And j'ai realisé that there were no bilingual publications à Montréal, which means there were never aucun bilingual articles. So j'ai décidé d'écrire the world's first article bilingue that you could read without stopping to think.
Let's see si tu peux lire this text seamlessly.
I grew up dans une maison where both mes parents spoke en Français, however they put me in une école anglaise when I was very young. According to language laws I had to go to French school, but I guess la loi didn't apply pour l'école maternelle.
Since j'avais seulement trois ans, my brain was comme une éponge, so I was fully bilingual by the time I started grade one.
It was un grand avantage growing up à Montreal. When I went to French school I wasn't le meilleur élève, mais I always had amazing grades dans mes cours d'Anglais which was a nice bonus.
It was also très pratique quand you're watching a movie with French dialogue et que t'as pas besoin de lire les sous-titres.
What was vraiment intéressant was when my inside voice a commencé à penser en Anglais. Je me rappelle pas when it happened exactly, but I remember being triste about it. I enjoyed being bilingual, and tout à coup I couldn't control it anymore. Whenever j'étais tout seul, I would think in English. And aujourd'hui when I try to think in French it's actually très difficile.
It's one of the plusieurs problèmes of being bilingue à Montreal.
En voici a few more:
You become un traducteur for the unilingual people dans ton groupe. Now t'es coincé à traduire all the French menus. I'm sorry, I have no idea what une "tête de violon" is and I don't plan on finding out.
Je ne peux plus spell words anymore, knowing deux langues has really messed up my spell checking abilities. Est-ce-qu'on dit "centre" or "center", I never know anymore.
Living à Montréal, tu pick up beaucoup d'expressions québécoises that don't mean shit to anyone else. I remember the struggle of asking where the dépanneur is in the U.S., parce que j'ai soudainement oublié comment dire "convenience store."
Des fois there's the same word in French et en Anglais but they have totally different meanings. If you order an entrée in French you'll get salad, mais en Anglais you'll get un steak. If you want a "petite bite" of something, dis le pas en Français because you just requested a "little penis" instead of a "small bite."
The Language Debate
Si t'es tanné of the language debate, think about how bored bilingual Montrealers are of this topic. Pour nous it's meaningless, we don't struggle to read or talk so to us it just looks comme un groupe de dumbasses arguing over rien.
Being an asshole par erreur
Being bilingual means you have une responsabilité to remember qui parle quelle langue. Parce que you don't want to be rude and leave anyone out of la conversation. Il y a trois différents doormen in my building, two are French and one speaks English, et je me rappelle jamais c'est lequel.
I always worry about losing mon Français. Tous mes amis speak in English so I parle pas en Français as often as I used to. Des fois I find myself not remembering the French word for something. Ça veut dire qu'il faut que je pratique both languages constantly to make sure I don't forget one of them.
Montreal's mayor wants to hear less about the Charter and more about Montreal during the provincial elections.
Coderre told La Presse he "doesn't want to talk about the Charter for 35 days," and would like the potential premiers to address municipal issues that directly affect Montreal.
Many of Quebec's mayors feel the same way, and are calling for more taxation powers from the provincial government. Seeing as how the financing system for cities hasn't changed since the 80s, maybe it is time for an overhaul of municipal powers.
Coderre elaborated his stance, saying how major cities in Quebec aren't "simply creatures of the provinces. [Cities have] an economic role, a social role, [and one of ] integration."
I'm inclined to agree with Coderre's statements. While the Charter is definitely a serious topic, it doesn't address economic issues. Given that Montreal is in a steady economic decline, we need a premier who is going to help out our city.
Should the needs of Quebec's cities come before the Charter?
For more Montreal news bits, follow Michael on Twitter @MDAlimonte
No more 'bonjour-hi' if the PQ wins the upcoming election.
Anglophones and allophones won't like Montreal too much if the PQ wins a majority in the upcoming provincial elections. If they win, the PQ plans to crack the whip and enforce much tougher language laws in Montreal.
Diane de Courcy, the minister in charge of Quebec's French Language Charter, vowed to remove any sense of bilingualism in Montreal and throughout Quebec, as she stated in francization programs held by the Conseil du patronat, and later reported in the Gazette.
De Courcy can be quoted saying that bilingualism in an "unacceptable slide," and the PQ government will make it their mission to resurrect Bill 14(not just let it go as previously thought), even going as far as not to let Montreal sales reps say "Bonjour-Hi." I'm glad the PQ will be targeting the real issues of the city.
