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Quebecois French – Does Quebec’s Linguistic Policy Threaten English Language Dominance?
Home Reference & Education Language
By: Charlene Lacandazo Email Article
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There are many varieties of the French language spoken around the world, such as the different kinds of French used in Europe, in Africa, or North America. One of the most predominant French languages used in the world is Quebec French.

The influence of such a large population of French origin in the province of Quebec in Canada has caused the the French language to be massively used in government, media, and education in Quebec. Due to the vital status of this language, Canada is defining the Quebec French language as the official language of the province in accordance with the language bills that have been issued in the country, especially those connected to Bill 101.

Since 1951 until early 1990’s the number of French native speakers in Quebec has been approximately 83%, and until today, Quebec French is massively used in Canada, and is being recognized as one major languages of the country.

Although Quebec is obliged to provide English services to people, French consumers of goods and services have the right to be informed and served in the French language as well. In addition, over the years, due to the dominance of the English language in the world, many people, including French immigrants have come to believe that Bill 101 is not really effective in preserving the native tongue of the French immigrants in Canada especially in Quebec. People apparently believe that eradicating or ignoring the linguistic use of Quebec French has no negative effect on the country and the culture of its people.

What is the difference between the Quebec French language and other varieties of French that exist in the world? What do you think would have happened to Quebecois French if Canada did not impose the Bill 101?

The French that is spoken in Quebec is very different from all other varieties of French that are used in the world. Quebecois French is still French and not a Creole language; most probably a French speaker may have difficulties with the accent or local expressions, but he or she should immediately understand without facing great surprise and hardship during the entire interaction.

Quebecois French is spoken with peculiarities of pronunciation, expression, and idioms, some of which evolve from different varieties of the French language. In addition, every language will go through a phase of change and development, and as Quebec French evolves on a foreign soil, it penetrates and adopts different linguistic backgrounds from immigrants that speak different varieties of the French language.

Language policy in Canada is designed as an effort to preserve the country’s identity and promote its culture and language. However, Quebec’s language policy seems likely to have a negative effect on the power of the English language primarily in Montreal and Quebec province, where the English language is definitely dominated by the Quebecois French.

However, whether with or without Bill 101, experts and the Canadian people believe that when a language needs legislation for survival, it has somehow given itself a handicap by showing that it is not as competitive as other languages.

Charlene Lacandazo is proudly writing for Rosetta Translation, a Paris translation services provider specialising in professional French translation services.

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