Quebec Seeks to Ease Divisiveness

veblen at veblen at
Wed Apr 16 14:10:49 UTC 2003

Folks -- although omnipresent threats remain, the status of French in Quebec is
as strong as it has ever been. There is absolutely no evidence of significant
language shift among Francophones. The overwhelming majority of Francophones
(mother tongue) use French as their language of home and work. Increasing
numbers of anglophones are becoming bilingual. Immigrant children are required
to attend French-language schools; consequently, these children of Bill 101
overwhelmingly adopt French as their langue parlée au foyer when they shift
from their mother tongue. Moreover, recent surveys show that 87& of the
population uses French as a "public language" --that is, the language of
commerce, daily activities, interaction with government. The one area of
substantial preoccupation -- the declining number of Francophones on the Island
of Montreal (chiefly a product of francophone suburbanization, low birthrates,
and allophone immigration in the 1990s)-- seems to have abated, according to
recent data from the 2001 census. Christina Paulston is right -- a language
shift away from French in Quebec maybe in 500 years,  but not any time soon.

For those interested, all these trends are documented in a couple of studies:
my own book, La reconquête de Montréal (Montréal: VLB Editeur, 1997), and
recent special edition of La Revue de l'aménagement linguistique, published by
the Office de la langue française, which examines changes in Quebec's
linguistic landscape since the 1970s (and includes articles by me, Marie
McAndrew, Richard Bourhis, Pierre Bouchard, and Joshua Fishman among others).

Marc Levine
Center for Canadian-American Policy Studies
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Quoting Christina Paulston <paulston+ at>:

> Maybe in 500 years; but it has got territory and laws to support it as well
> as la gloire de la France and stubborn speakers. Christina
> ----------
> >From: Survey Coordinator Brazil <survey_coord_brazil at>
> >To: lgpolicy-list at
> >Subject: Re: Quebec Seeks to Ease Divisiveness
> >Date: Tue, Apr 15, 2003, 2:09 PM
> >
> > Interesting - I've just surveyed a creole in northern Brazil.  We had a
> > Martiniquan and an St. Lucian along.  I think the creoles illustrate well
> > what Fishman talks about with the idea of domains.  Likely the reason
> > creoles survived so long was because is was pretty clear which language
> was
> > used by whom, where.  I think this Quebec article is hailing bilingualism
> > without diglossia, which could be a harbinger of language shift.
> >
> > Stan Anonby
> >

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