In Canada, Career, Discussions, Discussions, Money, Wealth

The Necessity of Language: Why we all use and learn English globally

This article about how Quebec plans on reforming Montreal so that people speak more French than English is slightly disconcerting, especially when you read this:

The Minister responsible for the French Language Charter, Diane De Courcy says: “It is quite disconcerting to see that a great number of French-speaking immigrants have to take English courses to get a job.

That isn’t in the (census) statistics but it is a concern that we have,” Ms. De Courcy said. “One thing is certain is that the federal statistics reveal unequivocally, without any ambiguity that we must act.”

Read: Quebec plans ‘robust reform’ to halt decline of French in Montreal

Let’s get something clear: I’m an Anglophone who only knows English perfectly, and can converse in French somewhat imperfectly (sometimes my verb conjugation and the le/la stuff attributed to things, manages to trip me up when I speak.)

I had to learn French to be able to work and make more money than just speaking English.

I spent time learning French, and I find it rather enjoyable, so I have nothing against the language.

What I have, is a problem with government officials in Quebec saying that it’s all the rest of English Canada’s fault for luring away Montrealers, and for people having to speak English in addition to French.

In fact, many French-only folk I know, tell me that without English, they can’t get good jobs or raises in their current jobs.

It’s SO ridiculous, I can’t stand it. I just tell them to effing learn the language so they can make more money, the way I did.


quebec-french-canada-flag

Via

ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT QUEBECOIS OR FRENCH?

But what is it that they’re really upset about?

They stated that Montrealers are moving away from Quebec in greater numbers, but immigrants are increasingly learning French.

That French is not being spoken as much in companies, or at home, or that Montrealers are moving away from Quebec, and therefore it isn’t the Quebecois who are speaking Quebecois French, but the others who are not Quebecois?

Anyway, what are you going to do?

Force everyone to only speak in French at work and at home?

Refuse to do business with English provinces?

Money speaks louder and drives actions. Perhaps Montrealers are leaving Quebec because they realized that they NEED to speak English to survive.

SO WHY DOES ANYONE NEED TO LEARN ENGLISH?

It’s not only because English is the second official language of Canada and the most dominant (only Quebec has French as its only official language).

It’s because to be able to work with people who live outside of Quebec, you have to speak English.

To work in a company that has offices and branches all over the world, you have to speak English.

Otherwise, the jobs that are available just in French, are jobs in French-only neighbourhoods where learning English is not really that necessary, but those jobs are few and far between.

Just as how I noticed that older Chinese retirees may not even speak English at all in Toronto, because they live without needing to — Toronto’s Chinatown has banks, shops and almost anything you need to live who speak in Chinese, and even have automated banking available in Chinese.

THE WAR ON ENGLISH AS THE LANGUAGE OF BUSINESS

English is the language of business. It’s a common language used among people in other countries so they can try and communicate to each other.

For instance, I saw on TV5 Monde (a French-from-France channel) where a Swiss police officer pulled over a Spaniard for driving without the highway permit.

Guess what language they used? Yes, 500 points to you for guessing ENGLISH!

The other day, I was in Macau when I saw a bunch of Chinese people sitting together.

I expected to hear Chinese, but they spoke English.

Upon further observation, it was because some only spoke Cantonese or some only spoke Mandarin. They didn’t understand each other.

But guess what COMMON language they used to communicate? Yes, ENGLISH!

FRENCH USED TO BE THE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE OF BUSINESS

French (way back when) used to be the accepted language of business, which is why a lot of countries like Portugal, taught French as the second language in schools, not English.

As English became more and more common, Portugal has changed with the times and switched its secondary language taught in schools from French to English.

If French was STILL the official language of business, I’d have learned it a long time ago.

Statistics Canada figures showed that the number of people speaking only French in Montreal households dropped from 46-per cent in 2001 to 39-per cent in 2011. There was a similar trend with respect the use of English in the rest of Canada.

Read: Quebec plans ‘robust reform’ to halt decline of French in Montreal

Note the following: the number of people speaking only French

It means that they aren’t necessarily giving up French (how can they, they’re probably Quebecois), they’re learning English or other languages too!

They’re becoming MULTI-lingual households.

