AngryFrenchGuy

Why You Should Vote Bloc and Why I Will Not

with 151 comments

You’re all going to accuse me of being a bourgeois socialist so let’s just make one thing clear right away:

I am. Big time.

I’m from the very bourgeois NDG and given we are exactly the same age, I came just this close to being bourgeois pinup Justin Trudeau’s classmate at the very bourgeois Collège Brébeuf.  In my youth there’s been yacht clubs and brunches at the Hôtel Bonaventure.  I’ve owned plenty of penny loafers and polo shirts.

That said bourgeoisie doesn’t always rhyme with money and I’ve got more working class patches than most of you bitches.  I’ve got a taxi driver’s pocket number and I’ve hauled big rigs all the way down to MS and BC.  I’ve been union. I’ve even been a Teamster.

(Although looking back at my trucking days, cruising in New England in my Volvo, sipping allongés from my in-cab coffee machine and listening to René Homier-Roy on my satellite radio, I have to admit I was still pretty bourgeois…)

As we head into worldwide financial apocalypse, all indicates that on next Tuesday Canadians are going to re-elect a Conservative government determined to avenge the memory of Herbert Hoover, who was kicked out of the White House in 1933 just as his Great Depression action plan of doing absolutely nothing for four years and letting the markets sort themselves out was just about to show some results, or so he said.

Great Britain is about to nationalize British banks and George W. Bush nationalized AIG, Freddie Mac and Fanny May.  It doesn’t matter what your political ideology is or what Stephen Harper thinks about it, this is the new world order.

No other party than the Bloc has as many people who have first hand experience with the Québec tradition of using the state as an economic and financial agent with institutions like la Caisse de Placement et de Dépôt du Québec, Hydro-Québec, la Société Générale de Financement and the like.  No party has as much knowledge on how such institutions work and how they fail.  Conservatives are hostile to government intervention.  The Bloc has people that understand government intervention.

Québec’s Quiet Revolution was Canada’s most wide-ranging, most recent and most successful attempt to use the state to manage and reform an economy.  No other party can claim to represent the legacy of the Quiet Revolution better than the sovereigntists and the Bloc.  The Bloc can’t form the government but we need their knowledge and expertise in Parliament and in the committees.

By definition sovereigntists have not been afraid of overhauling institutions.  At the root of the sovereingtist movement there are people who spent their whole lives taking on corporations for the benefit of people who had no capital and limited power.

The Bloc’s left is not the old left.  More than any other party, even more than the NDP, the sovereingtist movement counts people who have been at the front lines of novel and progressive ways of thinking about the markets and capitalism. Think of Yves Michaud (goolge’s sad translation) and what he’s done for shareholder activism or of Parti québécois vice-president François Rebello and his work for socially responsible investing.

The Bloc can’t make Québec an independent country without another referendum.  You can support the Bloc without supporting sovereignty.  Don’t let your Canadian nationalism stand in the way.

That said, I ain’t voting for the Bloc.

I vote in the riding of Westmount Ville-Marie and in my riding the MP is not chosen by the voters.  It’s chosen by the members of The Party. Over here, as in the Soviet Union and in China, people don’t vote for ideas or candidates, they vote for the colour red. In 2006 the Liberals had an 11 000 vote majority.  In 2004 it was 16 000.

The Conservatives are not a threat here.  Our only hail mary hope for some change is for the riding’s sizable progressives (like myslef) and the handful or separatists (also like myslef) and the enviromentalists (that’s me) unite together like they did in neighboring Outremont and elect the NDP’s Anne Lagacé-Dowson.

In last Wednesday’s Gazette – Montreal’s Anglo newspaper – Lagacé-Dowson and Thomas Mulcair, the NDP MP from Outremont defended their support for a Bloc québécois bill that would’ve extended bill 101’s protection of the right to work in French to the federal service in Québec and to other federally chartered institutions.

