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  1. Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Hear+that+anglo/2557359/story.html#ixzz0fTOymy7v This was a fairly interesting article. It's true that Italian, Jewish, and British anglophone Montrealers tend to speak differently. Being the latter, I tend to find that I don't have any accent whatsoever (in fact, my family from other parts of Canada says it sounds really "clean". I talk exactly like the anchors on Canadian news.) Strangely, this phenomenon is unique to Montreal it seems. Do you have an accent in English that is impacted by your first language, ethnicity, or place of origin?
  2. Avec toutes ces discussions sur l'anglais et le français, ça pourrait être interessant de créer un petit sondage...
  3. The (mis)adventures of an Anglo in Montreal Petra Hendrickson Issue date: 4/9/08 Section: Opinion Montreal less than 48 hours ago, I thought I would use today's column as part anecdote, part travel advice and part opinion. The advice, although the most practical portion of this column by far, is the least fun to write about, so I'll dispense with it first. Make sure you tell your bank you're going abroad. Otherwise, their fraud department might put a block on your debit card after you use it to pay for a cab ride. This results in you having to apply for a new debit card, which will then take around 10 business days to be delivered to you. If you need help with something, ask. I have no recollection of the only other time I've flown internationally, and I was a little apprehensive about the customs and immigration process. Chances are, one of your fellow travelers will be more than happy to talk you through the process ahead of time. Granted, most people scoff at the idea of Canada being considered "international travel." Nonetheless, a flight there requires you to go through customs and immigration before leaving the airport, and chances are, you'll find something there that looks unfamiliar. Gas prices in Canada (or at least Montreal), for instance, are not only by the liter, rather than the gallon, they're also in cents. So a liter of gas is advertised as costing 114.2. Before I asked a fellow American at the graduate school I was visiting about the gas pricing system, I was pretty shocked. I mean, I knew gas prices were more expensive everywhere else, but even this seemed a little steep. Also, although I ate food while I was there, the fact that all menu items (even at Tim Horton's!) were in French pretty much means that I'm not entirely sure what I ate. There was Lebanese food of some kind, what I was told was a Chilean steak sandwich and a couple flavored croissants, but as far as specifics go, I'm pretty much at a loss. Everyone I encountered in Montreal was willing to accommodate English speakers, which was definitely much appreciated. My cab driver on my 1 a.m. excursion to the airport informed me that not only should I not have been shy about speaking English and being American, the locals don't mind at all because Americans are notoriously good tippers. The logic seems to follow that the more willingly people speak English to the Americans in Montreal, the more grateful the Americans will be, and the better they'll tip. I have to be honest. At least in my case, it was true. Most of the Anglo community seems to know how to speak enough French to get by ("restaurant French"), and certainly recognizes enough French to be able to differentiate street names from one another and the like. It was really interesting to me the combination of recognition and absolute confusion I experienced in the Francophone environment. On the one hand, words like café and boutique were easy markers as to what a building contained. On the other hand, all the words I didn't recognize meant that at some point, everything started to look the same, and it was pretty disorienting. On the whole, I'm definitely glad I visited Montreal. It was pretty eye-opening as to just how utterly American I am. I like to consider myself worldly in outlook, and I still think that's true, but it also made me consider exactly how non-worldly my experiences have been. http://media.www.indianastatesman.com/media/storage/paper929/news/2008/04/09/Opinion/The-misadventures.Of.An.Anglo.In.Montreal-3311500.shtml
