At this very moment I should be working on my SSHRC application. More about those another time.
So last night I’m at a bar with a bunch of other young faculty in Montreal (it’s a thing here, very cool) and I meet another American who just moved to Canada. Like me, he’s fascinated with the language politics stuff as well. And like me, he’s been reading about it and asking people about it. Unlike me, he’s already completely gone off the deep end. And by deep end I mean “militant anglo” (is that a position?). Well, he’s had a few drinks (probably) and may be overstating things for the sport of argument, so cut him some slack. But it was a new one for me. His reasoning goes like this: Canada is a bilingual country, but Quebec is a monolingual province. Everything has to be in French here, English signs must be smaller than French ones, and there are language police (this is true — though from a survey of signs I’d say they’re pretty lax). The provincial government generally only offers forms in French. Now, I have been looking at it as “my problem” as in, I’d better get to learning French, then. He sees it as a matter of oppression: our right to operate in English is being violated. His evidence was that the UN has sanctioned Quebec for international human rights violations. “Do a google search on united nations, quebec, and human rights violantions and you’ll see.” I wish I’d asked him what he thought of the situation of Spanish-speakers in the US, who mostly are required to operate in English. But it didn’t occur to me.
His point is well-taken with forms and the like, but I wonder about about the bilingualism of the country in fact, as opposed to in law. For Tuesday night’s World Cup of Hockey championship, for instance, the anthem was all in English. I thought that was weird, since at least here at sporting events, you get the truly odd (for a monolinnguial American) experience of some French and some English. Sure enough, the Globe and Mail had a letter to the editor the next day complaining about that fact. And of course, there’s the example of the Francophone speaker in an Anglo province I mentioned in a previous entry.
Ah well, as they say at the end of bad social science artices, “further research is needed.”
In other news, today’s business section tells me there’s lots of hand wringing about how Ford will sell monster trucks cum SUVs to Canadian men now that there might not be a hockey season. Something tells me that we don’t have to worry for Ford. . . .
Okay, back to thinking about digital audio.