“To give you the simplest possible example, a woman working at the Royal Bank doesn’t have the same linguistic rights as her colleague working across the street at the Caisse Populaire”, Mulcair told the Gazette.

He did qualify his support, saying he only wanted to extend the debate to committee, but you can’t deny it takes a serious set of mexican huevos for a pair of Anglos to defend the expansion of the Charter of the French Language in an English newspaper in the middle of an election campaign.

Armchair socialists of the world unite!

Written by angryfrenchguy

October 12, 2008 at 10:46 pm

151 Responses

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  1. Am : «It cannot realistically be considered because it is in the Constitution. There is no political will to change it so you cannot legislate it.
    And if you approach the “Anglo” community to propose it to them, who are you going to speak to?»

    Ok, fair enough.
    This being said, I believe it can be argued convincingly that such a reform would bring benefits to both communities, and to Quebec society as a whole.
    So, even if you’re probably right that, at present, both communities would resist it, I wouldn’t write it off for the future.

    As for who I’d approach ? -Probably Anglo parents who realize increasingly that their their ill-taught offspring are a lot likelier to end up leaving the province, unable to find decent jobs with their limited French skills.

    Raman

    October 20, 2008 at 5:14 pm

  2. “While we’re mincing facts, Acajack, the United Province of Canada (Upper + Lower Canada) replaced Lower Canada in 1841; the province of Quebec dates to 1867. So Montreal has a good 35 years’ head start.”

    Other than to pick dates that suit you out of Wikipedia, you don’t seem to know much about our country’s history.

    Today’s Province of Quebec is the successor state and the direct descendant of the Province of Quebec that was created by the Quebec Act of 1774. The initial boundaries of the Province of Quebec were much larger than today’s, and extended all the way to Minnesota. Over the centuries, the boundaries of the Province of Quebec have changed, both to lop off territory (to create Upper Canada/Ontario, for example) and to enlarge it as well (areas of northern Quebec added in 1898 and 1912.

    (Note the constitutional law in effect at the moment does not allow for the boundaries of Quebec (or any other province) to be changed without the consent of the province’s legislature. It wasn’t always this way, certainly not in colonial times.)

    The Province of Quebec has had a legislative assembly based in Quebec City since 1791-1792. It is one of the oldest parliaments in the Americas.

    You are correct in referring to the 1840 Act of Union that created the Province of Canada between Lower Canada and Upper Canada, but even this arrangement (with present-day Quebec as Canada East and present-day Ontario as Canada West) is part of the legal and historic continuity of the Province of Quebec, what with its capital and seat of legislature alternating between Quebec City, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and even Kingston.

    Acajack

    October 20, 2008 at 5:24 pm

  3. Of course it is, Acajack, just as Montreal is the continuation of Ville-Marie!

    Pray spare yourself the trouble of lecturing me on history.

    holy

    October 20, 2008 at 9:13 pm

  4. Thomas Dean Nordlum:

    “Holy, if the francophones in Montreal are going to die out anyway, why be such a connasse/connard (what gender you are) on this forum and defend the rights of the poor anglophones on the île de Montréal who will eventually “win” anyway and make Montreal that glorious bilingual/or publicly unilingual English city it once was in the 1940s as books “City Unique” suggest when Anglos had more power? I don’t know, you seem silly to me.”

    I didn’t say they were going to die out, I said they will eventually drop below 50%.

    Anyway, obviously I’m not serious about Montreal separating. Call it silly if you please, but it was meant as a reminder that zero-sum politics is a loser for everybody: francophones don’t want to be an inferior minority on the island of Montreal, you say? Well, neither do the anglos want to be treated as that either. Live and let live, I say.

    “Quand l’on parcourt sans la prévention de son pays toutes les formes de gouvernement, l’on ne sait à laquelle se tenir; il y a dans toutes le moins bon et le moins mauvais. Ce qu’il y a de plus raisonnable et de plus sûr, c’est d’estimer celle où l’on est né la meilleure de toutes, et de s’y soumettre.”

