sneaked into our laws, will be a wonderful law compared to what gets introduced for you.

    Dragon Magic [dragonmagic.net]
  • According the the Supreme Court of Canada, there is different level of free speech.

    The supreme court considers that commercial free speech is not as valuable than personnal free speech for example.

    Only e-commerce site are affected by "La charte de la langue française".

  • OK, let's try that again. Last language I knew of that was thousands of years old was.. Latin?

    Well, this is what happens when you type things without quite paying attention!

    So you're a karma whore, eh? For the right price, I'll be a karma pimp...

  • Yes, it's rediculous either way, but here's how the (Canadian) French see it: There language is being destroyed. It's like any major language that is thousands of years old - the people that speak it want to see it survive. The government in Quebec is trying (vainly) to preserve the French lanuage.

    Personally, I think they should just make everything from the gov. French and leave the private industry alone, eh? C'est la vie...

    So you're a karma whore, eh? For the right price, I'll be a karma pimp...

  • Well, since we're judging Canadians by the US Constitution (What? You mean the rest of the world ISN'T governed by the US Constitution??? Gasp!), I suppose I wouldn't be out of line pointing out the Mr. Coward that, in the US, the 1st amendment CAN be trumped. Were Quebec governed by the US Constitution, the Commerce Clause, in connection with the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment would not only allow for a law requiring that all commercial statements be made in both English and French, it would practically require it.

    Substancial portions of Quebec speak either English or French, but not the other (at least, not to any great extent). To conduct business in only one of those languages is to discriminate against those who only speak the other - particularly given that both are the official languages of Quebec. The Commerce Clause gives the federal government the ability to regulate any commerce that in any way crosses state lines or is international (and was used, before the 14th amendment, to regulate discrimination in commerce - even seemingly local commerce). In Quebec, this would equate to having the authority to regulate commercial activity within the province (and with entities outside of the province). This power, I presume, is one a Canadian province has. The Equal Protection Clause guarantees that all persons within and state and among the states are treated equally by the law.

    It is the law which governs the practice of commerce, and those engaging in commerce perform legal functions - such as the collection of taxes and regulatory information on customers. In the US it is the prevailing view in all three of our governmental branches at all levels that the government has a responsibility to ensure the extension of Equal Protection to the activities of commerce. That means that one can't refuse to enter into a commercial arrangement with someone else merely because they are, say, of a particular race. In Quebec, this applies to people who speak only French or English. Failing to communicate items essential to engaging in commerce in a language understandable by the customer is refusing to engage in commerce with them. Indeed, in the US, simply ignoring a customer in one's store because of their race (demonstrated by pattern of behavior) is discriminating against them and is illegal, despite "not speaking" being protected speech.

    Further, there is nothing at all silly about the applicaiton of the law, nor does it "miss the point of the internet". As long as French speaking people in Quebec can access the site and the site is operated within the province, it's subject to the law, and the Quebec authorities have the responsibility to ensure access to the site by French speakers. As a parallel, if someone had a shop just outside of Quebec (the city) that sold really cheesy tourist stuff to English-speaking Americans, they wouldn't be exempt either.

    The only stupidity that this action shows is the stupidity typical of people running internet businesses and thinking that they are somehow "special" or above the commercial laws of their jurisdiction because they're a "virtual" company and people in Addis Ababa can do business with them without having any idea where they're located.

  • Since when is it that internet sites do not have the right to choose what language they want to have their sites in, that they must make it French accessible, but yet Quebeccers have every right to be able to access the site in French?

    Basically since internet sites have been required to operate under the same laws as non-internet businesses in their same jurisdiction. Which has been forever. There's nothing special about internet businesses that makes them exempt from the laws of whatever land they are in.

    Now, you can disagree with any particular law as much as you wish. In this case, while I have some hesitation about the official reasoning of "protecting the language", I see nothing wrong with the goal of protecting the speakers of that language from some sort of forced assimilation into an anglo culture through lack of open access to commercial ventures in the native language of the province (or, in the case of France, which has a similar law, the country). In the US, those of us speaking English don't really see much of an issue. However, in the major French-speaking enclave in the Western Hemesphere, speaking French is a REALLY big deal. Protecting one's abilty to unfettered access to government and commerce while speaking French would be akin to the US protecting those rights of someone wearing a particular clothing or hair style for religious reasons.