  4. A very nice quote from the guide: INTRODUCTION Montréal is by far Canada's most cosmopolitan city. Toronto may have the country's economic power and Vancouver its most majestic scenery, but the centuries-old marriage of English and French cultures that defines Montréal has given the city an allure and dynamic unique to North America - a captivating atmosphere that is admittedly hard to describe. Its ethnic make-up is in truth fairly diverse, what with plenty of Italians, Greeks, Eastern Europeans, Jews, Chinese and Portuguese putting down roots in various neighbourhoods over the last century. But ever since the French first flew the flag here back in the 1600s, the struggle for the city's soul has centred on - and largely set apart - its English and French factions. As such Montréal has always been a pivotal player in the politics of Québec separatism, the tension between the two main linguistic groups having reached a searing low in the late 1960s, when the Front de Libération du Québec waged a terrorist campaign on the city as the province was undergoing a "francization" that would affect Montréal most of all. In the wake of legislation that enshrined French-language dominance in Québec, English-Quebecers fled in droves, tipping the nation's economic supremacy from Montréal to Toronto. After decades of linguistic dispute, though, a truce appears to have at last settled in, and nowadays it's hard to believe that only a few years ago a narrowly failed 1995 referendum on separation transformed the city into a pitched battlefield over linguistic and territorial rights. It seems virtually everyone can speak French, while the younger generation of Francophones also speak l'anglais - certainly a blessing for English-speaking visitors who should have no problem finding someone who speaks the language. The truce has also gone hand in hand with the city's economic resurgence, which sees Montréal at the fore of Canada's high-tech industry. The duality of Montréal's social mix is also reflected in its urban make-up. Sandwiched between the banks of the St Lawrence River and the forested, trail-laced rise of Mont Royal, the heart of the city is an engaging melange of Old and New World aesthetics. Busy downtown, with its wide boulevards lined by sleek office towers and rambling shopping malls, is emblematic of a typical North American metropolis, while just to its south, Vieux-Montréal preserves the city's unmistakable French heritage in its layout of narrow, cobblestone streets and town squares anchored by the radiant Basilique Notre-Dame. Balancing these are traces of the city's greatest international moment, Expo '67, echoes of which remain on Parc Jean-Drapeau, the islands across from Vieux-Montréal that hosted the successful World Fair. A few kilometres east stands perhaps the city's greatest folly, the Stade Olympique built for the 1976 Olympics, its leaning tower overshadowing the expansive Jardin Botanique, second only to London's Kew Gardens. Specific sights aside, it's the street-level vibe that makes Montréal such a great place to visit. Like the homegrown Cirque du Soleil, Montréal has a ceaseless - and contagious - energy that infuses its café and lounge culture, its exciting into-the-wee-hour nightlife, and the boisterous summer festivals that put everyone in a party mood. Nowhere captures this free-spirited ethos better than Plateau Mont-Royal, the trendiest neighbourhood in town and effective meeting point of Montréal's founding and immigrant cultures. Here, the best restaurants, bars and clubs hum and groove along boulevard St-Laurent, the symbolic divide between the city's French and English communities, under the watchful gaze of the city's most prominent landmark, the cross atop Mont Royal that recalls Montréal's initial founding as a Catholic colony. In some contrast, Québec City, around 250km east, seems immune to outside forces, its walled old town steadfastly embodying the province's French fact. Perched atop a promontory with a commanding view of the St Lawrence and laced with winding, cobblestone streets flanked by seventeenth- and eighteenth-century stone houses, it ranks as Québec's most romantic and beautifully situated city. Closer to Montréal, two other enchanting regions - the Eastern Townships (Les Cantons-de-l'Est) and the Laurentian mountains (Les Laurentides) - provide excellent getaways, along with top-notch skiing, away from the teeming city centre.