    Fortunately, in our case this happens to be an equitable, pluralist society in which anglo rights and the survival of French are admirably balanced. Why anyone would want to change that equilibrium is beyond me.

    holy

    October 20, 2008 at 9:23 pm

  5. “Fortunately, in our case this happens to be an equitable, pluralist society in which anglo rights and the survival of French are admirably balanced. Why anyone would want to change that equilibrium is beyond me.”

    You haven’t seen the assimilation rate of Francophones in Canada lately, have you…

    angryfrenchguy

    October 20, 2008 at 11:23 pm

  6. “You haven’t seen the assimilation rate of Francophones in Canada lately, have you…”

    Francophones in Canada or Francophones in Quebec? I have no idea about the latter (I know the former is quite high indeed), but are you seriously telling me that francophones in Quebec are being assimilated into speaking English? I doubt that very much, but if you’ve got stats by all means share, it might actually change my view.

    The real problem, needless to say, is the birthrate, but that’s one nobody’s seen fit to tackle for a good long while – politically, I mean.

    holy

    October 21, 2008 at 1:05 am

  7. “Acajack,

    You’ve gotta tell me . . .I read your comments very closely and I think they are brilliant. But you’ve gotta tell me, why aren’t you a sovereigntist?”

    Here is why I suspect Acajack is not a sovereignist:
    -I believe he lives in the Gatineau region, where there is a big fear of job losses of federal government employees if Quebec separates
    -I believe he is also Franco-Ontarian, and in a Canada without a Quebec, French and Francophones might lose some of the rights they currently have. They might even cease to be the largest “minority” in the country (not sure about the numbers though)
    -He thinks the current “problems” with respect to Quebec’s relationship with Canada can be solved within the federation.

    AM

    October 21, 2008 at 1:46 am

  8. “Anyway, who cares what francophone Montrealers think? In a decade they’ll be a minority in Montreal and the allos will fight for freedom. Hope you’re still blogging then, angryfrenchguy.”

    You’ve now exposed yourself as an “agent provocateur” more than an ideologue. Fair enough. It does make things interesting.

    Regarding the allos, I wouldn’t count too much on them in the future. More of them are coming from francophone countries and almost all of their kids are going to French schools. So the future for Montreal is way more people like Maka Kotto, Vivian Barbot and Pierre Curzi ragging on dépanneur clerks who don’t seem to have enough of an IQ to learn how to say “bonjour”.

    Acajack

    October 21, 2008 at 8:11 am

  9. “I believe he is also Franco-Ontarian, and in a Canada without a Quebec, French and Francophones might lose some of the rights they currently have. They might even cease to be the largest “minority” in the country (not sure about the numbers though)”

    Good point. In fact, Chinese is already more spoken than French in the ROC. It overtook French a couple of years ago.

    BTW, interesting analysis of the political creature that I am. Not too far off from reality!

    Acajack

    October 21, 2008 at 8:15 am

  10. I see I get no response from angryfrenchguy to his absurd statement that francophones in Quebec are being assimilated.

    That is, of course, the crux of the matter. Take away the danger of assimilation and you take away the whole raison d’être of separatism.

    But of course this blog is one huge exercise in trolling. It’s sole purpose is to enrage anglophones and thereby make casual francophone surfers annoyed.

    Anyone who disputes that is immediately called an “agent provocateur” by such schmucks as Acajack.

    Acajack, please get a life. Writing three or four blog comments a day on the same issue for several years is the sign of complete obsession. That you are not a separatist makes it all the more pathetic.

    holy

    October 21, 2008 at 11:22 am

  11. “Anyone who disputes that is immediately called an “agent provocateur” by such schmucks as Acajack.
    Acajack, please get a life. Writing three or four blog comments a day on the same issue for several years is the sign of complete obsession. That you are not a separatist makes it all the more pathetic.”

