Separatists for English Unite!

with 34 comments

Pauline Marois’ leadership of the Parti québécois is a first in more ways than one. She is, of course, the first woman to lead a major political party in Québec. She is also the first PQ leader not to be perfectly comfortable speaking English.

René Lévesque spoke English fluently, having grown up in the English-speaking town of New Carlisle and spending the Second World War in Europe with American troops. Although bilingual, neither Robert Bourassa nor Claude Ryan had his ease and fluency in English.

Jacques Parizeau evidently enjoyed using the British English he picked up at the London School of Economics while Robert Bourassa, a Harvard man himself, spoke his English adequately, without any style or apparent pleasure.

Jean Charest raised the Liberal standard considerably, but Lucien Bouchard and Bernard Landry were not impressed. (And I’m pretty sure Charest doesn’t speak Spanish or Latin like Landry!)

At the Federal level, with the notable exception of Pierre-Elliot Trudeau, the Liberal leaders speak even worse English than their provincial counterparts. Jean Chrétien carefully cultivated his non-threatening image with a heavily accented pea soup English while Stéphane Dion has the bookish accent of someone who learned the language by reading, not talking. Their Bloc opponent Gilles Duceppe’s English, while it would’ve been considered mediocre in Québec City, was paradoxically more than good enough by the standards set by Québec federal politicians.

Brian Mulroney and Paul Martin spoke easily in French and English, but they were Anglophones.

The current situation, with Pauline Marois speaking considerably less English than the fluent Jean Charest is the exception, not he norm.

Less English schools, more English in School

Pauline Marois is under attack these days for suggesting that the Québec education system should make sure that all children are functionally bilingual when they graduate from high school. She demanded that English be thought from the first grade on, and even that some form of immersion be created, by teaching geography and history in English, for example.

As expected, the cowardly Right of the independence movement opposed violently the plan. More frighteningly, some intellectual elites, such as author and playwright Victor-Lévy Beaulieu used the T word. Treason.

VLB, as he is known, certainly speaks English. He just published a 1000 page essay on James Joyce, one of the most notoriously difficult writers in the English language. Yet, the knowledge of English has never diminished his commitment to independence or his passion for the French language!

The knowledge of English has never had a negative correlation with support for Québec’s independence or support for the protection of French. Support for independence rises in the Francophone community with education level and income, both of which usually suggest some knowledge of English.

Nor does bilingualism diminish a student’s ability to speak and write in their mother tongue. Many studies have demonstrated that the kids who go through the French-immersion program in the rest of Canada score better in ENGLISH than those who go through the regular program!

The modern independence movement was born in Montreal’s bilingual Francophone intellectual community, inspired by hearing Martin Luther King and Gandhi speak about freedom, justice and liberty, in English!

80% to 90% of young people in Scandinavian countries speak English. Yet, they are still Swedes and Finns, still speak Swedish and Finnish and still play hockey not football. If the Québec school system could properly teach English to Québec’s youth, the English language CEGEPs and universities would not look so attractive to young people who want to practice the language.

By suggesting that the knowledge of English is dangerous for the people, that they are not ready or that it could threaten the integration of immigrants, Pauline Marois’ elitist bilingual opponents like Victor Lévy Beaulieu only managed to demonstrate that speaking English won’t make you smarter either.

(Also published in the Montreal Gazette as Pauline Marois and her problem with English)

Written by angryfrenchguy

February 12, 2008 at 11:12 pm

34 Responses

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  1. Excellent column, AngryFrenchGuy.

    Indeed, it pre-empted a question I was meaning to ask you…but, hey, I think I’ll ask it anyway.

    Your English is not good…it’s perfect!

    Do you feel any less of a Quebecois because of your knowledge of English?

    Tony Kondaks

    February 13, 2008 at 2:39 pm

  2. A few comments on your column:

    Did you know that Jacques Parizeau not only enjoys using British English, he is an anglophile? When Gordon Atkinson was in the National Assembly as an MNA for NDG, Parizeau once asked him if he would take him to a British club in Montreal that Gordon was a member of, which Gordon did.

