French/English question

Nov 6th, 2002, 10:39 PM
  #1  
Jeffrey
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French/English question

My wife and I love Canada and have made four visits there from Rhode Island over the past 3 years. We have a question that maybe someone here can answer for us. On our trip to Alberta and British Columbia, we noticed that all food packaging (and some other signage) is in both English and French, despite the fact that we didn't notice anyone speaking French on our entire trip. On our trip through Quebec, we noticed that there were few English signs, menus were often only in French and much food packaging was in French only despite the fact that there were many English speaking locals and tourists. Why the discrepancy?
 
Nov 7th, 2002, 03:48 AM
  #2  
Daniel Williams
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Food packaging in Quebec is in English and French on the whole; this is required by Canadian law and explains why food packaging is this way across the country. The only items in Quebec that might not be are imports from France possibly.

Quebec is about 82% French-speaking and the government passed Bill 101 in Quebec requiring signage to be in French (with a few exceptions). Most signs, except on federal parks/buildings, in the rest of Canada, will be in English, reflecting the population's principal language.

DAN
 
Nov 7th, 2002, 04:33 AM
  #3  
Louis
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Jeffrey: I don't know what packages you have been looking at. All packaging must be (and is) bilingual by law across Canada.

 
Nov 7th, 2002, 09:48 AM
  #4  
xxx
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Jeffrey, this language issue goes deep into Canadian history. Canada, with the exception of Quebec (maybe New Brunswick) is largely Anglophone, but since the late 60's-70's, Canada has been "officially bilingual." At the same time, Quebec has been governed by strong French nationalists (even Liberal party premiers) who like to appease French sovereignists. There are language laws such as bill 101 that prohibit having English signs the same size as French ones and many store owners in MTL won't even put up English signs because of the dreadful Office de la Langue Francaise or as we Anglos like to call it: the Language police. At the same time however, I have never seen only-French packaging on food in supermarkets but I agree that Montreal may not be user friendly for those who do not speak french.
 
Nov 14th, 2002, 10:19 AM
  #5  
Brian
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I wouldn't say that, Montreal has alot of English roots. Montreal's technically french but a large segment of the population is english. Jeff, language is, always has been, a serious issue in Canada and has spawned quite a few serious problems. You'll get differing views on language in the west and in eastern Ontario and Quebec.
 
Nov 14th, 2002, 01:52 PM
  #6  
Mrs. Hyacinth Bucket ("bu-kay")
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I ordered "toast" while in Montreal, and rather than bring me egg-battered bread, griddled, with maple syrup, all they brought me were 2 slices from the toaster. What gives?
 
Nov 14th, 2002, 02:02 PM
  #7  
Richard Bucket ("bucket")
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Now Hyacinth, remember I told you it's because they don't really speak french in Montreal.
 
Nov 14th, 2002, 02:36 PM
  #8  
r-travels
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Mr & Mrs Bucket, Bouquet, Bukay, whatever-

LOL Great posts, would be even better on the $CN vs $US thread.
 
Nov 14th, 2002, 02:40 PM
  #9  
Louis
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Hyacinth:

Just like in Paris, a slice of bread out of the toaster is called a toast in Montreal.

What you are describing is "pain doré", or what Americans call "French Toast".

Also remember that "French fries" are not called "frites françaises" in Montreal or Paris, but just "frites" the "pommes", being implied.
 

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