  5. Life in Montreal - Telegraph Mentor Patricia Smith says Canadians are genuinely nice people; friendly and welcoming, fond of the British and very proud of their homeland. Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 28/11/2007 Patricia Smith is willing to answer your questions about Montreal. Our mentors are volunteers and any information they provide is for information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Click here to access the message boards terms and conditions. My family moved to Montreal in early 2000 when my husband was offered a job with a Biotech company here. I also worked in the Biotech sector in Montreal for two years but left to start my own relocation company, Home Thoughts. My company is a Destination Services company that specialises in helping Brits who are moving to Montreal to find housing and schools, showing them where to shop, helping them to get drivers licenses, finding them cleaners, doctors, dentists, child-minders etc. Basically, all the things I wish someone had helped me with when I moved here! In addition to my experience of international relocation, having worked here as well, I understand the work ethos, which is very different from that in the UK and in the US. If anyone has any questions about visiting or moving to Montreal I am more than happy to answer them. Ask questions and read the answers on the Mentor Noticeboard. Geography: Montreal is located on an island gently nestled within the St. Lawrence Seaway in Eastern Canada in the Province of Quebec. The city is dominated by a large hill in the centre, grandly called 'The Mountain' by the locals, and only slightly less grandly officially 'Mont Royal'. This beautiful parkland, with the Mansions of Westmount and Outrement cut part way up it, has a chateau at the top and a lookout from which you can see right across to the States. Looking down you can see the business center of Montreal, the McGill University campus buildings and the bridges that cross the St. Lawrence. To the north of Montreal only 45 minutes away are the Laurentian mountains with their superb ski resorts, golf courses, lakes and cottages for summer and winter. To the East an hour away, are the Eastern Townships, again with superb skiing, golf, lakes and holiday cottages. The US is 40 minutes away to the south with Boston and New York six hours drive away and one hour by air. There are several daily flights to London only 7 hours away, and to the rest of Europe. Cuisine: The French influence means that the food is great; the croissants and pastries are second only to France. It appears that everyone who has ever emigrated here also loves food because there are restaurants of every nationality serving good food to suit every budget. Eating out here is so cheap compared to the UK, the portions are large, the service is great and children are welcome everywhere. There is a lot more smoking here than in the UK so ask for a non-smoking table if that is your preference. Wine and spirits are very expensive as they are sold by a Quebec government agency, the SAQ. The wine sold in the supermarkets is more like Ribena. Beer is more reasonably priced and can be bought in supermarkets or corner shops called depanneurs. People: Canadians are genuinely nice people; friendly and welcoming, fond of the British and very proud of their homeland. It has been said that Canada is a bit boring, but this is really not the case in Quebec. The European influence, particularly that of the French, really livens things up. After Paris, Montreal is the second largest French-speaking city in the world. 69% of its three million people speak French as their mother tongue, 12% speak English and 19% don't speak either. The reality of the situation, however, is that in this tolerant, vibrant, and youthful city most of its inhabitants are functionally bilingual, often trilingual, and so coming here only speaking English is not a problem. Even if you speak perfect French you will be spotted as a visitor as the Quebecois accent is very different. I have lived here for four years and people still start speaking in English to me the minute I say 'Bonjour'. Montrealers love Brits and the shop assistants always want to chat, telling you who in their family is British, and how much they love your accent. There are also large numbers of immigrants from non-English or French cultures and there is no obvious racial tension. I suspect this is because they are not perceived scroungers or benefit seekers but just as new additions to a long line of immigrants, who are here to work hard, learn French and get on with life. Weather: Montreal has four distinct seasons. Winter is long lasting from November until the end of March. It has usually snowed by the middle of December and carries on intermittently until March. January and February are the coldest months with temperatures averaging -10ºC but on the odd day it does fall to -40ºC with the wind chill factor. -10ºC sounds cold but it isn't really provided you have the right clothes. It is a dry cold and so it doesn't penetrate through to your bones as it does in the UK. The children love the snow, which is dry and brushes off easily, and you can always appreciate the beautifully clear blue skies. Spring is very short lasting from April to the end of May, but everything grows extremely quickly and it is delightful to see the grass and flowers pushing through past the residual snow. Summer runs luxuriously through June to September and is hot and often humid. The temperature can reach the mid 30's in July and August and it is truly fantastic. Fall (Autumn) runs