    Holy,

    Now that I’ve read your last comment, I take back what I said. I had thought you were a sort of “agent provocateur” (something of a compliment in my book), having some fun here with the frenchies/seppies by provoking them.

    But your latest comment has exposed you for what you truly are: an ideologue. And a humourless one at that.

    So sad.

    Acajack

    October 21, 2008 at 12:17 pm

  12. “Regarding the allos, I wouldn’t count too much on them in the future. More of them are coming from francophone countries and almost all of their kids are going to French schools. So the future for Montreal is way more people like Maka Kotto, Vivian Barbot and Pierre Curzi ragging on dépanneur clerks who don’t seem to have enough of an IQ to learn how to say “bonjour”.”

    And what makes francophone Allos automatically sovereignists?

    Yes, immigration to Quebec is mostly from francophone countries (as Quebec has quite a bit of autonomy when it comes to immigration) and hence is quite different in makeup than in the ROC. Now, since the French, Belgians and the Swiss are unlikely to massively immigrate to Quebec, it is mainly Haiti, the Maghreb and West Africa which is providing the immigrants Acajack mentions. I do wonder whether this trend (a lot of Moroccans and Algerians ie. Muslims) coming over the past few years has anything to do with the whole reasonable accomodation “controversy”.

    AM

    October 21, 2008 at 1:32 pm

  13. This blog seems to suffering from put-words-in-mouth-itis these days. OK, everyone I mentioned (Kotto, Barbot, Curzi) is a sovereignist, so maybe I should have added people like Liza Frulla, who is both a Liberal and a Quebec nationalist of Italian origin. There are many people like her who believe passionately in the continued presence of French without being sovereignists. This group of people, whether sovereignist or federalist, will likely become more and more numerous (via both immigration and schooling in French) in Montreal in the coming years, so you will be confronted with more and more people who might question why the English language has to be so present in the city.

    Note however that I never said that “francophone allos are automatically sovereignists”. That would have been a stupid statement. But the fact that they are already francophone when they arrive here does make them more open to that cause than the groups that were predominant in the waves of immigration that came to Quebec in the 20th century, for example.

    There is also evidence that shows that the “children of Bill 101” (children of immigrants educated in French in Quebec) will exhibit political behaviour similar to that of non-immigrant francophones:
    http://www.obsjeunes.qc.ca/F/veille/Axes/espace/immigration/beaulieu.htm

    This is not surprising of course. Political views aren’t necessarily about bloodlines, but about socialization. Previous waves of immigrants to Quebec were essentially socialized by Anglo-Montreal and its institutions, so they took on the anglo community’s views on the subject as their own. Now that more immigrants are being socialized by the francophone majority, they are increasingly adopting similar views to those of francophones on the issue. This doesn’t mean they’re all going to become sovereignists, but they are now getting both sides of the story. Some will choose one side, some will choose the other. That’s democracy.

    Acajack

    October 21, 2008 at 2:18 pm

  14. “Now that more immigrants are being socialized by the francophone majority, they are increasingly adopting similar views to those of francophones on the issue. This doesn’t mean they’re all going to become sovereignists, but they are now getting both sides of the story. Some will choose one side, some will choose the other. That’s democracy.”

    That is a significant development of the last decades. The fact that there is a growing number of Allophone sovereignists get more media attention, but there is also the fact that many proeminent federalist allophones, people like Liza Frulla and Pablo Rodriguez are also primarly French-speaking and are federalists as Québécois and Francophones.

    I doubt these people are counting the days until French is a minority language in Montreal and ache to “fight for freedom”…

    angryfrenchguy

    October 21, 2008 at 3:59 pm

  15. Holy

    If I rememeber correctly, the rate of “linguistic transfer” of Francophones to English IN Québec was about 1% between the 2001 and 2006 census.

