AngryFrenchGuy

The Definitive Guide to Switching Between French and English in Québec

with 266 comments

bilingual Montreal

At the Dépanneur, the Caisse Populaire and waiting in line at the SAAQ

In business situations, there is one rule and it is the same as anywhere else in the world:  The customer is always right.

The Good Faith Clause:  For months I had to visit the Royal Victoria Hospital twice a week to se a physiotherapist and an occupational therapist.  Both were English-speaking.  The Ocupational therapist always greeted me in French, apologized profusely for not speaking it better, and tried really hard.  The physio greeted me in English and made no effort to find out my preference.  I eventually asked the Occupational Therapist if we could speak English.  She had been very respectful and made a sincere effort but my English was better than her French and we mutually agreed that the communication would be easier in English.  Because the physio never made an effort, neither did I.  I only spoke French with her and she eventually had to deal with it.

At the Yacht club, Bingo and your local chapter of the Bilderberg group

When speaking to Montreal Anglos in social situations, I always speak French.  The Anglo usually responds in one of three ways:

French: The Anglo answers in fluent French and that’s that.

Franglais: The Anglo responds in a half French/half English bastard tongue.  I can understand him/her, so it’s cool.  I, however, stick with French.  Franglais is great for Hip Hop lyrics but I have no inclination to trade my ability to converse in two of the world’s greatest international language for the regional creole of Federal government secretaries.

English:  My fellow conversationalist answers in English, I respond in French, he continues in English.  We both understand each other, we are both speaking the language of our choice.  All is good.

The rules above are exactly the same for Anglo-Québécois addressing Francophones.

How to avoid being labelled a Maudit Anglais if you don’t speak French

French-speaker in Québec have very high expectation for their Anglo neighbors.  They’ve been telling us they are fluently bilingual for three decades now and, get this, we believe them.  That is why some visitors to Montreal and Québec sometimes faced with an aggressive response when speaking English.  To avoid this use accents and dress like a tourist.  If you can pull off a British or Australian accent people will not expect you to be able to speak French.

Sri Lankans, Philipinos, Canadians and other Immigrants

There are two schools of thought concerning the proper way to communicate with our new countrymen and women.

The pseudo-cosmopolitans: They believe that everyone who is not from Québec speaks English and that they are ‘helping’ immigrants by communicating with them in English.  This school of thought is very widespread in Québec City and other places that have little to no contact with actual immigrants.

The AngryFrenchGuys: We assume immigrants are just like real people and would appreciate to understand the social conventions of their new home as soon as possible, therefore we only speak French with them.

The Switch

English-speaking visitors to Québec frustrated by the Switch – the habit of Francophones of switching to English as soon as they hear the slightest hint of an accent your speech – should refer to the rules above.  The Francophone can switch to English if he wants to, but who is forcing YOU to switch with him or her?  Just keep on speaking French!  That or pretend to be a German tourist.

These are the rules.  Put them on the fridge.  Carry them in your wallet.  Now you know.

Written by angryfrenchguy

January 4, 2009 at 6:05 pm

266 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. I had never heard of Bill 101 until arriving here, and I consider myself reasonably well-educated. I could count myself among the few Americans who knew who Paul Martin was (Jean Chrétien was somehow better known). I doubt many Americans have heard of the “language police”, and most, like me, would sincerely disbelieve its existence at first. I believe that it plays a relatively minor role these days outside of political debates.

    In fact I have not heard a peep out of the OLF since arriving here. Mario Dumont has waxed and waned on language populism during that time — all I can say is thank goodness he was all talk about action but no action about talk.

    I was curious about such things and set out to buy a copy of Mordechai Richler’s “Oh Canada, O Quebec” and succeeded in finding an old used copy in the basement of a used book store. Ironically it was in French translation, but that just made it more amusing.

    Things have certainly changed since his day.

    Edward

    January 13, 2009 at 10:55 pm

  2. Uhhh… Acajack,

    Thanks so much dude, for “outing” my I.Q.

    But then again, maybe 70 ain’t that bad! Thanks, man!