from October until mid-November and is beautiful with red, brown and gold colours abounding. It is a great time to travel to Vermont and the Laurentians or anywhere woody and rural. Standard of Living: Everything in Montreal is roughly half the price of that in the UK, from food and clothes to restaurants and housing, and people are not embarrassed to question prices or complain about bad service. Salaries are lower than in the UK but despite this you will still have a much better standard of living in Montreal. Healthcare: The medical system, Medicare, is very similar to the NHS with the same sorts of advantages and disadvantages. Treatment is free on demand and the doctors and nurses are generally very good but the waiting lists are often long. GP's are in short supply and you have to wait for hours in the Emergency Room (casualty). Once you arrive on a work permit or land as an immigrant you need to obtain a Medicare card to get treatment. The private health system in Quebec is very limited. You cannot pay to see a consultant or have tests performed in a public hospital more quickly but you can go to a private clinic for certain tests, particularly if you are an adult. Many health insurance schemes will pay for this. The cost of prescription medicines is borne by the patient or by the private insurance that you will have through your employer. Dental care is high quality but very expensive and not covered at all by Medicare for adults and even for children the provision is limited. Employee insurance schemes cover dental treatment but cover varies from scheme to scheme. As in the UK, adults in Quebec pay for eye check ups and children and those on welfare benefits do not. Medicare does not cover the cost of glasses or contact lenses, however, most insurance schemes cover the costs in part or completely. Glasses and contact lenses are considerably cheaper in Quebec than in the UK. Driving: If you hold a valid British Driving License you can obtain a Quebec license without taking a test. You can drive for a few months on your international license but it is best to get a Quebec license as soon as possible. You can obtain this from the SAAQ (Société de l'Assurance Automobile du Quebec). You are legally required to carry your license with you when driving as well as the insurance and registration documents for the car. The rules regarding drink-driving, the wearing of seat belts, and use of child car seats are similar to those in the UK, i.e do not drink and drive, wear seats belts at all times and make sure your child has the correct car seat for their size and age. It is relatively easy to adjust to driving on the right hand side of the road in Quebec, because the speed limits are lower than in the UK and they are, by and large, obeyed. The general consensus among expats is that drivers in Quebec are not very good. It is not that they are deliberately obstructive or aggressive; they just seem unaware of other cars, not letting you into a lane or out of a side street, pulling out suddenly and rarely indicating. There is 'no fault' insurance in Quebec. That is, if you have an accident your insurance company pays for your damage and the other parties company pays for their damage regardless of who was responsible. Any injury to your person is insured by the SAAQ. Banking: If you are just visiting banking is fine, you can use your UK cashpoint cards in the ATM's which are everywhere, not just in the banks but in cinemas, depanneurs and supermarkets. Of course, UK credit cards are accepted everywhere. The banks are open 10am until 4pm on weekdays only and have very long queues so use the ATM whenever possible. If you are planning to move here for a few years banking is more difficult. Your credit reference in the UK is no good here at all and you basically start from scratch proving your financial worthiness to be given a credit card and overdraft facility. Getting as many store cards as possible is one way to improve your credit rating.
  6. Earth to anglos: This is Quebec. Bus drivers speak French BY NICHOLAS ROBINSON, THE GAZETTE JANUARY 7, 2014 I’m an expat American whose family transferred here (my father worked for ICAO) in 1976. In 1988, after having gone to college and graduated in California, I moved to Japan and spent five years there, teaching English. When I returned, my parents had relocated to California, but left their condo here unrented and unoccupied. Naturally, I chose to resettle here instead of California, and I’ve been here ever since. I spoke French before I came to Montreal, having learned it in francophone African countries, so I had no problems getting around Montreal. Except in my lengthy absence, Bill 101 had been passed, and many anglos were hightailing it out on the 401. It was strange coming back to a Montreal that had language issues; I’d never had the Eaton-fat-lady experience while I had been here in the 1970s and had never had any problems back then. And at first, actually, for over a decade, I resented the ridiculous sign law that made English two-thirds smaller than French on signs, plus all the “tongue-trooper” shenanigans over the years. But then my mind started changing, and today I’m pretty much the polar opposite to what I was in 1994. I now teach Japanese to individuals in Montreal, having enthusiastically learned it from scratch while in Japan. Most of my students are francophone, but we usually end up having the class with a mixture of all three languages. Now when I hear about people “not getting service” in English in such institutions as hospitals, or not being responded to in English by bus drivers, my