    Finally, there is a great deal of history of linguistic assimilation of one people into another (or, more often, attempts at it). People have been imprisoned for speaking Polish or Czech (or, indeed, French) at numerous points in history. While the law is a bit paranoid, it's not an unfounded paranoia.

  • RE: Pardon me, but it's the business's decision to whom they cater, not being forced by the Government.

    Not according to Bill 101.

    RE: Just as someone pointed out, what if a bookstore with only English Language books, for all those who wanted to learn English or knew English and wanted to read, setup shop there?

    It would be required by law to be called "Librarie Anglaise Hendrickson" and have signs twice as large in French as in English inside - CUISINE cooking: with police coming in with rulers to check the font sizes.

    RE: Forcing them to spend more money on something they won't use is just hurting the business, which will hurt the government with lost taxes.

    Thanks to Trudeau, Quebec is in essence a welfare state leeching off English Canada. It does not require internal taxes - it gets "transfer payments" from the rest of Canada, who pays taxes to subsidise this fascism.

    RE: Any Government which legislates mandatory restrictions on how people can speak, deal business, and live, to the point that it has to be this certain way and no other, has come down to the point of being a Fascist State. And that is not a State of which I would be proud.

    Which explains the exodus from Quebec.
  • I believe you would be told "this is a French country, learn the language, or leave. Preferably, leave."

    Keep in mind those folks like to be as ethnically pure as possible. While collecting tax money from those they so despise.
  • RE: I think you're forgetting that the city of Montreal keeps talking about how proud they are about their multi-ethnic status,

    Montreal has also talked about seceding from Quebec if Quebec secedes from Canada. You're doing the equivalent of an American saying "yes, I know all about Canada. I stayed a couple of days in Toronto." Head up to Beauharnois or Riviere-De-Loup.

    RE: and how the government keeps applying pressure to send immigrants to smaller cities (Sherbrooke, Quebec City, etc.)

    a) The immigrants don't want to go (they only speak French in Quebec City!) b) the Quebecois pure laine ethnic purity before everything types in the banlieues don't want em.

    RE: I was told that the people here are dumb and close-minded, but a massive amount of Arabs,

    Like from French speaking Algeria...

    RE: Africans,

    Many parts of Africa speak French RE: Also, Quebec doesn't have a strong and invasive culture as the United-States, so merging cultures is much easier.

    Well according to Bernard Landry we don't have any culture, period, and according to Lise Beaudoin France isn't French enough. To which I say relocate em ALL to Rimouski, wall em in with enough creton, Pepsi and Jos Louis and cigarettes to keep em for life. They can apply for Canadian government grants to play the spoons or whatever and keep their "Habitant" culture alive.

    RE: p.s. I have a lebanese name/origin, I am also from italian, irish and quebecois origin.

    Wow. How many parents did you have?

    RE: I'm what you could call a "pure-Montrealer", since one of my parents is francophone, and the other anglophone; both are from different religions. Beat that ;)

    Then you're not pure laine. According to Parizeau it's your fault for ruining the separatist election.
  • Really, just what does qualify as having a French language version of the page? Assuming the page doesn't have a whole lot of text within picture files, would they be able to just provide a link that would run their page through Babelfish? It might not necessarily be the best translation, but usually Babelfish manages to get the point across. And they don't really even care how good the translation is, seeing as their target customer are English speakers, the only people who will see the translation will be these "Tongue Troops" who will probably just do a short check to make sure that there is a French-language version.

    However, if the page is heavy on text-in-pictures, or the Babelfish translation is ruled to be unacceptable, then this really is unfair. Small businesses can rarely afford to do time-consuming tasks (like translation), especially when this will provide no additional revenue.

  • U.S. English does indeed specify "color" rather than "colour", but no copy editor would let "nite" get printed in a respectable publication. Unfortunately businesspeople are known for taking normal words and bastardizing them, as in Kwik Kleen and the like. Blech.

    Anyway, I agree with your points, I just didn't want you to think that our USAian language skills had degenerated *that* far :-)

  • Your argument is a non-sequitur; /. is a primarily English site because their chosen market/constituency/whatever speaks mostly English. If, suddenly, Malawi came to dominate Internet culture, you can bet that either you'd be seeing lots more posts in Chichewa, or /. wouldn't be nearly as much the force in Internet culture that it is now.

