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Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
« Reply #180 on: October 12, 2019, 07:32 »
Oh - one addition to the "French language existence threatened in Quebec" topic. As I recall, the public rhetoric/discourse on the topic was very much along the lines of "the existence of spoken French is under threat" - from the Francophone side, of course.

That is an on-going piece of emotional rhetoric that gets put out almost constantly ... even though there is no statistical or social evidence to support it - but I can understand why you'd think that it is true if you were told it.
It is hard enough to decode what is true and false in the language debate living here, let alone for someone "passing through", as you'd have done!!!

Statements about French being under threat these days are largely the preserve of:
- the ultra-conservative rural areas (you know the places - the one's where folks never travel out of their little bubble ... but still "know" enough about the wide world to "know" that they don't want to go there!)
- the St Jean Baptiste Society - an ultra separatist group, whose (largely geriatric) membership is literally dying off at a rate of knots!
- school teachers' unions - which is more about job security
- the CAQ - the provincial government - in a cynical approach to scalp votes off the PQ (separatist party). I wont go into the whys of the strategy - as that'd involve much too much explanation of provincial politics.

Most Francophones in the province want their children to learn English. (Actually, most Franco kids want to learn English too - they've effectively brought their parents to the same position in the time that I've lived here.) They see the value that being bilingual gives them in Canada and as a strong part of Canada's international focus (business and government). They also see absolutely no threat to their culture or native language from that happening. Politicians generally lack the courage to act on this desire as it goes against an ostensible (if not actual) foundation of Quebec society.
(BTW - interesting fact, a disappointingly large number of Anglo parents have no desire for their kids to learn French. They are actually more threatened by bilingualism than the average Franco ...)

Language as a marker of social identity is an interesting topic, ay?!   :D
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