stance is: tough luck. When I moved to Japan, I quickly discovered that almost nobody spoke English, and that in order to function, I would have to learn Japanese — and fast, which I did. And now I feel maybe Bill 101 should have gone farther and made all signs only in French. After all, we are living in a French-speaking province that just happens to be in the middle of a vast country called Canada. Any anglos who have been here for any length of time — over a year or so — should at least be able to carry out basic living functions in French and learn how to read signs in French. The wheedle-factor here is enormous. To my mind, the French speakers of Quebec have been incredibly tolerant of the anglophone “community,” and a vast swath of them have gone to the immense trouble of learning English — when they don’t have to at all. Yet they do, happily and willingly and without a single murmur of protest. Why then, can’t the so-called “anglophone community,” knowingly residing in a province that has every right in the world to make everything in French, not do a better job of learning French? Earth to anglos: this is Quebec. In Quebec most people speak French. Bus drivers have every right in the world to respond to you in French, even when you speak to them in English. And my suggestion to these besieged individuals is simply: learn how to speak French. There are literally hundreds of places where you can learn it absolutely free. Or take some of my classes and move to Japan, where there is a severe shortage of English teachers; I promise there are no French speakers there to hound you. Nicholas Robinson teaches Japanese in Montreal. © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  7. L`article est un peu facultatif, je veux porter votre attention aux nombreux commentaires en relation avec celui-ci. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20071204.wcensusmain1204/CommentStory/census2006/home/ Canada's tenuous French connection BRODIE FENLON Globe and Mail Update December 4, 2007 at 4:12 PM EST Just a day after the Prime Minister appointed Bernard Lord to head a committee on bilingualism, newly released census figures suggest that Canada's official-languages policy and the vitality of the French language are under increasing pressure outside Quebec. There are nearly as many Canadians with a non-official language as their mother tongue as there are francophones, while the peak rate of bilingualism for anglophones living outside Quebec has dropped again. The new figures on immigration, language and mobility, gleaned from the 2006 census, paint a dramatic picture of Canada's changing demographics. Among the highlights: • One in five Canadians – 19.8 per cent of the total population – was born outside the country, a rate not matched since 1931, when the percentage of foreign-born citizens peaked at 22.2 per cent. Only Australia has more foreign-born residents. • More than 60 per cent of immigrants live in the large urban centres of Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver; only about 5 per cent live in rural parts of Canada. • Most of the recent newcomers to Canada are from Asia – 58 per cent when those from the Middle East are included. Europeans, the dominant immigrant group for most of the 20th century, represented only 16 per cent of those who moved to Canada between 2001 and 2006. • Canada's foreign-born population increased by 13.6 per cent, four times greater than the growth rate of 3.3 per cent for the Canadian-born population. But it is the language numbers released Tuesday that will likely make headlines, following as they do on the heels of Mr. Lord's appointment by Stephen Harper to head a high-profile committee on bilingualism in Canada. The former premier of New Brunswick will travel to seven cities across the country during the first two weeks of December to speak to members of English and French minority communities and provide advice and guidance to the federal government. Mr. Lord will then report to Official Languages Minister Josée Verner in January. What Mr. Lord will find outside Quebec and New Brunswick, Canada's only officially bilingual province, is increasingly isolated French-language communities, the census suggests. One indicator is mother tongue, defined as the first language learned at home and still understood at the time of the census. For the first time, allophones – those who speak neither English nor French as their first language – represent fully one-fifth of the population. The numbers jumped to 20.1 per cent from 18 per cent in the last census, driven primarily by immigration. Conversely, the proportion of francophones and anglophones decreased slightly after population growth is taken into account. This will be no surprise for Canadians in many parts of the country. For several years, Chinese has topped French as a first language in Ontario, Alberta and B.C. The 2006 census reaffirmed the position of Chinese languages as Canada's third most common mother tongue group. More than one million Canadians reported one of the Chinese languages as their first language, a jump of 18.5 per cent. Experts are quick to note that allophones speak about 200 languages and are not a homogeneous group. Francophones still represent about one-quarter of the population; people who report Chinese as their mother tongue represent 3.3 per cent of the total population. Moreover, the census showed that nine out of 10 Canadians speak English or French most often at home: Just over one-fifth spoke French, 67.7 per cent spoke English, and 11.9 per cent spoke a non-official language at home. It is