    The point is that the websites in the story were doing what they thought was prudent to reach their desired markets. Their government's response smacks of provicialist censorship.

    OK,
    - B
    --

  • If you have decided that you want to protect your language, then what's insane about being specific

    If you have decided that you want to protect your language, then you have already committed yourself to insanity.

    "Protecting" a language in this fashion is like declaring with force of law that a certain joke is funny or that a given piece of art is beautiful.

    The apex of this idiocy, of course, is France's Academie Francaise [academie-francaise.fr], 40 white-haired and morally bankrupt old farts who determine which words shall or shall not be permitted to enter the French vocabulary, based on their presumed consistency with contrived principles of linguistic purity.

    Where do people come up with this sort of thing? Do they think the French language was handed down from God in one piece on a silver platter? Do they not realize that all languages are the product of mixing and swirling and borrowing and growing?

    Language is a tool. People use it to communicate with each other, and built upon that, the rest of society functions. There are advantages to maintaining a modicum of consistency in a language, because this reduces ambiguities and makes it easier for people to understand each other. But nobody is arguing that the introduction of foreign words or the use of English is making it hard for people to understand each other. They are arguing that the purity of the language is being compromised.

    Leaving aside from the fallacious presumption that the language is magically "pure" today despite the fact that it's changed considerably over the years, this is fundamentally a sentimental issue. Some people like the language the way it is. That's fine. But sentiment neither requires nor deserves force of law. If it is important to people, they'll find ways to assist it. If they don't care, then it deserves all the government protection that the US gives to the sanctity of a bad '70s movie: A cultural product whose time has come and gone.

    This is nothing more than one more form of the most childish and destructive of humankind's many throwback urges: nationalism. And any government that coddles or encourages this nonsense is doing a grave disservice to its people.

  • The U.S. would kill to keep english safe.

    Excuse me? One thing that keeps me confident that the US government has not yet taken leave of its senses is that it has not participated in the language wars.

    In fact, the government produces materials in as many languages as necessary to serve various populations.

    Spanish is rapidly on the rise, and there have been no serious efforts (aside from the occasional redneck crackpot) to check it. This is excellent news: If people want to speak Spanish, let them speak Spanish. If it works out for them, great. If not, they'll have to learn English. It's THEIR choice.

  • The Pequistes who began rewriting French to be free of foreign influence (e.g., the state declared "web" to be, henceforth, "oueb") don't seem to be aware that enforcing the insular nature of Quebec French is the most efficient way they could possibly kill the language. No lingua franca, spoken by a large majority within its region, as is French, ever died because of foreign signage and loan-words.

    Never in all my years have I so wished I could take back all my posts on a topic so that I could instead mod someone else up.

  • I'm pretty far left of centre, but have always been deeply suspicious of "group rights."

    The government of India's system of quotas for various "backward" castes, the dysfunctional kludges that are called the Belgian and Lebanese governments, and the Quebecker's continuing deranged attempt to legislate language, are prime examples of how disastrous these efforts can become. In the US, initiatives of this sort tend to be racially-based, but the bad idea has been tried all over the world for any number of reasons and seems to have failed everywhere. This is probably an indication that we need to achieve fairness by other means.

    Tell me, would the language police shut down an English-language site that called for repeal of the province's law forcing French down its citizens' throats?
  • The byline says "from the welcome-to-the-new-millenium dept". Unfortunately these kinds of things have been going on for decades in Quebec.

    We can all thank Trudeau for a worthless constitution which allows for such nonsense.

    Ryan T. Sammartino

  • "liberal" and "Liberal", and "conservative" and "Conservative" here can be entirely different things

    It's even more confusing than that for outsiders.

    The Federal Liberals are left-centre, whereas the Provincial Liberals in British Columbia (that recently won in a landslide) are quite a ways to the right (relatively speaking... they would be considered centre or so in the US). Provincial Liberals in other provinces are different yet again.

    This kind of "operator overloading" goes on all the time in Canadian politics.

