Quebec Battles "Franglais"

Quebec Battles “Franglais”

The Wall Street Journal reported that French-speaking Quebec is fretting over the creep of English slang words into French discourse.

Language is a hot button issue in Quebec, which twice has flirted with secession from majority English-speaking Canada. French is the official language of Quebec’s government, education, courts, and commerce; however, provincial authorities are alarmed over what they perceive as a waning of French language use in homes and workplaces.

A specific concern is the creep of “Franglais.” This is the mixing of French with English slang. Many longtime residents of Montreal readily admit to using “Franglais” these days.

“People find it spicy and delightful,” a Montreal journalist observed. “It’s survival of the best words, as far as I am concerned.”

Quebec’s government has passed several laws further requiring citizens to conduct daily life and business strictly in French. For example, many contracts must be written in French to be legally binding. Most government services are only offered in French, with a few exceptions made for tourists or certain classes of “historical anglophones.”

Food and drink are also a part of the French-English language issue. A pub manager in Quebec recently had to provide a French translation of the slogan, “It’s a lovely day for a Guinness,” and then had to post the translation next to a Guinness poster featuring toucans balancing beer glasses on their beaks.

Even Kentucky Fried Chicken is not immune from the language battle. If one is looking for KFC in Quebec, then one must search for “PFK” – that is “Poulet Frit Kentucky.” We assume that it is still “Finger Lickin’ Good” in Quebec, be it in French, English, or “Franglais.”