    When George Bush was in Canada on a visit and was joined by Chretien at a press conference, Bush joked about his own English and how he was always being accused of fracturing the English language. Chretien responded: That’s nothing. They say I can’t speak English OR French!

    Tony Kondaks

    February 13, 2008 at 2:52 pm

  3. Hello AngryFrenchGuy, another angry French guy here (from Ontario- yes indeed people, there are francophones out there too and yes, for the record, I speak both languages fluently and I also support Québec sovereignty). Just to point out, French immersion programs might (somehow, go figure how) help kids learn better English, but I’ll tell you one thing : the vast majority suck at French later on just as much as before (mind you, there are exceptions). A friend of mine is a prime example: the only thing he remembers from French immersion is the phrase “Je suis un ananas”. Yep, he’s gonna go far in life by stating he’s a pineapple… For myself (to satisfy the curious), I spent all my life studying in French schools, even to this day earning my bachelors in French in good ol’ Northern Ontario. Cheers to all.

    Joseph Gagné

    February 13, 2008 at 10:32 pm

  4. Hi,
    I agree with most of your article. However, there is one thing where you are wrong. Your comparaison is not right (votre comparaison est boîteuse) when you write “80% to 90% of young people in Scandinavian countries speak English. Yet, they are still Swedes and Finns, still speak Swedish and Finnish and still play hockey not football.” Because Sweden and Finland are not on a continent where 98% of the population speaks English. The socio-linguistic geography of Europe is not the same as North America. Young English-speaking Swedes and Finns are not likely to get assimilated since there are no large English-speaking population near them (and that most languages in Europe are “balanced” between themselves), whereas if Quebec becomes too bilingual (by institutional bilinguism, for example), there would be a high chance of assimilation in the ocean of north american anglophones. I know, I’m a Québécois with franco-ontarian roots!

    Éric Nolet

    February 14, 2008 at 9:27 pm

  5. But, Eric, AngryFrenchGuy speaks perfect English and has told us that he grew up in an English milieu. Yet I assume that he, personally, does not feel threatened in his identity as a Quebecois.

    So why should OTHER Quebec-francophones be afraid of being around unilingual anglophones?

    Tony Kondaks

    February 15, 2008 at 2:06 am

  6. Hi, My name is Martin Vennard. I work on an international discussion programme on BBC World Service radio called World Have Your Say, and today (Friday 15th) between 1pm and 2pm East Coast Time we are asking who has the right to decide whether a region should become independent? We would like to speak to someone from Québec who can explain why they think it should be independent and someone who thinks the opposite. If you are interested in taking part in the programme please send me your contact numbers ( or call me on +442075570635 and I will call you straight back. Many thanks

    Martin Vennard

    Martin Vennard

    February 15, 2008 at 8:37 am

  7. Congratulations, AngryFrenchGuy, on your piece being published in the Gazette this morning (it also appeared in the online version, which is the version I read).

    Although I had read a few days ago on the blog that your real name is Georges Boulanger, I still think of you automatically as “AngryFrenchGuy” so when I started to read the piece and saw your name I didn’t automatically think it was you. But by the third or fourth paragraph I started to think: this is very familiar; I think I’ve already read this!

    And so it was that I came back here and reread your piece, remembering who you are.

    Again, congratulations, I hope it gives you enough attention to attract more to come and read the blog. As I mentioned to you in our first communication via Facebook, I think it is very valuable to have someone with the separatist point of view express it in English.

    Tony Kondaks

    February 16, 2008 at 9:45 am

  8. this debate on separation will not seem to go away. i don’t like it but that doesn’t mean i can’t get used to it – lord knows i’ve had enough time to learn to like it or lump it.

    btw you can just call me lumpy :)

    not another referendum. please not that again. québec is just getting over it’s last bout of referendumbitis ( an inexplicable condition marked by compulsive threats of economic suicide).

    if – and i say if – there is ever another referendum again – if the wording was something like: on the question of a sovereign and independent québec, do you vote the nation of québec should be partitioned in proportion to votes cast for each side?

    i would vote oui! in a flash.

    don’t laugh – the urban/rural divide argues more and more cogently for the re-establishment of the city state. we could be séparatistes together.