Even English households are becoming MULTI-lingual.

What’s so wrong with that?

In some places of Quebec, they ONLY speak French, but I watched a documentary that states those places in Quebec are becoming concerned they will not be able to survive without learning English, as the world is increasingly getting smaller and requiring the use of English.

So as a result of this fear, some parents and families REFUSE to let their kids learn English.

Why?

Because they are so strongly against learning the language, that they ONLY want to live and work in French, which they think will help keep the culture alive by forcing language restrictions on their kids.

OMG.

GET OVER IT. It’s just a language! Learn it if you have to like the rest of us.

Or else, move to a country that only speaks French!!!

OTHER COUNTRIES DON’T COMPLAIN

It’s the way business goes.

If there was more and more business being done only in French, people would learn the language.


I saw plenty of white people in Hong Kong speaking Cantonese or Mandarin, mostly because it’s the way they are able to do more business without needing a translator.

In Macau the official languages of the country are Chinese and Portuguese, but will you find many Chinese folk speaking Portuguese? Not likely.

You’ll find more Chinese folk speaking broken English than you will find them knowing anything in Portuguese.

So what’s the real big deal here?

People speak French all over Europe, in Africa, and even in some parts of the United States.

French is not a dying language, but perhaps Quebecois French is slowly disappearing as interracial relationships develop and the world changes.

What I see, is a sheer stubborn refusal to change with the times, and waging a war on it in the name of culture and language, when in fact it’s a thinly veiled language-ism of sorts.

UPDATE: Then you read shizz like this where an STM (Montreal metro system) employee assaults a woman because she spoke English, not French, and told her to go back to her own country.

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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The (Lack of) French Ambition

Posted on October 31, 2017

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14 Comments

  1. arianaauburn

    I am bilingual and I can honestly say that without the ability to read and write in both languages I would not be able to find work in the business field. I do not feel that I have lost any aspect of my culture because of practicing the English language 99% of the time (I curse in my native language from time to time out of sheer frustration). Learning a 3rd language for a job would be 10 times more preferable than pole dancing.

    Reply
    1. Mochi & Macarons

      *laughing*

      These are our options? 🙂 3rd language or pole dancing? 🙂

      Reply
  2. TimelessFinance

    Quebec has long been the most left-leaning province (since the Cultural Revolution) in a country that, overall, has been on a slow decline into socialism. It’s not North Korea, but these sorts of extraordinarily intrusive, downright oppressive social engineering initiatives you’ve got to wonder where we’re headed.

    Reply
    1. Mochi & Macarons

      I just wish they’d realize that it isn’t a fight between us (English Canada) versus them. English is not the enemy, and plenty of countries have to learn English to do business. It’s just the way it is in the world, and not anything against Quebec or Quebecois.

      Reply
    2. Simply Rich Life

      Quebec seems like a very angry province for some reason. It seems like the people are asking for more oppression (for example protesting the fact that the country is proceeding with the results of an election instead of just awarding power to one pre-determined party). Maybe just a vocal minority but I don’t know how small it really is.

      Reply
      1. Mochi & Macarons

        I think they all reasonably want to have their voices heard and opinions taken into account, but that is like all Canadians!!!
        The small, angry minority is playing upon the fears of losing French and their culture/heritage as a way to gain votes and have themselves appear in papers.
        Otherwise, they’re pretty chill unless you count that STM employee who allegedly beat up a woman for speaking in English to ask for help rather than in French.

        Reply
  3. PK

    “It’s because to be able to work with people who live outside of Quebec, you have to speak English.” – I think you nailed it there… Mandarin is the most widely spoken in the world, but English is the ‘universal’ business language.

    That said, I was raised speaking English but I still attempted to learn Spanish (7 years of that later and I can maybe tell someone that I speak English?).

    Reply
    1. Mochi & Macarons

      It is hard to learn a language if you don’t practice it 🙂

      Reply
  4. CorianneM

    I can’t see what’s the big deal about learning a second language. Personally, I feel you are kind of “handicapped” just knowing a single language. My native language is Dutch. I don’t get very far in the world with just knowing Dutch. Europe is so small, you need to know some other language if you set foot outside your country (and living in a small country, you’re outside your country in 1-2 hours!). That’s why we learn English, German and French in secondary school. I forgot pretty much everything in French, but I can understand and read German pretty well and make a little conversation in German.

