Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Just Another Day at the OQLF

"Viewed freely, the English language is the accretion and growth of every dialect, race, and range of time, and is both the free and compacted composition of all." -- Walt Whitman

After seeing the latest news story about the ridiculous behaviour of the Quebec separatists:


I decided to amuse myself by writing a tongue-in-cheek letter to anyone who might be considering a visit to our fair province.

Welcome to Quebec, a province steeped in history and natural wonder. From the Chaudiere River and the Plains of Abraham to the Montreal International Jazz Festival and Bonsecours Market, there is something to interest everyone.

However, it's advised that you learn a few words of French before your arrival. For almost 40 years the Quebec government has been protecting its people's French language from the encroachment of English. As a result, the use of English within the Quebec borders is strictly controlled.

All outdoor signage is in French, and if you happen to see signs with English letters, the English letters are half the size of the French ones. Any business with more than 50 employees uses French in the workplace. Immigrants and people without a special exemption attend school in French.

And that's not all. Quebec has its own special police force to ensure that these language freedoms are being maintained. Italian restaurants seem to be particularly favoured targets; recent cases involved the words "Pasta" and "Caffe".

Some employees of the public transit system in Montreal have shown their loyalty to Quebec by refusing to serve customers who speak English. Supporters of a recently-tabled amendment to strengthen the language laws were quoted as saying that anyone who can't ask for a Metro ticket in French should walk.

Tourists are welcome to visit. But if you don't know French, perhaps it's best to not speak at all.

By the way, the phrase you need to buy a Metro ticket is:
Puis-je acheter un billet de métro, s'il vous plaît?

1 comment:

  1. Oh Canada, Oh Quebec! My once fluent French has become so rusty that I'd barely dare to visit. Tant pis, j'aimerais vister la Belle Province.