Date: Tue, 11 Mar 1997 09:43:42 CST From: mpicone Subject: Quebec language & law On Tue, 11 Mar 1997 08:13:28 -0500 Christopher R. Coolidge said: > > For an example of failure of language programs, we need to look at my >former home province Quebec and their continued insistence in shoving the >French language down immigrants' throats(including Anglo-Americans; only >English speaking CANADIAN citizens are allowed access to English public >schools). Then they bemoan that immigrants are taking away all the good >jobsa from their children. I mean, who's more marketable; a Vietnamese >immigrant who speaks both English and French(of course he would have >learned English because he's using Quebec as a stepping stone to get into >the States as soon as he can pass the much stricter U.S. immigration >requirements), or a Quebecois who speaks English very badly? And even >though the Office de Language Francais is a black hole that sucks money >and does nothing but bicker about how big foreign languages are allowed to >be on public signs, the Quebec government still throws money at it. You >wonder why I'm impatient about wasting money on programs that don't work. >maybe it's because I've lived in Quebec all those years... The definition of failure shifts as perpsectives shift. From Christopher Coolidge's perspective and other immigrants who want access to English language schooling for their kids, the policy is a failure. From the perspective of the French speaker in Quebec who saw his/her language threatened by the encroaching hegemony of Anglo-dominant infrastructure, this same policy figures into a larger framework of linguistic legislation that has indisputedly strengthened the position of French in Quebec, such that the example of Quebec is cited by Fishman and many others as one of the few cases where language decline has been successfully reversed. Whatever one might think of linguistic legislation, these are the realities, on both sides, that one must take account of if one is interested at looking at the big picture. Personally, I don't understand why anyone would not want to look at it. Mike Picone University of Alabama MPICONE[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UA1VM.UA.EDU