    Not, much, you are going to say? Well considering that francophones are being assimilated in Québec despite what demagogues like you like to portray as ‘radical’ legislation supposedly aimed at wipping out english of Québec, it is very high, I’d say.

    By the way, this is not immigrants switching to English (52% of them do that), this is Franco-French-Francophones.

    angryfrenchguy

    October 21, 2008 at 4:20 pm

  16. And the rate of assimilation of Quebec anglophones to the francophone majority is around 10%.

    In Ontario, the rate of assimilation of francophones to the anglophone majority is around 40%. Except for New Brunswick (around 12 to 15%), all of the other ROC provinces are above 50% (sometimes way above 50) in the assimilation rates of their francophone minorities.

    Acajack

    October 21, 2008 at 5:20 pm

  17. Acajack : « But your latest comment has exposed you for what you truly are: an ideologue. And a humourless one at that. »

    Holy comes here with the only intention of pissing off everybody, berating, making the basest accusations, distorting things in the wildest manner…, and then projecting his/her own shitty attitude onto others. All without any concern for truth, debate or discussion.
    -Picture someone flinging their own feces all around, and then complaining about the smell. That’s Holy.

    The term for this is not ideologue, it’s “troll”.

    (As for being humorless, you’re quite right. As far as trolls go, at least Sergei provided for comic relief.)

    Raman

    October 21, 2008 at 6:42 pm

  18. Well, since my anti-fascism is so unwelcome here (surprise, surprise!), here’s a last link to make a non-partisan who wanders by think twice about where the unfettered paranoia of Raman, angryfrenchguy, and Acajack can lead:

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/22011

    Long live sanity!

    holy

    October 22, 2008 at 3:58 am

  19. …whatever, troll. Got a link for you too:
    http://www.seigneuriedutriton.com/pages-eg/peche.htm

    Égrevisse

    October 22, 2008 at 6:18 am

  20. “Well, since my anti-fascism is so unwelcome here (surprise, surprise!), here’s a last link to make a non-partisan who wanders by think twice about where the unfettered paranoia of Raman, angryfrenchguy, and Acajack can lead:

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/22011

    Long live sanity!”

    So if it get this straight, modern-day Canada is equivalent to the Soviet Union before its collapse?

    I see the article quotes death tolls in the thousands for ethnic purges? Do you have any comparable figures for Quebec, say, for the past hundred years or so?

    Acajack

    October 22, 2008 at 8:20 am

  21. Little rob said :
    « I think that part of the cause of this may lie in the way French is taught to us Anglos in northeastern North America. »

    I stumbled upon an interesting piece of information today. But first, let me give some background.

    -When one tries to teach French to Anglophones in Montreal (I’ve never done it elsewhere), a common problem is that they rarely seem to have a strong basis in English grammar to start with.
    As you all know, learning French requires acquiring grammar rules right from the beginning. And quite a few more of them than for English.

    This, in my experience at least, creates problems when you try to teach and explain basic concepts, even if they have exact equivalents in English grammar.
    -For example, when I start talking about « articles », « subjects vs. objects », « past participles », or « verb auxiliaries », I mostly draw nothing but blank stares from English students.
    And when I point out that those things also exist in English, students very often answer that they never do much grammar in their English classes. (I was even told by an English teacher once, when asking a question about irregular past participles in English : “Oh, that’s a very French way of talking about English grammar…”)

    So when you get to rules that are specific to French, they seem even more alien to English students.

    -Today, I was explaining some French rules to a 7th grade student and, to my surprise, she was all : « Oh yeah, right : Just like in English ! ».
    When I mentioned how surprised I was that she recognized that, she mentioned that in California, where she moved from 1 year ago, they would see “a lot” of English grammar in their class : Much more than she’s ever seen in the 2 schools she’s attended since moving here.