    > the kidnapping/release of Ingrid Betancourt or the antics of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe. For better or for worse, Bill 101 is part of Canadian lore, right alongside PEI potatoes, Alberta oil, Newfoundland fishermen, etc. <

    NOW THAT’S MORE LIKE IT! nice and warm and fuzzy as GCL says.

    When Cbc signs off the TV they pass over all of Canada and when they get past the Pacific surf, the Rockies, the nodding donkeys, the wheat fields, northern sheild, CN tower, and Peace Tower, they can sweep down on a delicious old scrolled parchment with 101 at the top with Marché Bon Secours as a back drop or maybe l’Assemblée Nationale, pis les homards du Golf et de l’Atlantique. Pouf! L’émission est finie pour la journée!

    bruce

    January 13, 2009 at 11:00 pm

  3. Oops! I forgot to mention that the kidnapping/Magabe part is just more wild-eyed over the top hyperbole!

    The messing of images there is well… frappante!

    Now how I had intended to put things.

    bruce

    January 13, 2009 at 11:03 pm

  4. Acajack:

    I make a wild and unfounded accusation (first time was 8 jan 7:29). You (eventually) deny it rationally. I say your denial is evidence of your guilt. Like a witchhunt.

    The Monty Python thing is from the witchtrial scene in Quest for the Holy Grail. They “deduce” that witches burn because they’re made of wood.

    Knight: “So how can we know if she’s a witch?”

    Peasants: “Build a bridge out of her!”

    If I remember right, there’s talk first of throwing her into a pond to see if she’ll float (because wood floats), but that gets dismissed as a silly idea and they decide instead to see if she weighs as much as a duck (since they also float).

    Speaking of silly ideas…

    Guess my little joke fell flat. No, you aren’t thick. My bad.

    I thought you’d get it because I had assumed you’d been the target of a separatist witchhunt before, being (like me) a Franco-Ontarian who has (as you’ve put it in the past) moved over to the “dark side” of looking at things from a Quebec perspective.

    I sincerely apologize if I offended you in any way. It wasn’t my intention.

    gcl

    January 13, 2009 at 11:03 pm

  5. Kriss! Tabernac!

    Calvaire de calice de hostie! ‘Mugabe’, The ‘meshing’ of images!

    Calice de tabernak de pouderie de c’t’hiver icitte!. Ça y est! Quelle journée j’ai eu!

    bruce

    January 13, 2009 at 11:07 pm

  6. It’s a fair cop.

    Edward

    January 13, 2009 at 11:15 pm

  7. @Edward,

    Oh Canada, Ô Québec …. the O should have a circonflex little ‘hat’ to evoke the ‘epic’, as in une épopée.

    Don’t you agree?

    More rhetorical and “evocative” that way! I don’t know how Callahan did it of course. But that’s how it was in the Ode to Papineau.

    GCL, Acajack, Monty Python: — you three really do crack me up.

    Talk about subtle…….. This is like the annual cryptic crosswork, the highest level in advanced decoding.

    Bonsoir, tout le monde.

    bruce

    January 13, 2009 at 11:16 pm

  8. Edward:

    “I doubt many Americans have heard of the “language police”, and most, like me, would sincerely disbelieve its existence at first.”

    I think that’s aimed at Acajack’s general claim that people in many countries he’s been to have heard of Quebec’s language laws, but just in case it was in reference to what I said to Bruce…

    I never suggested Americans would be familiar with the notion of a “language police” in Quebec. I suggested Bruce pose as one because it’s easy enough for Canadians to pose as Americans and precisely because Americans wouldn’t be aware of certain things that are specific to Canadian culture, and might ask about them.

    If you’re game for this kind of thing, try it yourself. The next time you visit the ROC, let people know you’re from the US without filling them in on the Quebec part of your bio. Tell them you heard something once about something called the “language police” and ask them what that’s all about. See how many people just look at you blankly with no idea what you are talking about and how many people tell you about these laws in Quebec banning English signs and people going around with tape measuring letters and fining store owners. I’d also be curious to know how many take a stance of solidarity with Quebec over it vs. how many distance themselves. Bruce seems to believe that most Canadians won’t even know what you are talking about or may even defend Quebec from that sort of slander. I disagree.

