Quote of le weekend - Macleans.ca

Quote of le weekend


…comes to us from Mireille Silcoff, who points out a crucial (and oft overlooked) political point in Quebec. In a column about weed whackers, no less.

I don’t care what kind of retro-’90s platform the PQ is trying to float again, French people truly hate English less now, and so when they hear you struggling with your French, they flip on their global side and speak to you in English.

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Quote of le weekend

  1. It's a real pain. I wish that the few times I manage to make it to a French part of the country that they would let me practice. I spend half my time in Quebec feeling guilty for not speaking French well enough.

    • I took 12 years of french in Manitoba only to discover they don't speak french in quebec.

      • I'm not the only crazy one!

        • maybe it's something in the water in the peg….

          • I took 13 years of French in Manitoba, and it turns out they do speak French here in Quebec. Go figure.

          • Well more correctly, they speak Quebecois in Quebec and French in France and although they are similar they are definitely not the same.

          • Nice avatar! ;-)

          • LOL Thanks!

    • Perhaps learn how to say, "I want to get better with my French, could you please help me?"

      I know I'd feel flattered. Then again, I'm unilingual, so maybe it's more annoying if you speak both already.

      • On what was supposed to be a three-hour train ride into Zurich a few years ago, this is the arrangement I had with a francophone seat mate. She'd talk to me in English, I'd respond in French. Neither of us was particularly good at the other's language, but we tried.

        I've had the experience that Silcoff speaks of while travelling in Quebec. As an anglophone, I appreciate it, much though I'd like to improve my French.

  2. The main issue I have is that despite french being my mother tongue, my franco-manitoban accent incites all quebeckers to reply back to me in English anyways. Its not that I'm struggling at all. I find it quite insulting.

    • My anglo-manitoban accent will sometimes result in people speaking to me in English, but since my French is generally better than their English, we usually switch back to French pretty quickly.

      On a side note, after a few years in Quebec, the franco-manitoban accent now sounds a bit English to my ears, so I can sort of understand the confusion…

    • As a franco-ontarienne, after many years of being ridiculed by my Québécoise teachers, I am too shy to speak French around anybody except my family unless absolutely necessary.

  3. Really? I'm not usually sympathetic to Quebec's political situation, but if there's concern when they speak English and concern when they don't speak English, then how could you fault them for being irritated?

    • You win. Best analysis of our national schizophrenia ever.

  4. That is a great piece by Silcoff.

  5. French people truly hate English less now, and so when they hear you struggling with your French, they flip on their global side and speak to you in English.

    People generally have been courteous with other people, at all times. A single phone conversation about garden tool repair tells us nothing remotely useful about the stupid generalization that French people in Québec "truly" hate English "less" now than before. Such a stupid generalization requires the stupid prior generalization that "French people hated English more" before. I am not buying either.

    • Has the hate diminished? Has the love increased? Or, has something changed? It's like a love affair, when the love is gone. Money means more than memories — or something like that.

  6. I live in Québec, and I can truly say that the English bashing is more of a joke now than what it used to be. My brother's generation, for example, went to the same school I went to (an english and french school in the same building). When he went in '95 during the referendum, both sides hated each other; fights in the "gravel pit" were an almost daily occurrence. Neither side interacted or partied together. When I graduated four years ago, the captain of the french football team was english, many french players on the english hockey team, we partied together and hung out. You get the occasional unilingual anglo who acts like an ass, and the separatist who's a douche, but many people from my generation (young to mid 20's) are sick of the separatist debate and bashing other people because of their language. Most of the time when "maudit anglais" is stated to an english person, it's meant as a joke. The only reason the PQ is so popular right now is not because of separatism or their hatred of the english, it's because of Jean Charest's dropping popularity. Anybody remember André Boisclair? He got third in the election, and many people complained that his platform was too much sovereignty, not enough policy.

    I really hope for a strong ADQ in the next election to put both the Libs and PQ in their place…

    • Indeed. On my frequent visits to Quebec , my crappy French does not hold me back at all. Charlevoix used to be pretty Franco-Cranky, but the recent influx of tourists seems to have had a moderating influence. The Canadian and US dollars seem to have smoothed out some of the language bumps. I barely recognized La Malbaie last year…the manoir rebuild and the casino have really put the local economy on steroids…