    Of course, this is anecdotal evidence, and I don’t know if the way English is taught in the schools I’ve worked for reflects the situation throughout Montreal or the province. (Though I’ve often heard people say that the English spoken in Quebec is not very good compared with the ROC. But I wouldn’t be able to judge on that.)
    So that got me wondering : Maybe the way students are taught English here makes learning French seem like astrophysics… And maybe that’s partly why Americans who decide to learn French actually do, even though they don’t usually benefit from 6 million French-speaking neighbors.

    I guess I’d be curious to hear what local anglos think about that hypothesis.

    Raman

    October 22, 2008 at 5:35 pm

  22. Raman,

    Blame it on a local variation of “pidgin English”. Sort of a Montréalais version of the English that is today used internationally in conferences, business meetings and youth hostel common rooms that’s been dumbed down enough so that people with only limited fluency can understand.

    In Montreal, even if the most hard-headed unilingual West Islander spends all of his day speaking in English, most of the time it’s actually with people for whom it is a second or third language and whose grasp of the language is imperfect. So whether he knows it or not, their imperfect speech rubs off the West Islander.

    Lots of places in the anglo world have millions of second language speakers (Toronto is a perfect example), but the difference in Montreal is that French* is there as a significant counterweight to English in most peoples’ lives, which reduces the opportunities to perfect one’s English. (Of course, there are notable exceptions like Yann Martel, Trevor Ferguson, etc.) In Toronto on the other hand it’s English-English-English-English all the time, so there’s more constant exposure to it, which in the long run strenghtens the fluency and grammar of even the non-speakers.

    *And the French in Montreal can sometimes be quite colloquial as well for this very same reason.

    Acajack

    October 23, 2008 at 2:48 pm

  23. My point really is not to evaluate the quality of English spoken here. Just thought I might have stumbled upon one of the reasons why, maybe, Anglo-Montrealers seem reluctant to learn and use French.

    I actually went and inquired about this today. According to the 2 English teachers at the school where I was, who have both worked for other Montreal schools and who were themselves schooled here, indeed concepts of English grammar are not covered anymore than is completely necessary. English is taught a lot more through usage and projects than through understanding the laws that govern it.

    Interesting anyway. That fact had never come to my attention.

    Raman

    October 23, 2008 at 5:24 pm

  24. Raman–My sense is that grammar basics (subject/object, imperfect/perfect past tense, etc.) are no longer taught very much in elementary or secondary schools in Anglo North America. To the extent that I know about grammar it is because I studied languages other than English. I was never taught it in English class.

    Whether a return to teaching grammar in elementary school would help anglo students of French is an area I don’t know much about, although I sense that it couldn’t hurt.

    What I meant when I wrote about the way French is taught to us here was that I do not believe that we anglos get enough instruction in the speech patterns of colloquial Québec French; to me, these patterns are very different from European French. The differences appear to me to extend to lexicon, phonology, and syllable stress. I believe there is an unfortunate tendency among both anglos and francos (including my French teachers, all of whom were native speakers) to regard European French as “better” and Québec French as “substandard.” It was this kind of attitude that led my French teachers to ignore colloquial Québec French when they taught me the language, and as a result my comprehension of spoken Québec French is sometimes impaired, much to my chagrin.

    littlerob

    October 23, 2008 at 6:06 pm

  25. littlerob,

    Quebec colloquial French isn’t even taught in Quebec French schools, just as cockney isn’t taught in the UK schools. Its learned on the street not the classroom.

    Dave

    October 23, 2008 at 6:39 pm

  26. Littlerob said : «What I meant when I wrote about the way French is taught to us here was that I do not believe that we anglos get enough instruction in the speech patterns of colloquial Québec French; to me, these patterns are very different from European French. The differences appear to me to extend to lexicon, phonology, and syllable stress. I believe there is an unfortunate tendency among both anglos and francos (including my French teachers, all of whom were native speakers) to regard European French as “better” and Québec French as “substandard.” It was this kind of attitude that led my French teachers to ignore colloquial Québec French when they taught me the language, and as a result my comprehension of spoken Québec French is sometimes impaired, much to my chagrin.»