    Ryan T. Sammartino

  • I've lived in Quebec all my life. I am not French. I have hated every single aspect of "our" government since the day I was refused to be allowed into an English highschool. You see, they have something called "Bill 101", basically stating that if neither of your parents went to a French school in their youth, you will have to go to an French school. I fought this, along with a few friends for my senior year. Our current priminister has suggested in the past to force all universities to become FRENCH only. This includes McGill, one of the top universities in the world. Our politicians do not care about the citizens, just their language. For a city to have legal "bilingual" status, it must have 50% MOTHER TONGUE english. This means any immigrants who can't speak french, but can speak english and their own tongue, do not boost up the majority. Damn them and their feeble weak minds. Thankfully everyone, INCLUDING the french, are sick of the "Parti Quebecois", and next election the liberals are practically guaranteed to be in office.
  • by karb (66692) on Wednesday May 23, 2001 @11:44AM (#205335)

    As anybody who has taken intro to linguistics can tell you (that's all I've taken ;) ), one of the primary ways language evolves is by picking up things by other languages.

    One of the other things you learn is that The Man (in whatever form) insists that the language is deteriorating and the world will end if the language changes.

    At the end of the day, the language changes, and the world doesn't end. And the language police (in the U.S., english teachers) pick a new thing and say 'if this changes, the world will end.'

    The only result is that people have a much more difficult time with their lives, because they must learn a different dialect from what they actually speak to be accepted into society.

  • by OmegaDan (101255) on Wednesday May 23, 2001 @11:39AM (#205336) Homepage
    My brother explained to me why the french are so fucked up whacky -- (hes a sociology major) ... Apparently earlier in the century the head of frances education (I realize were not talking about france directly here) was a sociologist with the notion that worshiping religion was really an indirect form of worshiping the state ... so he decided to skip the middleman and teach french children to worship their culture and their state as a religion.

    I can't remember the name of the guy, or probably the entire story correctly -- but I', sure some sociology major is reading this and can get us some info?

  • by rjamestaylor (117847) <rjamestaylor@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @03:35PM (#205337) Journal
    What's the difference between language crimes and religion crimes? What's the difference between the direction Quebec is heading and where the Taliban are [yahoo.com]?

    I understand people wanting to preserve culture (etc.) but at gunpoint? What does this say about Quebec (and France) that they must legislate the use of French? Doesn't that fact alone mean the battle has been lost?

    Ah well. The rantings of an English-speaking American...
    --

  • by kilrogg (119108) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @11:07PM (#205338) Homepage
    "le garage George" was "George's garage" in the 50s.

    There were alot more English speaking people in Quebec back then, 25% throughout the province, and 50% in Montreal. Now it's more like 10%/35%. These laws were brought in place by the French majority with the goal of oppressing the english and encouraging them to leave. And it worked, they have driven hundreds of thousands of english people out of the province over the past 30 years, myself included last year.

    after all, it is the language that the great majority of people in that province speak!

    Spoken like a true oppressor. If we follow your logic, the federal government should pass laws enforcing the use of english since the great majority of people speak English in Canada. Oh what, now you don't think things are fair?

    Now, I still fail to see how insisting that both languages be used somehow hinders your free speech... just speak freely in both languages!

    That is complete utter crap. The provicial government passed laws banning the use of english signs, the law was over ruled in the early 90's when some people complained to the U.N. and the U.N. forced the Quebec governement to change it's laws. That's the only reason english signs are allowed. If the P.Q. fundamentalist had their way, it would even be illegal for english schools to exist.

    It is a simple matter of preventing a strong culture to disappear amidst the mass of american culture surrounding it.

    If a culture is strong, it does not need protection. The English Canadian Culture does quite well without any protection and we are even more exposed to american influence then the french. I still insist on using "colour" and "night", not "color" and "nite"; I like hockey, not basketball (well, technically that's Canadian too); I drink Beer, not watered down horse piss; guns suck, healthcare rulez, etc, etc. How many Canadians do you see wrapping themselves in the American flags saying "Praise the Lord, pass me my gun"?

    There is nothing to it about preventing free speech.

    The U.N dissagreed.

    btw, on the suject of the article, this is not the first time the Language Police has gone after internet sites, the first and most famous case was against microbytes [microbytes.com].

  • by BluedemonX (198949) on Wednesday May 23, 2001 @11:57AM (#205339)
    RE: How many Canadians do you see wrapping themselves in the American flags saying "Praise the Lord, pass me my gun"?

    Me and many other brain-drainers who took Chretien up on his oft-repeated line "hiff you doan like hawl dem tax, den you can leaf for da younited state."

    I'll leave your schizophrenic (Albertan fundamentalists on one side, Quebecois militants on theother), rights-removing, tax-fattened, opportunity starved, falling to pieces by the day socialist paradise.
  • by RareHeintz (244414) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @01:39PM (#205340) Homepage Journal
    What is the French word for "pluralism"?

