Canadian language police prepare for unrest as 200 attend Esperanto Congress in Montreal
debaron at illinois.edu
Fri Jul 18 02:06:12 UTC 2008
There's a new post on the Web of Language:
Canadian language police prepare for unrest as 200 attend Esperanto
Congress in Montreal
The Seventh Pan-American Esperanto Congress is being held this week in
Montréal, a city where French enjoys strong legal protection and
nonfrancophones risk fines if they defy the language law.
Since the passage of Loi 101 over 30 years ago, all advertising in the
province of Québec must be in French, all signs must have French
lettering that is bigger and more prominent than any other language,
and anyone can insist on being served or spoken to in French.
While tourism flourishes in Montréal, and English and French generally
co-exist peacefully in the city most of the time, violators of the law
protecting French are routinely brought to justice. Esperanto speakers
might well fear running afoul of the official language law, because
over the years they have been persecuted for subversive activities in
a number of countries.
But while the goal of Esperanto is to achieve peace and understanding
through an artificial language, not a natural one like French,
Montréal is actually rolling out the red carpet for the Esperanto
conference-goers, an indication that French Canadians will support any
language that’s challenging the position of English as a global
It’s not Québec’s language law that threatens Esperanto. The impact of
official language legislation pales in comparison to the threat of
indifference that Esperanto faces not just from Canadians but from
most of the world’s population.
The language has anywhere from a few hundred thousand to a million or
more speakers world-wide, but only 200 of them made the journey to
Montréal. More people are likely to show up at Star Trek convention,
or a sale at Best Buy.
Since almost everybody in the world goes through their day without
encountering any Esperanto at all, it’s difficult to convince students
that the language can serve any practical purpose for them.
Read the entire post on the Web of Language
Professor of English and Linguistics
Department of English
University of Illinois
608 S. Wright St.
Urbana, IL 61801
read the Web of Language:
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the Lgpolicy-list