    Thanks for the input.

    I understand what you’re saying. And, obviously, if French is taught here using only references from Paris, pupils are in for a surprise.
    -Incidentally, I’d heard similar stories from people who’d learned French in Western provinces, in immersion classes (where their trudeauist parents had sent them to become better Canadians). One girl from Calgary in particular told me how shocked she was, when she finally came to Quebec, to discover our degraded French and degraded culture, compared to what she’d come to expect from her classes… Brilliant.

    I couldn’t tell if French-as-a-2nd-language teachers regard Quebec French as substandard. If that’s your experience, then that’s bad news.
    The fact is that someone who’d learn textbook French would be completely lost having conversations with common folks in Paris or Marseille, just as they will be here.

    And I wouldn’t say the French we learn here is that different from the one taught over there. But that becomes apparent when people write, or when they start speaking more formally. Obviously, accents and colloquial expressions do differ. But they also do between different areas of France.

    In any case, you are definitely right to suggest that French in Quebec should be taught using Quebec textbooks, using Quebec references, and as much as possible by people with a Quebec accent. That is taught in a way to get pupils functional here, and as a way to get them to discover the culture.

    I know when I teach, I don’t try to speak with a Parisian accent, I often use colloquial terms, and often underline how Québécois speech patterns differ from the normative rules that I show them. For example making them conjugate the verb “Enfirouapper” (I really do), explaining that we replace “Y” for “Il” when speaking, or that we usually cut out that de “ne” from “ne pas”.
    I guess my goal is to get them to be able to make sense from what they’ll hear on the street.

    Raman

    October 23, 2008 at 7:24 pm

  27. Funny blog post I just came accross. Certainly related to this discussion:

    “There are two official languages called “French” and “English”. Neither bears more than a passing resemblance to the original European versions.

    There are 52 letters in the Canadian English alphabet. Two of them are “d’s”, none of them are “t’s” and 26 of them are “r’s”. It is unacceptable to enunciate the letter “t” in Canada.”

    http://blog.blightys.com/2008/10/definitive-british-visitors-guide-to.html

    angryfrenchguy

    October 23, 2008 at 9:31 pm

  28. Dave–At the risk of sounding like a souverainiste, I think that colloquial Québec French is more apposite with, say, colloquial Australian or New Zealand (or for that matter Canadian) English than with Cockney; that is, a national variety of a world language spoken in a large territory by the descendants of settlers from the country where the language originated and by others, including natives, who have been acculturated to the language.

    If there is a difference between QF and any of the varieties of English that I named, I suggest that it is that QF suffers more critiques from amateur linquists, both anglo and franco, than any national variety of English. Raman’s student from Calgary would be one example of this, and one of my French teachers was, alas, another.

    littlerob

    October 25, 2008 at 4:47 pm

  29. I mentioned before living in Asia. A contract I had over there was helping army officers prepare for exchange programs with the USA army. The latter provided the lesson books.
    Those books were brilliant, and probably the most efficient language-learning manuals I’ve ever come across in terms of getting people ready to be functional in a foreign language.

    One thing they would systematically do is get the students to practice pronunciation every way, from completely formally to street speech patterns.

    Thus, for a sentence such as «Would you happen to have them ?» ,students also got to practice repeating : «Wouldja happen t’ have ’em ?». All without a care for trying to mimic the Queen’s English, nor any shame about it.

    Maybe I should find myself a copy of those books and design a version for Quebec French.

    Raman

    October 26, 2008 at 5:22 pm

  30. Raman,
    I’d buy your book.
    As a transplanted NY Yankee, the hardest thing for me about Montreal life is the accent. People here respond to my French in one of two ways: switching to English (which is a real slap in the face) or by asking me when I’m returning to France.

    Têtes-à-claque is the closest thing I have to a real language primer! Any suggestions?

    Edward

    November 30, 2008 at 2:41 pm


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