Date: Wed, 6 Sep 1995 17:01:24 -0400

From: "Christopher R. Coolidge" ccoolidg[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MOOSE.UVM.EDU

Subject: Re: English-only

To all you alarmists out there, declaring one obviously predominantly spo-

ken language the "official" language of a country does not mean the kiss of

death for other languages spoken in that country. It merely officially states

what's self-evident. On the other hand, I am strongly against language ever

becoming a legal question; you only have to look at Quebec, where you prac-

tically need a law degree specialising in language law to understand the le-

gal ramifications of displaying a public sign in English in Quebec. In a nut-

shell, an English sign can be posted indoors(in a store, for example)if ac-

companied by a French translation where the letters are at least twice as big

as those in the English print; outdoors, a sign may be displayed in French

along with any other, but only one other language. This could be Chinese,

English, Italian, Cree, Inuit...There are many exceptions depending on the

size of the store or establishment. The only place where English and French

get equal treatment is in federal government buildings; in provincial go-

vernment buildings, everything's in French, with English translations

available on request.

Gee, don't we have it good down here? So what if we have an official lan-

guage. The official language of Holland is Dutch, in Norway it's Norwegian,

and so on. There are other languages spoken besides the predominant langu-

age in any country. Try granting official status to the several thousand

different dialects and languages in India, ALL of them, and see what hap-

pens. Chaos. Those who want to keep a language alive will never let it die.

We don't need governments legislating language.