    *oui george, felicitations (re gazette) – in english we affectionately refer to it as the gazoo – but my paper of preference is the national post. big surprise, eh?


    February 16, 2008 at 8:46 pm

  9. I live in small town southern Ontario and decry the lack of French immersion schooling choices for my kids. I feel that learning both of our official languages strengthens the fabric of our country. Besides, English is loaded with vocabulary that finds it’s origin in the French language, leading to a far greater understanding of English as well. Thanks for the nice article. I work as a regional manager in Ontario for a company based in Montreal. I am the only person in the company that isn’t Fluent in French but I am learning!! I try my best to communicate in French when in Quebec or Northern Ontario. I am always amazed by how much patience people have when forced to listen to my pigeon French. My only complaint is that they all too readily turn to their English when they realize that I am more comfortable communicating in it. It makes it very very difficult to learn when I am never challenged. I can learn more French in a day spent in Q.C then a week in Montreal. Sorry to rant…


    February 17, 2008 at 11:57 am

  10. Ryan writes:

    “…English is loaded with vocabulary that finds it’s origin in the French language…”

    Approximately 40% of all English words find their origin in either French or Latin via French.

    Indeed, most of the French influence that prevails in the English language occured as a result of a conquest: the NORMAN conquest of England of 1066. As a result, the language of the British Isles was forever changed.

    The rich, practical, beloved English we know today is what it is by virtue of the influence of a foreign language: FRENCH. And it was because of a conquest.

    Languages change; they mutate; they borrow words from other cultures and languages; they drop words that have been used for centuries; languages evolve, change, and even disappear.

    Like the language of England pre-1066, French in Quebec will evolve and grow. The children of Quebec will learn English as well as Georges Boulanger does. Unilingual anglophones must feel welcome to come to live, work, and love in Quebec and must feel welcome to continue to live, work, and love in unilingual English.

    Yes, Quebec, its language, and its children will be changed, influenced and forever different by the English language. Things will never be the same.

    The reality is: Quebec needs the expertise, investment funds, entrepreneurial skills, manpower and presense of unilingual anglophones from the vast and resource-rich pool of over 300 million unilingual anglophones that, like a sea, surround Quebec.

    Is Quebec a nation or a pretend nation, like Stephen Harper wants it to be? What an insult to call Quebec a nation when what Harper really wants is for Quebec to continue to be a province within Canada, not a real nation.

    This is how grown-ups talk to children that misbehave. This is how grown-ups attempt to placate children: by lying to them. You tell them they are something they aren’t just to get them to behave.

    Well, nations don’t need artificial help for their culture and language (such as Bill 101) and nations don’t need money to help prop them up (like equalization or transfer payments). Real nations exist on their own two feet.

    And a Quebec that aspires to be a real nation needs to attract their fair share of unilingual anglophones to within its borders.

    Like Georges Boulanger, they must not be afraid of “les autres”.

    And if the only way for this to happen is that Quebec must separate, well then, I would rather live in an independent Quebec that respected human rights than in a Quebec within Canada that didn’t.

    In the words of William Johnson:

    “I would rather see a sovereign Quebec that respected freedoms, respected rights, than see a federalistic Quebec that violates freedoms, that puts fanaticism as an instrument of government policy.”

    Tony Kondaks

    February 17, 2008 at 1:42 pm

  11. tony,

    well said.

    ironic no? the current queen’s french is better than the crowned pauline’s english.

    the french longbow was the deciding factor at hastings. and apparently king harry was looking up anxiously when he took an arrow in the eye.

    it has been rumoured that that shakespeare’s famous line –
    “a horse! a horse – my kindom for a horse!”

    me – i’d be happy for a beer at cheval blanc.


    February 18, 2008 at 2:08 am

  12. Ah, but Tony, we have not read/heard of Angryfrenchguy’s level of French. So even though he speaks/write good English, does he speak bad French or “franglais”?? Has assimilation sprouted in him without him knowing about it?? ;-)

    Éric Nolet

    February 18, 2008 at 4:25 pm

  13. Hi,

    All I want to say about all this is, please start by teaching my kids proper french, you know, french they can actually use and write properly in Cegep or University, before even thinking of teaching them a second language.