    Reply
    1. Mochi & Macarons

      Europeans amaze me with all their languages. Then again, you take it more seriously there as the continent is full of countries unlike here in North America.
      I am MAKING my future kids become bilingual, if not trilingual if I can help it.

      Reply
  5. hybrik

    I’m a French-Canadian, born and raise in french, I went to french schools and lived 99% of my life in french. However, I live right next to Ottawa, in the greater Gatineau area. Here, bilingualism is the norm, and, generally, French and English people cohabit pacifically. Some people are jerks, no matter which language they speak. I’ve seen a lady berating a tourist because he asked direction in English in Quebec City, and I’ve been told to ”speak Canadian” by a waiter in an Ottawa restaurant, because I was talking in French with my boyfriend (we did order our meals and drink in English, but he was mad that our private conversation was in French…)

    I once had a job in a small company in a city south of Montreal. They were selling their products around the world. Once, a potential wholesale customer called to discuss a new distribution contract and the company president was out of town. I was the only person, who was able to talk to him. Me, a lowly factory employee, had to tell the poor guy that even thought we appreciated his business, there was nobody here that could discuss a contract with him, because the sole executive that spoke English was not here, he was in vacation ! Imagine that. Losing a worldwide distribution contract because you cannot speak English. Is there only one small business that can afford a blunder like this ?

    Right now, I’m finishing my degree to become a translator, so this issue is a huge part of my life. I am not a defender of French language, I only see this as an opportunity to make a decent-living. I’m proud of speaking French, I think it’s an beautiful language. But I’m also proud of speaking English. As much French is beautiful, as much English is efficient.

    You need to learn English to make it in the world today. In fact, to be really successful in some domain, you need to speak at least three languages. I just wish some of my co-citizens could realize it and be done with it. We will not loose our culture because we learn English. This debate is not even a debate anymore. It’s just a case of some people that are afraid of the big-bad English bosses of yesterday. They wish to impose their retrograde point of view upon everybody, in the name of resisting colonization and whats-not. By preserving this mentality, they are in fact preserving the ”colonized” version of the French-Canadian, the poor, uneducated farmer of the Grande Noirceur period. It’s the same image they wish so hard to distanced themselves from. They just hadn’t noticed that we are very much past the point of colonization, so much that a vast majority of Canada would just like to kick us out of the confederation, if they were given the choice, because they are so tired of hearing a (vocal) minority of Quebecer whine about French over and over again.

    Reply
    1. Mochi & Macarons

      Thank you!!

      I think it is BETTER to be bilingual than to only speak one language just to better ‘preserve the heritage’.
      People who think that way are ruining their chances and their kids’ chances to succeed in a global business environment.

      Reply
      1. qqm

        THIS.

        Koreans were scared after the Japanese tried to obliterate the Korean language & culture – but guess what they did? You got it, learned ENGLISH, and other foreign languages, so that they could infiltrate the business world, and make Korea known for its culture and heritage.

        You don’t get people learning your language and appreciating your culture if you’re trying to be francosupremacist and restricting everyone’s ability to compete in the global marketplace – you just get labelled as fascist.

        I have to say as a globetrotter who has learned 5 languages including French – I have had the worst attitude about my multilingualism in Quebec. The others – namely the hispanophones and chinese, were very accomodating in HELPING me learn their language, not by forcing it down my throat, but showing me the exciting aspects of their culture and history.

        Quebec, on the other hand, just came across as super anti-immigrant (I’m recently settled here, after 5 years in Montreal – just decided to make it my home). It also bothers me that they use a legal clause in the Canadian constitution to enforce law 101, while they REJECTED the constitution altogether. It strikes me as super idealistic to assume that you can pick and choose which parts of the legal system benefit your political agenda… not to mention, probably very very illegal, and infringing upon people’s rights.

        For a great anglophone perspective, you should read the blog No Dogs or Anglophones – it’s a very good read.

        Reply
        1. Mochi & Macarons

          I will make a note of that book. Looks like Quebec could learn something from the Koreans.
          Thank you!!

          Reply

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