    “I have not heard a peep out of the OLF since arriving here”

    Out of the OLF, no. But if you were around last year, you probably heard a peep or two out of McKibbin’s.

    “I was curious about such things…”

    What piqued your curiosity?

    “…and set out to buy a copy of Mordechai Richler’s “Oh Canada, O Quebec” and succeeded in finding an old used copy in the basement of a used book store”

    I imagine there are plenty of used copies lying around in the basements of used book stores. Sold pretty well.

    gcl

    January 14, 2009 at 12:07 am

  9. GCL:
    I suspect you are correct about most Canadians knowing about the “language police”, certainly I heard about it pretty soon after arriving here.

    The Richler book was part of my Canadian “apprenticeship”, my attempt to get up to speed in the local culture of which Richler is big part, at least for English speaking Montreal.

    I figured it would be an intellectual discourse, which it sort of was. (half analysis, half diatribe).

    In fact it was hard to find. You can’t just go buy it in Archambault, and I only know of one English used book store.
    I found it in a great little store on Boul St. Denis next to another polelmic from the 1970s that I am sure you would find especially interesting proclaiming that the attempts to make both French and English official languages of Canada was a plot to exclude Anglophones from positions of political power since obviously only Francophones were bilingual.

    Real eye opening stuff for me. A glimpse into a history and set of attitudes that has nearly (but not entirely) faded away over the years.

    Edward

    January 14, 2009 at 12:46 am

  10. Hadn’t followed the McKibbins story.
    What nonsense! Once you’re drunk enough, English sounds just like French and vice versa.

    If nothing else, beer and the Habs should be sacred and off limits to local politics.

    Edward

    January 14, 2009 at 12:54 am

  11. Bruce:

    “We read the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail in ROC at least the Ontario part. We listen to CBC.”

    This is the age of the Internet, Bruce. You aren’t the only one here with access to those news sources. I read the Globe almost every bloody day, I check the CBC website fairly frequently, and the Star occasionally. You seem to be under the common delusion that while news sources preferred by other people may be hotbeds of bias and soft propaganda, the news sources you turn to simply tell it like it is. You’re wrong.

    “People who have influence, make policy and lead opinion do not listen to trash phone-in radio!”

    I don’t listen to trash phone-in radio either, so I don’t know what is said on there. I honestly couldn’t name a single trash talk show in Canada. I’m talking about major Canadian media outlets and well-known, well-respected Canadian public intellectuals and journalists.

    “I have not read in Globe and Mail or Toronto Star or heard on CBC the words ‘nuthouse’, xenophobic, hicks, ungrateful, crypto-fascist”

    For the love of God, man… Of course you haven’t. I’m not claiming that Canadian media is filled with crass rants. I’m saying that it paints an overall negative image of Quebec based on certain stereotypes of Quebecers. And, actually, if you’ve never heard or read the word “xenophobic” in stories about Quebec, you haven’t been paying attention.

    “columns by Rheal Seguin, Lysanne Gagnon, Andre Pratt, Chantal Hebert, and a Vietnam Québecois, Tu Vuh…”

    You mean Tu Thanh Ha. I know who these writers are and I often read their articles as well. You read those articles and consider them fair, balanced, and open-minded discussions of what is happening in Quebec because they appear in the Globe or the Star. I look at the information they decide to present and how they decide to present it and I see a pattern that paints an overall negative image of Quebec based on certain stereotypes of Quebecers. The only exception, in my opinion, is Hébert. And while Pratte is a good writer, if he isn’t a federalist hack, then I don’t know who is.

    “Maybe you find these word in columns in the Gazette by William Johnson.”

    The Globe obviously feels that Mr. Johnson’s opinions meet their high standards when it comes to commenting on Quebec. Try typing his name into their search engine.

    “GCL, you are far too susceptible to your own “propaganda’ about what we are like in Ontario!”

