Most People Speak One Language

nic   Tuesday, September 07, 2004, 13:53 GMT
Hi Damian,

Random Chapie gave you the answer, i can't do better especially because i am not american. What i meant was, most of the time US american do not speak french. I noticed some of them who are living in France since many years do not speak any word of french (not all of course), british are usually the same (but not all), it's logic in the way they stay in an english speaking community. I guess it's the same in every non speaking english country.
Damian   Tuesday, September 07, 2004, 14:16 GMT

Thank you for that. I understand what you say about English speaking people making their permanent home in France, or any other country. I know "freedom of choice" is essential in any democratic country, but nevertheless I think it is a sort of insult to their "hosts" (the adopted new countries) when no effort is made to speak the language.

Reverse the picture.....people moving to either the UK or the USA. They damn well HAVE to learn English then or they will not get very far. Where is the logic or fairness in this? It's wrong to my way of thinking.

I know there are some Asian people who have lived in the UK for many years and cannot speak or understand any English at all, but it seems they are mostly elderly people, mainly females. The reason for this it seems is some sort of cultural thing, like purdah or something, which no longer applies to younger people.
nic   Tuesday, September 07, 2004, 14:29 GMT

I think when you are a foreigner, the best is to learn the language from where you are the host. About chineses and others, i imagine it must be difficult. Could i learn chinese if i was workiing there? I guess i will try but it must be terribly difficult. But if you want to be integrated, there's no doubt and no choice you must learn the language.
Evie   Tuesday, September 07, 2004, 22:59 GMT
i don't see the big deal if Mexicans can't live in the u.s.a i know that there not citicatis but listen to yourself not alowing a nother human being to be in our country becuase they don't know ower langue...they shouldn't be jugded like that...they are probley thinking the same thing about you..and if you don't like them so much then you stop going to there country. Becuase if you don't let them in yours and you are treating them doesn't give you a right to go into there contry. And they are apart of the u.s to it doesn't mean there not becuase they don't know ower launge and it seems very wroung to judge someone because of there race.
Marie   Wednesday, September 08, 2004, 01:10 GMT
Canada is susposed to be a bilingual country but the Quebec goverment has its own laws which does not allow the english language on the outside of establishments unless there's no way around changing the name to a french one, example "Lenscrafters" and if used in circulaires or inside establishments, it is to be printed much smaller.
Many business owners get in trouble because of these law; an example is the owner of a Diner that had a garbage can that said "Push" on its flap got into trouble with the law because the can was outdoors. Quebec's language police wrote to her, as they do to anyone, and ordered her to remove the offending word to respect Quebec's language law and that it should have no language on it other than French or she will have to pay a fine. One can experience problems in trying to get someone who works in Quebec's government offices to speak in english, it doesn't seem to be required. People have encountered problems with store employees, who for the most part aren't rude, but some city bus drivers can be very rude when encountering someone who dares asks a question in a language other than french. Movies and games, etc. are not permitted in Quebec unless a translated version is also available. A parent who'd like to send their child to an English or french-immersion school must first get a document proving that they had elementary instruction in English in Canada before being permitted to send their children to english an school.
Anglophones, Allophones and many Francophones of Quebec feel resentful for not being able to make their own decisons and of course you can find hostility between the Francophones and non-Francophones. So although one may live in a bilingual country, one does neccessarily get to practise those rights. Quebec's separtists are always waiting for the 50+1 vote to separate from the rest of Canada whenever their government is in power.
Mxsmanic   Wednesday, September 08, 2004, 01:25 GMT
Québec is an example of a region in the last desperate death throes of linguistic identity. It is trying to legislate reality out of existence. There is simply no way to force people to use a language through legislation. There must be cultural, social, and economic reasons for using a language, or it will die out. French is going to die out in Québec because it doesn't have these things to support it--either that, or _Québec_ will die out when all the English-speaking people leave (as many businesses have done).

It's both sad and amusing to see Québec thrashing about over language issues. It's like an ant telling a steamroller that it can advance no further because it's _illegal_ to squish ants.
Steve K   Wednesday, September 08, 2004, 01:32 GMT
Despite obvious excesses by the Government and language nationalists, the French language has made a recovery in Quebec because its French speaking citizens have become better educated and more successful economically over the last 30 odd years. French has become important in Quebec. I do not believe that French will die out in Quebec. I grew up there and many if not most anglophones there can speak French today and do not make a fuss about it. This was not the case when I was growing up there in the 50s. I guess Catalan has made a similar recovery under different circumstances in Spain. Long live regional languages.
Random Chappie   Wednesday, September 08, 2004, 03:49 GMT

No, there is no "E" in the American marking system. In the UK, however, "E" does exists as an exam grade (A*, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, U for GCSEs).


