Quebec Seeks to Ease Divisiveness

Survey Coordinator Brazil survey_coord_brazil at sil.org
Tue Apr 15 15:17:55 UTC 2003


I'd like to see as many languages as possible survive.  I think Quebec is the funnest province in Canada.  However, though I think multilingualism is possible for individuals, I think it's harder for whole societies to remain multilingual.  

In Africa and Asia the ecology of language is different from Quebec.  Mostly, you're talking about societies where people don't have the western world at their fingertips.  This should help slow down language shift.  Even so, there is a vast amount of language shift happening in Africa and Asia, as the weaker languages are gobbled up by the more powerful ones.    

I also think societies can be bilingual longer if the languages they speak are restricted to their respective domains (Fishman talks about this).  If Frenchmen are writing love letters in English, this doesn't seem to be the situation of English and French Quebec.

I've never been to Louisiana, but from talking to Americans, I've gotten the impression that they love the French aspect of the state.  This stands in stark contrast to the view most older English speaking Canadians have of the French in Quebec.  In Louisiana, can I surmise that for 3 generations the English and French have loved each other, French people have written love notes in English, and the French communities have been pretty bilingual?  And isn't this why today French is endangered in Louisiana?

Stan Anonby
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