    You forget that I spent most of my life in Ontario. My opinions are based on a lifetime of experience and observation, not on anything I want to convince myself of. In fact, for most of my life, I thought Ontario and Canada were pretty much the way you describe them, and I didn’t change my mind overnight.

    “We are the ones next to you guys, and we’re not as obsessed as you think we are”

    You must have skipped over this part of my post: “No one is suggesting that Canadians spend their time obsessing over Quebec’s language laws. ROCers don’t generally give Quebec any more thought than Quebecers do to Newfoundland.”

    gcl

    January 14, 2009 at 1:21 am

  12. Edward:

    “another polelmic from the 1970s that I am sure you would find especially interesting ”

    Oh my God! You found a copy of “Bilingual Today, French Tomorrow”! I would run over my own French grandmother to get my hands on a copy of that!

    “You can’t just go buy it in Archambault”

    Did you try Chapters?

    “A glimpse into a history and set of attitudes that has nearly (but not entirely) faded away over the years.”

    It’s still there, Edward. Things have quieted down, but it remain just below the surface.

    All right. That’s it for me. I’m moving on to the next thread.

    gcl

    January 14, 2009 at 1:30 am

  13. @GCL,

    in regard to your ‘suggestive call to engagement’ to Edward and to myself:

    PROVOCATEUR! Que vous êtes!

    I know your sly game, buddy boy!

    Maybe I will disguise myself as “Rick Mercer’s American Cousin’ and go poll 20 random people after all.

    “Un tiens que tu as, vaut mieux que deux tu l’auras”

    This way I can also find out who has heard of Rick Mercer, (or his American cousin for that matter… which latter I doubt somehow.)

    En tout cas, j’appuye personelment le projet de loi 101, but calling it the “language police” by (MONTREAL) anglo media is just appalling …

    …it’s simply cultural policy, somewhat like the Académie française, (which at the spoken oral level people can ignore with impunity if they wish… and at the written level in littérature, bien sûr,… c’est le peuple qui décide comment parler au bout du cours.

    … and at the retail, commercial, signage, and business etc. levels, where the OLF operates, well these are by-laws ….

    Do the Crime and pay the Fine!

    And that’s exactly how Rick’s American cousin will put it, to anyone who:
    a) knows anything about it, and b) expresses any displeasure.

    À propos, EDWARD, sorry about the Callahan/Richter chassé croisé! I haven’t really read either author, other than I saw the movie of Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. You’re such an impressive and cultured young fellow! Really!

    bruce

    January 14, 2009 at 1:46 am

  14. gcl:
    > Also, I’m afraid I’m right about French Canadians and their attitude
    > toward Quebec. Good on you (and most Quebecers) for not paying
    > really attention or caring much, but believe me, the general
    > attitude is fairly negative.

    Well, you’re a former Franco-Ontarian so I guess you’re describing something you’ve seen, but in my own experiences with Franco-Ontarians, their attitude toward Quebec isn’t really negative. Of course, they don’t know much about Quebec either, but that’s par for the course for residents of the rest of Canada, whatever their first language. (Even francophone Ottawans don’t seem to be all that aware of this other world across the river, less so than francophone Gatinois, but that doesn’t mean they’re close-minded about it. I think my Franco-Ontarian friend has learned a bit about Quebec by spending time with me.)

    bruce:
    > What makes you think that a Non would entail a hard line No more
    > Mr. Nice Guy response?

    Acajack is totally right here. Like him, I don’t want a third referendum, but if it ever happens (unlikely, but we never know) I’ll almost certainly vote Yes. I cannot predict exactly how the rest of Canada would react to a third referendum defeat, but right now many Canadians already have the idea that this whole sovereignty idea is just a charade to extract money from hard-working Canadians and that Quebecers don’t really want to separate (and know that they’d become a third world country if they did). Can you imagine what they would think if there was a third separation scare that amounted to nothing? Not only would it lead to a Quebec-bashing wave like you’ve never seen, with extremely severe attacks on our moral character, but, as Acajack says, it would also destroy our credibility and all our bargaining power.