    I have 4 kids, and they are all bilingual. So am I, and I dare say I have an excellent written and spoken French AND English. I try to teach muy kids the same, because I think it is important for their future. But I will always insist on French first. The reason is simple, and I keep repeating it to them:
    There will be very few to actually master the language in the near future, therefore if you master it, you will be valuable in your work.

    Yes, I have come to believe that French is disappearing slowly, and few people are noticing.

    That’s just my point of view.

    By the way, I just found this blog, and I really appreciate it !!!

    Josée Barrette

    February 18, 2008 at 5:55 pm

  14. Eric: Let’s say we discover that AngryFrenchGuy spoke “Franglais”…would that be a bad thing?

    If “yes”, why?

    And if “yes, do you have a problem with Ebonics,too?

    Tony Kondaks

    February 18, 2008 at 10:27 pm

  15. whew! that was a close one – but it’s settled.

    tempest in a teapot after all – just some disgruntled customer.


    February 18, 2008 at 11:26 pm

  16. Yes, speaking franglais is not a language at all. and it’s been proven that if you speak it, your vocabulary in both languages is quite limited. thus, you can’t really express your ideas properly and clearly.

    Éric Nolet

    February 19, 2008 at 10:59 am

  17. This time, in all due respect, I really cannot agree.

    It is not the Right which opposes more English-French bilingualism inside Quebec, it is the Left. The Right has no problem with it, because the Right does not care about Human Rights, it only about individual rights, specifically their own and not that of Others.

    About Gandhi, it would be a start to read him before categorizing him as a proud bilingual person. In Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule (1908), he wrote:

    Reader: Do I then understand that you do not consider English education necessary for obtaining Home Rule ?

    Editor: My answer is yes and no. To give millions a knowledge of English is to enslave them. The foundation that Macaulay laid of education has enslaved us. I do not suggest that he has any such intention, but that has been the result. Is it not a sad commentary that we should have to speak of Home Rule in a foreign tongue?

    And it is worthy of note that the systems which the Europeans have discarded are the systems in vogue among us. Their learned men continually make changes. We ignorantly adhere to their cast-off systems. They are trying each division to improve its own status. Wales is a small portion of England. Great efforts are being made to revive a knowledge of Welsh among Welshmen. The English Chancellor, Mr. Lloyd George is taking a leading part in the movement to make Welsh children speak Welsh. And what is our condition? We write to each other in faulty English, and from this even our M.A.s are not free; our best thoughts are expressed in English; the proceedings of our Congress are conducted in English; our best newspapers are printed in English. If this state of things continues for a long time, posterity will ? it is my firm opinion ? condemn and curse us.

    It is worth noting that, by receiving English education, we have enslaved the nation. Hypocrisy, tyranny, etc., have increased; English-knowing Indians have not hesitated to cheat and strike terror into the people. Now, if we are doing anything for the people at all, we are paying only a portion of the debt due to them.

    Is it not a painful thing that, if I want to go to a court of justice, I must employ the English language as a medium, that when I become a barrister, I may not speak my mother tongue and that someone else should have to translate to me from my own language? Is not this absolutely absurd? Is it not a sign of slavery? Am I to blame the English for it or myself? It is we, the English-knowing Indians, that have enslaved India. The curse of the nation will rest not upon the English but upon us.

    I have told you that my answer to your last question is both yes and no. I have explained to you why it is yes. I shall now explain why it is no.

    We are so much beset by the disease of civilization, that we cannot altogether do without English-education. Those who have already received it may make good use of it wherever necessary. In our dealings with the English people, in our dealings with our own people, when we can only correspond with them through that language, and for the purpose of knowing how disgusted they (the English) have themselves become with their civilization, we may use or learn English, as the case may be. Those who have studied English will have to teach morality to their progeny through their mother tongue and to teach them another Indian language; but when they have grown up, they may learn English, the ultimate aim being that we should not need it. The object of making money thereby should be eschewed. Even in learning English to such a limited extent we shall have to consider what we should learn through it and what we should not. It will be necessary to know what sciences we should learn. A little thought should show you that immediately we cease to care for English degrees, the rulers will prick up their ears.