Again, be careful how you use the term "grading system" in the US. It does NOT mean the system with which Americans schools group their pupils into year levels. It DOES mean grades of A, B, C, D, F.

Actually, American school years aren't all that hard to figure out. Years 1 through 13 in the UK (or in England, at least) are approximately equivalent to Grades 1 through 12 in the US, except that American children begin school a little later.


"Lo sguardo suo su me posò,
Sfiorò la zampa ma paura non provò!
Son certo che, mi sono illuso:
Lei non mi aveva mai guardato con quel viso."
- Uno Sguardo d'Amore, la Bella et la Bestia
Mxsmanic   Wednesday, September 08, 2004, 05:30 GMT
Regional languages add diversity and charm, but they are hugely impractical. The drawbacks of multilingualism are a high price to pay for its scant advantages.
Marie   Wednesday, September 08, 2004, 05:34 GMT

<<It's like an ant telling a steamroller that it can advance no further because it's _illegal_ to squish ants>>
I like your analogy, it's funny. I'd have to agree with Steve K that the Quebec french language will never die out, that's in part due to the exceessive language laws. Many english language schools are closing because enrollment is becoming lower and lower, and anglophones who meet the requirments to send their kids to english schools are opting to send them to a french or french immersion schools because they will have a much better advantage within Quebec and its good to know more than one language. The large majority of french people haven't the right to send their kids to english schools and immigrants have to go to a french school regardless of how little french they know or even if they'll be put into lower grades; this all helps keep the language thriving. I think its great for any language to still be thriving.
I don't think people who speak a language that is supposed to be one of the country's official languages should be treated like second class citizens though and many of the ones who are not as bilingual as they'd like to be, do make an effort. A person should have the right to choose which one of a countries' official languages s/he wants their child to be instructed in and also to choose which of the official languages if not both, to do business in. That is a valid reason that many people in Quebec fuss about.

Random Chappie
I enjoy reading your posts too so could you please translate this last paragraph of your post. Gracias!(sp?)

<<"Lo sguardo suo su me posò,
Sfiorò la zampa ma paura non provò!
Son certo che, mi sono illuso:
Lei non mi aveva mai guardato con quel viso."
- Uno Sguardo d'Amore, la Bella et la Bestia>>
Random Chappie   Wednesday, September 08, 2004, 23:23 GMT
(Original) English version of the Italian (translation):

"She glanced this way, I thought I saw.
And when we touched she didn't shudder at my paw.
No it can't be, I'll just ignore,
But then she's never looked at me that way before."
- Something There, from Beauty and the Beast.
(Italian title= "A Glimpse of Love")
Marie   Thursday, September 09, 2004, 03:05 GMT
Thanks Random Chappie.
What a romantic you are... posting this poem out of all the poems you could have posted. I thought the poem was in spanish rather than italian, and I see it's from Beauty and the Beast, that explains his paw.
Paul   Thursday, September 09, 2004, 06:43 GMT
I think the situation in Quebec is too problematical to make any firm predictions. English is still making a lot of inroads into the cities in Quebec. There are also some English Speaking areas close to the American Border where English is becoming more common.
They have to walk a tightrope in Quebec. Because of the necessity to business with the U.S. and the rest of Canada, the can't totally isolate themselves from English.
A lot of young Francophones in Quebec feel angry that Government policies have limited their access to learning English in the early school years, when it is easy to pick up. Typically, English instruction in a French school is only given after Grade 4, and then only in haphazard fashion.
They learn a lot of English Jargon and slang from the culture, but it is generally it is inadequete to get by outside of Quebec.
And if Quebec artificially generates a lot of Expensive Civil Service Francophone jobs to keep people happy, eventually they will be unable to finance it from taxes.
As the large majority of french people are not allowed to send their kids to english schools and immigrants have to go to a french school regardless of how little french they know or even if they'll be put into lower grades. This tends to keep keep the language thriving, but the people ignorant.
But not totally ignorant as there is the 20% of the population which is comfortable using English. So the average Quebecer is able to see that there are benefits to using English. It is impossible to totally remove this advantage, in a Democratic country even with a lot of Government intervention in Education and the Job Market.

A totalitarian regieme is their only sure solution to preserving their culture, which is why they are so persistant in bringing up the seperation issue. They would like to isolate their citizens from the attractions of the English speaking popular culture.
Oliver   Thursday, September 09, 2004, 06:46 GMT
That doesn't make any sense
So what would happen to those 20% English speakers in Quebec.
Paul   Thursday, September 09, 2004, 06:53 GMT
They would be encouraged to leave or treated as resident aliens without full citizenship.
Parazieu, the head of the separtist party made some dark threats against Ethnic minorities in the last referendum.
French has to be the higher status language in Quebec, at whatever the cost.
Only a higher status language will consistently grow.
Unfortunately, for them there is a world wide trend making English the highest status language. Especially in North America