important to note, however, that the English and French numbers dropped from the previous census, while the non-official language numbers increased by 1.5 per cent. Even in Quebec, the percentage of people who spoke French most often at home dropped to 81.8 per cent from 83.1 per cent. The bilingualism rate is another indicator of the tenuous French connection. Outside Quebec, only 5.6 per cent of allophones in 2006 reported knowing both official languages. While there was a slight increase – 7.4 per cent from 7.1 per cent – in the number of anglophones outside Quebec who said they could carry on a conversation in both official languages, the number dropped for a key demographic: young Canadians. Because most anglophones learn French at school, the peak bilingualism rate for Canadians outside Quebec occurs in the 15-19 age range. That rate has slipped over the past decade, to 13 per cent in 2006 from 16.3 per cent in 1996. The ability of young anglophones to maintain their knowledge of French as a second language appears to decline with time. In 2001, 14.7 per cent of anglophones aged 15 to 19 were bilingual. Five years later, only 12.2 per cent of that same cohort reported being bilingual. The numbers are disappointing, considering that one of the chief objectives of Ottawa's $787-million plan on official languages – launched by the previous Liberal government in 2003 – is to double by 2013 the percentage of young bilingual Canadians to 50 per cent. Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Association for Canadian Studies and advocate of official bilingualism, warned against an “ethno-local” reading of the numbers, which he said could foster tensions and challenge public support for French in areas where other languages dominate. “When you start breaking things down locally, then you risk tearing away at the fabric of national unity. ... That's the Canada of multiple parts, not the Canada with a national vision both of its demographic reality and its history,” he said. “Bilingualism is the fundamental feature of a strong Canadian identity to the extent that more than a quarter of the country, nationally, consists of people who are French speakers.” Others suggest, however, that such sentiments are antiquated in a multicultural Canada and ignore the demographic reality of much of the country, especially urban areas such as Toronto or Vancouver. “Nobody's asked any longer what is the place of French. Now I walk on hot coals to even say that out loud,” said Heather Lotherington, associate professor of multilingual education at York University. “We're living in a global society. We have this influx of people who speak the languages of the world, and we're not doing a damn thing with these languages. We're just letting them go to waste.” Ms. Lotherington, whose research is focused on Toronto-area schools, advocates for the inclusion of students' mother tongues in the curriculum. She said decades of research shows that if you maintain the languages children know, they learn other languages better, fast and more easily. “French immersion needs to be looked at critically,” she said. “I do not want to throw it out. Canada is a world leader in immersion education. But you have to think about the way we learn languages and the possibility of learning more. "It's a very colonial stance to say that English and French are the languages of Canada.” Concerns about official bilingualism and the impact of immigration on the French language inside and outside Quebec are not new. In September's Throne Speech, the Prime Minister pledged to extend official bilingualism programs for minority communities. The appointment of Mr. Lord is seen as the first step in that commitment and a response to the critical report by Official Languages Commissioner Graham Fraser, who accused the Harper government of having “directly undermined” the official languages plan with budget cuts and by eliminating the Court Challenges program, which financed minority-rights court cases against the government. Citizenship and Immigration recently set targets through 2011 to attract between 8,000 and 10,000 French-speaking immigrants a year to francophone communities outside of Quebec. Driving these targets are demographic data showing that for every new immigrant whose mother tongue is French, there are 10 whose mother tongue is English, and that the vast majority of newcomers adopt English upon arrival in Canada. Meanwhile, the debate over immigration and language continues in Quebec, where the Bouchard-Taylor commission on reasonable accommodation of minorities heard last week from a prominent Parti Québécois strategist that only an independent Quebec could protect the French language. The commission also heard from French-speaking immigrants to Quebec who said their lack of English was impeding their ability to get jobs. And in October, PQ Leader Pauline Marois caused a small furor when she proposed the Quebec Identity Act, which would require all new immigrants to the province to learn French within three years. Those who failed a language test would not be permitted to hold public office, raise money for a political party or petition the National Assembly. The bill was widely condemned. The Official Languages Act, first passed in 1969 and updated twice since, stipulates Canadians' right to receive federal government services in either English or French where numbers warrant, the right of public servants to work in either language in certain areas, the right of either English or French speakers to advance in the public service, and that the government must promote bilingualism.