    Acajack:
    > I am not a politician, however I do think that the powers Quebec needs
    > to protect its unique character should be self-defined by
    > Quebec, rather than by the Canadian polity as a whole. This is the
    > way it happens in a place like Switzerland. Of course, as we saw
    > during the Meech debacle, a lot of people in the ROC don’t trust
    > Quebec and perceive it to be a kind of tinpot dictatorship, which
    > is why stuff like the “distinct society” is impossible to sell
    > Canada-wide. My point is (and it is shared by most in Quebec) that it
    > shouldn’t even have to be sold Canada-wide.

    Well said. Though I would also agree with a more thoroughly decentralized Canada. If Canadians think Quebec is a “province like any other” and refuse to allow any special devolution of powers to it, then let’s just allow any province that wants it the right to take these powers. So there’s nothing “special” about it or any “distinct society”. Alberta can be of some help in this, since they’re Canada’s other “rogue” province that wants powers the other provinces don’t necessarily care about.

    In reference to your “tinpot dictatorship” comment, I do wonder why Canadians feel the need to save us from ourselves. They don’t seem to like or trust us all that much, even though they barely know us, but then they’ll turn around and cry all their tears about how Quebec is important to their Canada. It’s interesting. It may be changing, though: many Canadians, especially in the West, don’t care very much about Quebec and don’t feel any burden to “save” it from its own population.

    > I am not really sure that that’s what he was saying, but to answer
    > your question anyway…

    Right. Acajack lives in Quebec now, and I think he’s quite aware of the nature and culture of Quebec, so I don’t feel that he is a foreigner or different from me. But then again I probably wouldn’t consider someone who’s born in Cameroon but who’s lived in Quebec for years and integrated well to be all that different from me either.

    > Hence attitudes such as those of Marc (who is probably fairly young) who
    > make a very clear distinction between Québécois and francophones from the ROC.

    I am 26. You may be on to something here. Remember that it’s only recently, maybe 40 years ago or so, that francophone Quebec society “split” from the French-Canadian minority and started evolving separately as a majority culture. So yes, older Quebecers and older French-Canadians outside of Quebec will be likely to share a similar culture, while younger French-Canadians outside Quebec will be more attuned to English Canadian culture.

    Antonio:
    > How does this jive with the fact that ROC is hostile to the coalition
    > precisely because the separatisss Bloc is involved while the majority of
    > Quebecers are happy with the coalition?

    This is not quite accurate. Most left-leaning Canadians (NDPers and some Liberals) are in favour of the coalition, while most right-leaning Canadians (mostly Conservative supporters) are against it. The reasons for this should be obvious.

    Stephen Harper has tried to play the “separatisss” card to attack the coalition’s legitimacy, and he has succeeded to a certain degree, but what most people disapprove of is the fact that the Bloc is committed to supporting policies that favour Quebec and not Canada as a whole. So having them unofficially as part of the coalition means that an eventual coalition government might pass policies that disfavour most of Canada just because they favour Quebec.

    To be honest, this is sort of a valid concern. The Bloc does support policies that it sees as good for Canada as a whole, but for the most part it is all about Quebec, or at least this is how it’s seen in the rest of the country. I’d like to see the Bloc morph into an actual provincial rights party that fights for a reduction of the federal government and that actually tries to be a part of an eventual government instead of a perpetual opposition, and I believe that if this had happened, there would be much less opposition to the coalition. Then again, since a lot of this opposition is due to Conservative supporters who do not want to lose power, maybe not.

    Marc

    January 14, 2009 at 2:12 am

  15. GCL “I make a wild and unfounded accusation (first time was 8 jan 7:29). You (eventually) deny it rationally. I say your denial is evidence of your guilt. Like a witchhunt.
    The Monty Python thing is from the witchtrial scene in Quest for the Holy Grail. They “deduce” that witches burn because they’re made of wood.
    Knight: “So how can we know if she’s a witch?”
    Peasants: “Build a bridge out of her!”
    If I remember right, there’s talk first of throwing her into a pond to see if she’ll float (because wood floats), but that gets dismissed as a silly idea and they decide instead to see if she weighs as much as a duck (since they also float).
    Speaking of silly ideas…
    Guess my little joke fell flat. No, you aren’t thick. My bad.
    I thought you’d get it because I had assumed you’d been the target of a separatist witchhunt before, being (like me) a Franco-Ontarian who has (as you’ve put it in the past) moved over to the “dark side” of looking at things from a Quebec perspective.
    I sincerely apologize if I offended you in any way. It wasn’t my intention.”