    Also, André D’Allemagne, intellectual leader of modern left independentism in Québec, in “Individual Bilingualism and Collective Bilingualism” (1980):

    This leads us to consider bilingualism under its second aspect: as a social fact. A society authentically bilingual would be a society in which two languages would be on an equal footing, provided with the same weight in all sectors of collective life, known and used by the the whole of the population. One can ask if such societies exist but also if they could exist.

    In fact, officially plurilingual societies correspond to States where we find a juxtaposition of unilingual territories or marked by the superiority of one language over the other(s). Such is the case of Switzerland and Belgium, just to mention two frequently cited examples.

    There are however societies that we could call “bilingualized”, in which an aboriginal population or important parts of it are being imposed generalized contact with, knowledge, and use of a foreign language, which lead them to a certain level of bilingualism or polyglossia. Such situations are generally attributable to varied forms of colonialism, or at least domination. I will leave the conclusion to Albert Memmi, who describes the consequences of this situation:

    Equipped with his sole language, the colonized is a stranger in his own country.

    In a colonial context, bilingualism is necessary. It is the condition of any communication, any culture, and any progress.

    […] The command of two languages is not only that of two instruments, it is the participation to two psychic and cultural realms. Now here the two symbolized universes, carried by the two languages, are in conflict: they are those of the colonizer and the colonized.

    Moreover, the mother tongue of the colonized, that which nourishes his sensations, his passions and his dreams, that in which he liberates his tenderness and his amazement, finally that which conceals the greatest affective charge, that one precisely is not valued. In the linguistic conflict which inhabits the colonized, his mother tongue is humiliated, crushed. And this contempt, objectively founded, he ends up making it his own. Of himself, he begins to push away this crippled language, to hide it to the eyes of strangers, to appear at ease only in the language of the colonizer. In short, colonial bilingualism is not a diglossia, where coexist a popular idiom and a language of purists both belonging to the same affective universe, nor simply the richness of the polyglot, who benefits of an additional instrument, one relatively neutral: it is a linguistic drama.” (1)

    This drama, we have been living it day by day for a long time inside Quebec. Whatever we do, and beyond local and provisional arrangements that we may conclude, this drama is that of a society. It is global and its remedy could only be global as well.

    Read the rest here:

    Quebec native francophones, especially those of French-Canadian origin, still exhibit all the signs of a colonized people, perpetually being asked to perform in a language that is not theirs. It is most strikingly visible in the attempt of many of them to speak English while hiding their accent, something speakers of other languages do not do.

    The problem is that there are two linguistic groups whose members believe themselves in their home country inside Quebec. For one of them, giving up their freedom to speak their native language freely inside Quebec means to give it up completely as they are but insignificant minorities on the rest of the continent. Their faith would be that which European powers gave to the Amerindians.

    For the other groups, giving up their freedom to speak their native language freely means speaking their language freely in all American States and 9 out of 10 Canadian provinces, leaving only Quebec where they would have to adopt the behaviour which they daily unconsciously impose to the speakers of all languages other than English.

    The most basic sense of justice makes it clear which human group is in a position to threaten the other.

    Ultimately, when individuals belonging to multiple language groups have full freedom to speak their respective languages on a designated territory, they contribute 1) to keep multiple human languages alive and 2) allow the simultaneous coexistence of distinct human societies exchanging with each other in mutual respect, which is precisely what allows language and cultures to borrow from each other. The alternative is necessarily done at the condition of the violation of the human rights of many individuals.

    Mathieu Gauthier-Pilote

    February 20, 2008 at 12:13 am

  18. To Tony Kondaks:

    “Languages change; they mutate; they borrow words from other cultures and languages; they drop words that have been used for centuries; languages evolve, change, and even disappear.”