  8. Young anglos complain of un plafond de verre Conference. Must have higher level of fluency in second language, English-speakers say HUBERT BAUCH, The Gazette Published: 23 hours ago The burden of bilingualism chafes on young anglos in Quebec. Many feel that even speaking both languages, they are still second-class citizens. A consultation with 300 young anglophones from all parts of the province conducted by the Quebec Community Groups Network found most are eager to integrate with the francophone milieu, but encounter frustration, either because their school-taught French isn't good enough, or because franco- phones are unwelcoming. A perverse finding was that for young anglos, bilingualism is a greater asset outside Quebec than at home. Most shared the view that outside Quebec, any ability to speak French gives job applicants a competitive advantage, whereas less than total French fluency puts you at a disadvantage if you're anglo in Quebec. It suggests that rather than slowing the exodus of young anglos from Quebec, bilingualism is aggravating it. A common view was that on the provincial job market, francophones qualify as bilingual with far lower second-language skill than is demanded of anglophones. "Most youth expressed the frustration they feel at attempting to integrate into the job market," says the summary report of the consultation. "In addition to the language barrier, many feel that English speakers face discrimination in accessing jobs or upward mobility." The survey suggests young anglos find their school system is doing an inadequate job teaching them French, and while overall language tensions have significantly abated in Quebec in recent years, English-French relations remain tenuous on the ground. "While some said they feel shy about participating in French language activities, others reported feelings of social segregation, being unwelcome and a lack of belonging," the report says. On the upside, it was found that a great many young anglos feel positively about their communities and would prefer to make their lives there. For all the frustrations, "quality of life" was widely cited as good reason for staying. "In rural Quebec the quality of life cited included access to the outdoors, the proximity of family and friends and a strong sense of community. In Montreal, it was cited more in reference to the low cost of living, vibrant artistic community and range of activities." There also appears to be a willingness to confront the frustrations and reach across the linguistic divide. "A desire for frank discussion and projects to directly address English-French tensions in their regions was expressed." The consultation results were presented at a weekend conference organized by the QCGN at Concordia University and attended by about 100 young anglos from all parts of the province. In a plenary discussion, some spoke of personal experiences that reflected the report's conclusions. Jonathan Immoff, who attends university in Rimouski, praised the quality of life in his native Gaspé. "The region is gorgeous. It's home. It's where our family is and we don't want to leave." But he said job opportunities are scarce for anglos who don't speak perfect French. "You have to speak very well to be considered bilingual, while francophones aren't held to nearly the same standard in English." Marilyn Dickson, from the Magdalen Islands, said bilingualism is "the big issue" for the small local anglo community of about 500. "Those who aren't have no choice but to leave. It's the way it is." A delegate from the North Shore said anglo efforts to be bilingual tend not to be reciprocated by francophones. "They're not willing to speak any English. If you're English, it's screw you. The lack of communications cuts all ties right there." A franco-Ontarian delegate who moved to Quebec said she finds anglo Quebecers are treated like francophones are in her native Ottawa. The situation presents challenges for the greater Quebec anglophone community, but there is also an encouraging will to confront and overcome what problems and frustrations there are, said QCGN president Robert Donnelly. "You expressed a desire to move forward, to leave the issue of language in the past, to increase intercultural activities and to have frank, open discussion with your francophone counterparts," he said in his welcoming speech. "You stated you wish to remain in Quebec and to contribute to Quebec society." The consultation and the conference are the groundwork for a three-to-five-year strategic plan for English-speaking youth being developed by the QCGN, an umbrella group for anglo organizations throughout the province. "Youth are saying now that they want to stay," said Brent Platt, co-chairperson of the QCGN youth committee. "I think French people on the whole are more willing now to work with us, to make things better for both communities. We have to do things together if we're going to get anywhere." [email protected] thegazette.canwest.com
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