    Guess your Monty Python culture is much more expansive than mine!

    Offended? Me? Naaah. I am more than used to it. As you said, I get it both in Ontario (like you) and also now in Quebec where I have some PQ friends who like to have fun by trying to win me over to their side.

    Acajack

    January 14, 2009 at 9:53 am

  16. Bruce:

    Any use of hyperbole by me was totally inadvertent. It was late and I was trying to use examples of “issues” in far-away countries that people who usually follow the news around the world would likely be aware of. So I picked Ingrid Betancourt and Robert Mugabe off the top of my head. Maybe not the best choice I admit. In no way was I equating Quebec’s language policies with FARC guerilla warfare in Colombia or tyrannical corruption in Zimbabwe.

    That said, I still maintain that most learned, news-avid (without being total news junkies) people around the world would be aware there there is a language “issue” in Quebec (and by extension, in Canada) that involves French and English.

    Heck, almost all of them would have at least heard of the independence movement and especially the 1995 referendum. If it’s not language they think of, what would they think the Quebec independence movement is based on? The colour of margarine?

    So they may be short on specifics, but it’s certainly in peoples’ minds and people know language is key to the issue here. I am not talking about your average Joe Schmo here, but of reasonably educated people. I base this view on numerous travels around the world where I’ve met lots of people of all stripes.

    Within Canada however, I continue to maintain that even Joe Schmo has a vague idea that the presence of French is somehow legally “enforced” in Quebec. Once again, they may be short on details but it’s as common Canadian knowledge as the fact that the Montreal Canadiens are the country’s most storied hockey team or that Toronto has the CN Tower.

    Acajack

    January 14, 2009 at 10:08 am

  17. “You forget that I spent most of my life in Ontario. My opinions are based on a lifetime of experience and observation, not on anything I want to convince myself of. In fact, for most of my life, I thought Ontario and Canada were pretty much the way you describe them, and I didn’t change my mind overnight.”

    GCL! You could be my (evil! ;-))) separatist twin! I was even going to refer to “Bilingual Today, French Tomorrow” until I read your post on it at 1:30 am!

    No disrepect to Bruce (whom I value very much as a thoughtful, knowledgeable and respectful interlocutor) intended, but I too saw things in those terms for the longest time. In my youth I was even one of those Captain Canada types (you know, dressed all in red with the Canadian flag worn as a cape in downtown Ottawa on July 1). Although my views have changed relatively slowly, going to university in English in Ontario with people from across Canada really opened my eyes to a lot of things, as did travelling to many countries big and small.

    And my views still continue to evolve. As we say in French, seuls les imbéciles ne changent jamais d’avis!

    Acajack

    January 14, 2009 at 10:19 am

  18. Marc “Acajack is totally right here. Like him, I don’t want a third referendum, but if it ever happens (unlikely, but we never know) I’ll almost certainly vote Yes. I cannot predict exactly how the rest of Canada would react to a third referendum defeat, but right now many Canadians already have the idea that this whole sovereignty idea is just a charade to extract money from hard-working Canadians and that Quebecers don’t really want to separate (and know that they’d become a third world country if they did). Can you imagine what they would think if there was a third separation scare that amounted to nothing? Not only would it lead to a Quebec-bashing wave like you’ve never seen, with extremely severe attacks on our moral character, but, as Acajack says, it would also destroy our credibility and all our bargaining power.”

    And to be fair to people in the ROC, each separation scare from Quebec does cause a not-insignificant degree of disruption, from effects on the value of the Canadian dollar, interest rates and foreign investments, to damage to Canada’s international image as a land of peace, order and good government that suddenly appears to the world as a hopelessly dysfunctional family.