De Courcy also went as far to say that "Montreal is not a bilingual city." I think the mass amount of French and English speakers in Montreal would disagree.
Let's also not forget that 81% of Quebecers say that Montreal is bilingual, 69% of Quebecers say that Montreal should be bilingual, and 85% believe Montreal benefits economically from being bilingual. Seems like de Courcy and the PQ aren't truly in touch with the province's sentiments regarding Montreal's bilingualism, and are just acting as they see fit.
Montrealers give their unbiased opinion on the city's multiculturalism.
Montreal is spoken of as a 'bilingual city,' but what do the citizens of Montreal actually think? The Francophones, Anglophones, and Allophones (people whose native language is neither English or French) who live in Montreal obviously have a much better grasp on how bilingual and multicultural Montreal really is. MBA research conducted a study last monthand asked Montrealers of all demographics how they feel about the level of bilingualism and multiculturalism in the city. The results, while overall positive, did show the conflicting views between Montreal's different language-demographics.
The Big Warm and Fuzzy Picture
As a whole, the study found that Montrealer's have a positive outlook on the city's bilingualism. Major points include:
81% of Quebecers say that Montreal is bilingual
69% of Quebecers say that Montreal should be bilingual
76% of Quebecers believe Montreal benefits socially and 85% believe Montreal benefits economicallly
Great stuff, we all love each other and our languages, positive points specifically highlighted on the study's infographic. A closer look, however, shows some discrepancies among certain populations.
Should Montreal Be Bilingual
Let's take a closer look at the stats of the 69% of Quebecers. Unsurprisingly, 97.1% of Anglophones and 80.5% of Allophones strongly agreed that Montreal should be bilingual. Only 65.7% of Francophones agreed, with far less strongly agreeing. This is still a majority of Francophones, but when compared to like minded Anglophones and Allophones, the desire for Montreal to remain a bilingual city is not nearly as positive in comparison.
Is Montreal A Welcoming City?
When asked whether Montreal is a city open to all people of the world, Anglophone and Francophones strongly agreed that Montreal is, with over 90% agreeing. Allophones, however, have a different view. 77.3% of Allophones agreed Montreal is welcoming to other cultures, a majority, but still nearly 20% less of an agreement. People with native languages that aren't French and English have a different perspective on how 'welcoming' Montreal is, as the city does have a French and English focus.
The same results are again seen when people were asked whether Montreal is a city that houses immigrants from around the world. While 90.4% of Francophones agreed, only 73.9% of Allophones responded positively, nearly 20% less.
Should the City Promote French?
Delving into specific languages, the study asked whether French, English, or bilingualism should be promoted in Montreal. 65.8% of Francophones responded French should be given a definite focus...with 0% of Anglophones and Allophones agreeing. Both did agree that bilingualism should be promoted (Anglophones at 76.4%, Allophones at 96.7%), with a fraction of Francophones (33%) also agreeing.
What the Rest of Canada Thinks of Montreal
Taking the survey outside of Quebec, citizens from across Canada were asked the same questions about Montreal. In comparison with the rest of the world, the rest of Canada actually has a poorer perception on Montreal's bilingualism and multiculturalism. Here are some findings:
Quebecers born in the Rest of Canada vs. Quebecers born in the Rest Of the World
16% said Montreal is not a bilingual city vs. 17.7%
32.3% said Montreal doesn't house varied immigrants vs. 8.1%
28% said Montreal isn't a welcoming city vs. 12.8%
We're Not QUITE So Bilingual
A lot of these numbers and percentages were pretty similar, and the study did show how a majority of Montrealers do have a positive outlook on the multicultural and bilingual aspects of the city. That's a good thing. But you can't ignore the differences in responses.
Francophones and Anglophones were much more positive as a whole on the bilingual aspects of Montreal, and Montreal's openness to other cultures. Allophones, not having the traditional base of French or English, the dominant languages of Montreal, have a different outlook on the city. Allophones, as a majority, perceive Montreal in a positive light, but do have a less positive perspective on the city.
Rather than just showcase the positive aspects of Montreal, this study should be used to point out the discrepancies among demographics, and the steps the city needs to take to ensure people of all languages feel comfortable in Montreal.
What do you guys think about the level of acceptance and multiculturalism in Montreal? Were the findings a shock, or no surprise at all? Should Montreal strive to aid Allophones, or focus on French? Give us your opinion in the comments below.