    Do you have any idea how close the English language came to be being wiped out from the Earth’s surface? How close English people came to being just a bunch of French citizens with weird-sounding patronyms?

    How well did the English nation stand on its own feet when the Norman controlled to political life of their country following a Conquest? Well, according to Robert de Gloucester, they were not doing so well:

    Þus com, lo, Engelond in-to Normandies hond: And Þe Normans ne couÞe speke Þo bote hor owe speche, And speke French as hii dude atom, and hor children dude also teche, So Þat heiemen of Þis lond, Þat of ho blod come, HoldeÞ alle Þulke speche Þat hii of hom nom: Vor bote a man conne Frenss me telÞ of him lute. Ac lowe men holdeÞ to Engliss, and to hor owe speche-ute. Ich wene Þer ne beÞ in al the world contreyes none Þat ne holdeÞ to hor owe speche, bote Engelond one.

    “And then, England fell into Norman hands. And the Normans knew to speak only their own language and spoke French as they were doing at home, and were teaching it to their children; so much that the noblemen of the country, their descendants, needed only this language they had received from them, because that one who did not know French, was not worth much, but the lower people kept English as their own language.”

    But thanks to God, the brave English kicked the French nobles out, the English nobles took their place, and thus began the period of English history when the English people were oppressed by rulers of their now nationality, which is an awful form of oppression, but not one as degrading as that which comes from being oppressed by foreign rulers who not only steal your property and that of your children or spend your tax money against your interests, but in addition attack your nationality: your language, customs and laws and rob your memory and your soul.

    Honni soit qui mal y pense.

    Mathieu Gauthier-Pilote

    February 20, 2008 at 12:48 am

  19. You might have misunderstood me, Mathieu.

    I was privileged to learn English as a kid, without any memorable effort. I also set out to learn Spanish as an adult and I know how hard it is to learn a language at that age.

    Québec should not be bilingual. Individuals Quebecers should have access to the tools they need to learn other languages as early as possible.

    If it is of use or interesting to them, they will have a base to build on. If not, they will store it in the part of the brain where I myself am storing algebra and trigonometry.


    February 20, 2008 at 11:48 am

  20. I think that Quebec should be bilingual, so long as the rest of Canada makes a genuine effort as well ( and they haven’t). If I, an Ontarion, am required to pay taxes for French road signs on the highways and Biways,for government services to be translated into French even though they are used by only a tiny majority of Ontarions ( Hell, there are more people who speak Mandarin in Ontario then French, why not Mandarin Signs then…?)etc etc… then Quebec should have the same courtesy (especially since they have a sizable english minority of their own in some areas) If French is a strong and living language ( as I am very very sure that it is!!)it will stand on it’s own two feet side by side with English. Those who oppose Bilingualism are sentimentalizing and romanticizing an earlier era of pea soup, habitant toques and homogeneity. If they would only realize how dynamic and evolving language is they wouldn’t stunt it’s development by building high walls around it, so high that it becomes inbred, weak, meaningless and specialized. Just like English was approx 900 years ago when it almost became completely irrelevant through isolation.
    Now tear my argument apart and tell me where I am wrong…


    February 20, 2008 at 4:13 pm

  21. mathieu,

    you neglected to mention the scottish clan stewart. but if you’re really interested in history – try the version of history offered up by andré maurois (de l’academie francaise) – entitled “histoire d’angleterre”. it won’t bolster your emotional revisioning but it’s a fascinating story that leads directly to the corner of ste. catherine and peel.

    oh yeah, let’s have a republic – it’s obvious the parliamentary system is worthless. so repressive and un-democratic. an utterly despicable relic of colonial subjugation.

    totalitarians rewrite history. pol pot had people murdered because they wore glasses. they were considered dangerous to reforms because it signaled that they might be able to read.


    February 20, 2008 at 10:59 pm

  22. ryan,

    can’t tear your argument apart.

    but on your previous post – it’s an easy agreement. more than 70,000 french words were incorporated into the english language. american english has lost much of that beauty but makes up with cute accents.


    February 20, 2008 at 11:07 pm

  23. “Those who oppose Bilingualism are sentimentalizing and romanticizing an earlier era of pea soup, habitant toques and homogeneity.”