    Just curious.

    OK,
    - B
    --

  • by MagikSlinger (259969) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @02:56PM (#205341) Homepage Journal

    We can all thank Trudeau for a worthless constitution which allows for such nonsense.

    Ironically, no. Trudeau wanted a Charter of Rights & Freedoms without exceptions. He was dead-set against the "not-withstanding" clause (for our American cousins: it allows Provinces to ignore the Charter anytime they don't want to).

    So who talked him into it?

    Jean Chretien

  • by ryants (310088) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @10:50AM (#205342)
    Tell me, would the language police shut down an English-language site that called for repeal of the province's law forcing French down its citizens' throats?

    They have and will again.

    <sarcarsm> The French language is under constant attack in Quebec and needs to be propped up by Draconion Thought Police or it may vanish forever! Didn't you know? </sarcasm>

    Ryan T. Sammartino

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @02:25PM (#205343)
    I am an advocate of freedom of speach, and I do think the law is silly in this case, but there are more pressing battles to be fought. These people wern't arrested, they wern't censored, and they wern't forced out of buisness.

    I see. As long as you don't force somebody to take down a politically offensive website (where "politically offensive" is defined as "in English" by the Canadian authorities), it isn't censorship. So it wouldn't be censorship to fine a person for saying something "wrong", and eventually bankrupt them.

    Right. Face fine for speaking your mind. That's not censorship.

    Correct me where I'm wrong, but free speech does, to a certain extent, mean "free as in beer". In other words, I don't have to pay the government for the right to speak my mind. And I don't have to pay fines for speaking offensively.

    Yes, the sites can simply place French text on their websites. But goddammit, maybe speaking English is a political statement!

  • by geophile (16995) <jao AT geophile DOT com> on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @12:37PM (#205344) Homepage
    I was at McGill University in Montreal when these absurd laws were passed. The DMCA looks sane in comparison. These language laws specify things like the relative font sizes of English and French signs in various contexts, and whether English is permitted at all. Every so often, these "Tongue Troops" as they were known would do something really spectacular and land on the front page of the regional or national newspapers. For example, there was the time they forced an English language bookstore to replace interior English signs with French ones. Then there was the suggested list of French terms for English words that had polluted French. For example, I think they suggested something like "hambourgeois" to replace "hamburger", which is in common use by everyone. When these laws went into effect, I think I remember reading that the only similar laws existed in Libya.

    So as another poster has mentioned, this is nothing new in Quebec. And driving out (e-) commerce is nothing new. There was a mass exodus of businesses in the last seventies and early eighties from Montreal to Toronto.

  • by screwballicus (313964) on Thursday May 24, 2001 @09:19AM (#205345)
    As a linguistics student, I find the Quebec government's stance not only frustrating, but poorly informed. It's almost comical that, in its attempt to preserve French, Quebec has made its language far less viable for trade by restrictive language laws (where trade has traditionally been the most important vehicle for the survival of non-insular languages) and, furthermore, has begun policing within its own language in the sort of vain attempt that has often led, in the past, to the creation of "vulgar" and "high" varieties of language (e.g., In the creation of Katharevusa [britannica.com] as a "pure" form of Greek, lacking the borrowed vocabulary of Demotic).

    The Pequistes who began rewriting French to be free of foreign influence (e.g., the state declared "web" to be, henceforth, "oueb") don't seem to be aware that enforcing the insular nature of Quebec French is the most efficient way they could possibly kill the language. No lingua franca, spoken by a large majority within its region, as is French, ever died because of foreign signage and loan-words. Take the below sentence, for example:

    "Language is a constantly changing art"

    The only words in that sentence that English didn't borrow from French are "is" and "a". "language, "constant", "change" and "art" are all French loan-words. Similarly, French borrowed them from Latin. The fact that French coexisted with English as a major language of England after the Norman conquest and lent it much of its vocabularly didn't impede English's eventual emergence as a trade language. In fact, becoming a trade language is specifically what saved English. If Quebec French attempts to isolate itself from trade and engineer a linguistic-supremicist "High French", it's sealing its own fate and assuring its demise.

"Consequences, Schmonsequences, as long as I'm rich." -- "Ali Baba Bunny" [1957, Chuck Jones]

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