    Acajack

    January 14, 2009 at 10:24 am

  19. […] The Definitive Guide to Switching Between French and English in … […]

  20. Je ne sais pas si vous me souvenez, j’ai envoye un courriel depuis quelques mois… Je suis australienne et j’etudierai a l’Universite Laval pour cette annee. Je suis arrive a Quebec (a Ste-Foy) le mercredi dernier et jusqu’ici, je l’aime!!

    I, too, have experienced shopkeepers switching to English, but I would prefer it if they spoke French. I can understand French well if it is spoken a little slower than normal (I was taught France French, so I’m still getting used to the accent). The other day I was in a shop and was passed on to an english-speaking shop assistant, but her English was halting and I could understand French, if, as I’ve mentioned, it was spoken a little bit slowly. Yet, she pushed on in her halted English, so I just kept going with my French. Still, it would have been easier for her to say what she wanted to say in French.

    Whatevs.

    Bernadette Cajigal

    January 15, 2009 at 10:48 pm

  21. Oh yeah, I am Australian-Filipino (not Philipino). That’s the accepted spelling. I thought you would appreciate the correction, because you know, knowledge and moving forward and that sort of thing. =)

    Bernadette Cajigal

    January 15, 2009 at 10:50 pm

  22. Bienvenue Bernadette. Filipino-Philipino… But not the Filipines… I thought English was the logical language!!!

    angryfrenchguy

    January 15, 2009 at 11:05 pm

  23. Haha, no. English is such a stupid language.

    Bernadette Cajigal

    January 16, 2009 at 10:47 am

  24. Latin, there is a logical language.

    Bernadette Cajigal

    January 16, 2009 at 10:48 am

  25. “English is such a stupid language”
    With all due respect, Bernadette, one of the main reasons English is so stupid is because of the Normans. It would be little different from Danish or Dutch if not for England having been conquered by the French.

    In fact that is why it is such a beautiful language, just like a complex lover. Simplicity and cold logic have no passion.

    @AFG,
    Chinese is the most logical language on Earth. No verb tenses, no masculine/feminine, not even singular/plural. And it turns out that you need none of these to carry on a perfectly reasonable conversation, or to write poetry or philosophy.

    The writing system seems a bit nonsensical, but imagine if French and English (despite having entirely different vocabularies and pronunciations) were written identically. That is the beauty of a character based writing system. Chinese has as many dialects as Europe has languages, but they can all communicate in writing!

    Edward

    January 16, 2009 at 11:10 am

  26. Bernadette. I see you were just being modest.
    I leapt before I looked.

    Bonne courage avec vos études!

    Edward

    January 16, 2009 at 11:25 am

  27. Bernadette,
    I probably should stop making assumptions about you, but shouldn’t that be Australian-Filipina?

    @Edward,
    It’s Bon courage, you silly American. Now go away before I taunt you another time!

    Edward

    January 16, 2009 at 11:39 am

  28. The reference to the influence of Norman on English reminds me of something I stumbled onto on Wikipedia once.

    Check out their entry on Law French. I don’t know if anyone else will find it funny, but I cried laughing the first time I read the example they provide.

    Here’s a taste:

    “que puis son condemnation ject un Brickbat a le dit Justice, que narrowly mist”

    gcl

    January 16, 2009 at 11:51 am

  29. Edward, you pedant. Filipino is the generally accepted term. Like how in French, if there are guys and girls in a group, you’d use ils (and its relative congugations and agreements). I’m less for the distinction between males and females and more for speaking as groups regardless of gender. Because you know, gender is a construct (please let’s not bring back memories of high school english).

    Bernadette Cajigal

    January 16, 2009 at 11:30 pm

  30. Guilty as charged. I’ve spent 24 years of my life formally enrolled in school, so it’s hopelessly intermingled with my core being.

    Sure gender is a construct, but so is language!

    And I’m all for the distinction between males and females at the right time and place. Vive la difference!

    Edward

    January 17, 2009 at 9:57 am


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: