OQLF Admits More People In Montreal Are Saying "Bonjour/Hi" Than Ever Before Even Though They're Not Supposed To

The Quebec National Assembly asked store operators to stop saying "Hi" in 2017.
Senior Editor
OQLF Admits More People In Montreal Are Saying "Bonjour/Hi" Than Ever Before Even Though They're Not Supposed To

The Office québécois de la langue français (OQLF), often called the Quebec "language police," released the findings of a report on the status of the French language in the province. La Presse reports that greetings in French only in commerical establishments are becoming less common, though they still make up the majority at 75%.

English-only and bilingual welcomes, meanwhile, have become more common in Montreal since 2010, making up 17% and 8% of greetings, respectively.

This trend is in defiance of politicians who have called for the famous bilingual "Bonjour/Hi" to disappear. According to CTV News, Parti Québécois members are on record calling the greeting "irritating."

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The increasing popularity of "Bonjour/Hi" also flouts a motion passed in the Quebec National Assembly in 2017 that called on store operators to cease using English when welcoming customers, according to CTV.

Still, in 96% of cases,La Presse continues, customers may still be served in French.

[rebelmouse-image 26893524 photo_credit="Photo 123419953 \u00a9 Alexey Sk - Dreamstime.com" expand=1 original_size="1200x798"] Photo 123419953 © Alexey Sk - Dreamstime.com

This news is likely to provoke mixed reactions. While many treasure the bilingual atmosphere of Montreal, many say that the popular greeting encroaches on the security of the French language.

To be clear, it is right and critical that the government of Quebec and OQLF enforce measures to protect the French language. On a continent where the English language is dominant, French will always need policy initiatives to preserve and promote it.

[rebelmouse-image 26893525 photo_credit="ID 79266960 \u00a9 Michel Bussieres | Dreamstime.com" expand=1 original_size="1200x800"] ID 79266960 © Michel Bussieres | Dreamstime.com

Montreal politicians have long defended "Bonjour/Hi," though it is unclear whether this new information from the OQLF will spur municipal leaders to take action to stop its advance.

Stay tuned.

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Thomas MacDonald
Senior Editor
Thomas MacDonald is a Senior Editor for MTL Blog focused on Montreal public transit and is based in Montreal, Quebec.
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