    You mean the homogeneity of Ontario with half of Toronto not speaking English as a first language?

    Think about it: there is nothing in having a single common public language preventing pluralism. If in Quebec people had the same liberty to speak French as Ontarians have it to speak English, then Canada would actually become a bi-lingual country. But in the late 1960s, Ottawa rejected the adoption of a sound territorial language policy respecting the needs of French speakers as an artificially created minority constituting a historical numeric majority only in Quebec. Instead, it adopted a cover-up policy which did nothing other than annoy people living in areas of Canada where 99% of the people speak English.

    If you read some French, you can start to explore language policies in 194 independent countries in the world:

    Mathieu Gauthier-Pilote

    February 20, 2008 at 11:35 pm

  24. Your right, Canadian French is a weak and DoDo like language. It has best be protected from the savage “other” languages of the world with reams of jargon filled and mutually exclusive language legislation concocted on a whim by some top heavy bureaucrat dredged from the bowels of some St,Laurence seaway bottom cegep. Lets put it into a little Zoo and call it “Quebec”. Maybe English Canadians (the only ones in the entire world except perhaps “La Francophonie” when they can even understand each…) who come and marvel at this dinosaur of stagnant culture will throw it a peanut from time to time.
    Hopefully the peanut doesn’t knock it over like a rickety storefront facade in an old western, as black and white as the eyes of the language zombies that parade along St Cathrine st late at night, foaming at the lips with every apostrophe that floats into their cataract covered pupils . (sound of deep breath…..aaand exhale…aaaahhhh). I feel better.

    P.S… for those of you who are literalistic, and I suspect many of you are, I am being sarcastic.
    Doesn’t always translate from blind passion into reality.


    February 21, 2008 at 11:35 pm

  25. j’en suis rendu à cette option bizarre après la séparation, le souverainisme, l’indépendentisme, l’autonomiste et même le fédéralisme asymétrique prôné par votre parti, d’être de retour au séparatisme.

    Oui, en tant que “reborn French canadian”, je le dis dans mon blogue et ce n’est pas pour rien que je l’ai intitulé comme cela, il y a un petit côté provocateur mais en même temps naturel puisque je suis dorénavant first and foremost Canadian, je veux me séparer, c’est exact. Je veux me séparer des séparatistes.

    Je veux leur donner un territoire, comme les indiens ont leur réserve. On y plantera des drapeaux fleurdelysés sur ce territoire, on y implantera des lois aussi draconiennes qu’irréalistes anti-anglaises, on y bannira le drapeau canadien, on se fera sa propre armée québecoise, on aura des piastres aux couleurs des patriotes avec la face de René Lévesque dessus et on aura des bureaux de postes de Postes-Québec et l’on ne boira que de la Bleue.

    La question n’est pas de savoir si ça va se faire, je vais participer activement pour que les séparatistes puissent avoir tout ce qu’ils veulent. La question est de savoir quand cela va se faire et quelle grandeur de territoire ils vont réussir à obtenir.

    Logiquement, est-ce que ce nouveau Québec où Paul Piché deviendra ministre de la culture devrait inclure des pans de l’île de Montréal comme Westmount où les gens ont voté non à 95% contre la séparation? On veut le territoire certe tout comme les Mohawks aimeraient bien remettre la main sur Montréal, New Hampshire et le Vermont but that’s not going to happen.

    On devra sérieusement songer à la formule que cette proposition prendra puisque selon moi, ce sera la réponse pour venir à bout de ce débat stérile entre souverainistes durs, mous, mi-durs, mi-mous et fédéralistes durs, mous, mi-durs mi-mous.

    Devra-t-on laisser le choix aux gens de rester Canadien ou de devenir Québecois indépendamment du territoire? Devra-t-on y aller avec une approche comté par comté?

    Une chose est certaine, pourquoi s’entêter à vouloir garder des gens au Canada qui n’ont rien à cirer du Canada si ce n’est qu’un chèque de paye? De la même façon, pourquoi on forcerait des gens à s’intégrer au Québec alors qu’ils désirent demeurer Canadiens? On est pas au temps d’Hitler et de l’Ancheluss après tout, n’est-ce pas?

    Salutations cordiales,

    Tym Machine

    Tym Machine

    February 22, 2008 at 9:05 pm

  26. You don’t know what you are talking about. The impact of the Norman conquest on the English language was relatively marginal. THIS is the consensus view of linguists today. See for example this site.


    February 26, 2008 at 3:47 pm

  27. I am so reassured by the fact that someone who knows what they are talking about has finally arrived.


    February 27, 2008 at 7:44 pm

  28. Thank you Ryan. Although, I only commented on things related to linguistics. That is what I know, including some knowledge of some other things, mostly related to language studies: demographics and so forth. I wouldn’t dream of commenting on things I wouldn’t know about, and when commenting then preferably with a source.

    > Now tear my argument apart and tell me where I am wrong…

    Happy to comply ;-) I noticed you claimed that Mandarin is spoken in Ontario by more people than French. This is false. See the following discussion. Notice that there is a lack of data on some issues, but the conclusions are quite valid.

    Population in Canada about 33 000 000 (2007)

    French speakers in Ontario (2006): 510,240 4.2% of population

    Chinese in Canada

    Chinese languages in Canada (2006), speakers: 1,034,090 3.3% of population

    Three-quarters of the Chinese population reside in Toronto and Vancouver (2001)
    40% in Toronto
    33% in Vancouver
    5% in Montréal
    5% in Calgary
    4% in Edmonton

    872,400 speak Chinese languages
    more than 320,000 Chinese speak Cantonese
    more than 103,200 Chinese speak Mandarin

    I’ll use the afore-mentioned source in the following discussion. As a side note, even that source speaks of Chinese dialects. This is wrong but it is a wide spread myth, the “dialects” Mandarin, Cantonese and others are proper languages. Anyway, this doesn’t affect the argumentation here.

    If one is generous, it might be deduced that half of the Chinese population of Canada lives in Ontario. This presumably applies also to speakers of Chinese languages. Deducing from a population map of Toronto’s Chinese population concentration, about half of the Chinese were born in Hong Kong. Their mother tongue, if one of Chinese languages, is obviously Cantonese. This serves as a check that things in Toronto are about the same as in the whole of Canada.

    Let’s assume that the proportion of the population of Chinese language speakers speaking Mandarin in Ontario is the same as for the whole of Canada, that is 1 out of 9. Let’s round the 2006 Census figure for speakers of Mandarin in the whole of Canada to about 150,000 people. And keeping with the proportions, let’s say that half of them live in Ontario. That is 75,000 people.

    As a conclusion, there are significantly more French speakers than Mandarin speakers in Ontario, 510,240 vrs 75,000. Even if one takes all the people speaking Chinese languages into account, it is debatable that there are more people speaking Chinese languages than French in Ontario, though it is certainly possible.


    February 28, 2008 at 1:22 pm

  29. @Tony Kondaks:

    We have no problems with multiculturalism and being multilingual.

    However, to some like Davidg, we are the racists, the evil English supremacists.

    How stupid can that be. Let’s call it how to turn the truth upside down.

    The worse is that some people actually believe those intolerant separatists who are the real racists to have the ultimate truth.

    How to shade and bend the truth with lies and propaganda.

    It’s useless to talk to them, it’s like talking to empty walls.

    Trying to convince those people of the benefits of English is like trying to convince Hamas or Hezbollah that Israel has the right to exist and live peacefully, it’s against their dogmas and propaganda stories to believe such things.

    Tym Machine

    February 29, 2008 at 4:18 pm

  30. Maybe your right Anonymous. You certainly put allot more effort into the ratios than I did with my emotion based post… Just going by what I see on the street. Not always accurate to be sure. Perception often isn’t. The only places of any numerical significance (not counting Toronto, I have never encountered any one living there in French but I am sure there is a community) in which I have felt even the remotest possible french language usage would have to be Ottawa and Sudbury.


    March 9, 2008 at 12:15 am

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