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Thread: SPs being able to speak English?

  1. #1
    Veteran of Misadventures
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    SPs being able to speak English?

    There is currently an interesting thread on MERB's sister Board TERB, in which the Ontarians and Quebecers are going back and forth as to whether Montreal SPs touring in Toronto should be able to speak English. Many TERBites originally from Quebec have posted in the thread, some also demanding to know whether French is being taught in Ontario schools. I found this post by a poster known as "hornydawg" to be both interesting and controversial and wondered whether any of you would care to comment on it:

    "well, I am also from quebec...born and raised. I went to both french and english schools. Still today I am well versed in both languages. They do do teach english in french schools but only in high school and it's very basic. they start teaching french to english kids in kindergarten. It's mandatory to pass french in english schools to get your diploma...but not vice versa. In quebec, they are attempting in my opinion to, for lack of a better word,to cripple their youth. they prefer that you don't learn english so that you will remain in the province to bolster the french population. those who can speak english and are educated leave as soon as possible, those who can't speak english are essentially stuck in quebec. I am very happy to have learned french and english, but, honestly, outside of quebec within canada, how many french people do you really run into? very few..I would have been better off learning cantonese or spanish which is much morer useful."

    by hornydawg on TERB, March 15, 2005

    Your thoughts are welcome on:

    1. SPs speaking English on dates in Montreal; and

    2. Hornydawg's post.
    Last edited by EagerBeaver; 03-15-2005 at 02:21 PM.

  2. #2
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    From what I can see and have heard, even French SPs who have dropped out of school with very poor English skills, can still understand enough to know what you want. Perhaps not enough to carry on a conversation, but they do understand the essentials.

    Ronnie,
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    They will forget what you said,
    they will forget what you did,
    but they will never forget the way you made them feel.

  3. #3
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    Elvis, Ronnie, and Chloe, thanks for your responses. The thread on TERB started as a comment on a certain Montreal SP visiting Toronto not being able to speak English, and sort of evolved into a French vs. English bashing session between the Ontarians and Quebecers. It seems that there are a lot of French speaking Canadians who have moved to Toronto based on what I am reading in that thread.

    Being American I am only unilingual and I admittedly don't know much about these issues, but I picked out hornydawg's post because it sounded like it may have some ring of truth to it. Although hornydawg said he went to both French and English schools and that he mastered both languages, he never does say in his post whether his mother tongue is French or English. It should be noted that he stated in a followup post that he graduated in 1988 or 1989 and perhaps Elvis came along later in time.

    As for me, I was offered Spanish and French in both middle and high school. I pursued Spanish primarily because where I live we do not have any French speaking natives but we have many Spanish speaking natives in the cities of Connecticut. My greatest regret, educationally, is that I was never forced to learn these languages to the point of fluency (my Spanish is probably good enough for a very crude conversation but not much more). I think knowing multiple languages is extremely beneficial whether it is French and English or Spanish as well, no matter what business you are in. I think in Quebec, students should be forced to learn both languages to fluency whether they are French or Anglos. It really makes sense to me if you live in Quebec that both languages should be spoken fluently.
    Last edited by EagerBeaver; 03-15-2005 at 07:56 PM.

  4. #4
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    I find that students in Montreal and its suburbs have a better grasp of English than kids living in remote areas. I know because I grow up in a remote area. I learned English by watching television when I was a kid. My father taught me everything he knew, not much more than the basics, and I learned the rest on my own by watching HBO and Cinemax.

    I was lucky that we didn't have cable TV in my street; this should tell you how remote my house was! Anyway, we had to fall back on satellite TV. That was in the early days when every channel imaginable was free. Not being active in sports and such, it wasn't unlikely for me to watch 15 movies every weekend.

    So by the time I was 13, I was reasonably fluent in English. The English teacher at school even had me teach a class once. So obviously I was fairly aware of the level at which my fellow students were. What I noticed is that between Grade 4 and high school senior year, which is called Secondary 5 here, the curriculum was virtually the same in my neck of the woods. Kids were still learning the basics in Secondary 5 as they were in Grade 4.

    This was mostly because there was no opportunity to practice in this remote-area-that-shall-remain-nameless. When I moved to the Montreal suburbs for CEGEP (a two- or three-year college of general or technical education) I discovered that students were much more fluent in English.

    The same was true when I got to university. In fact, one of the first things one of my law school professors told us was that if you struggled with the language of Shakespeare, you should take remedial classes. As it turned out, many Supreme Court decisions, especially those dating back to the days when bilingualism wasn't mandatory, were solely in English. I consider myself lucky to have this knowledge. Then again, I always had a natural gift with languages. I've studied Spanish and German as well. But I'm just showing off now... :-)

    Even though I am by no means a separatist, I believe that the French language should be protected for culture's sake, as Chloe said. But we must be pragmatic and realize that learning English is the only way to break free, to be international, whether in business, pleasure, or hobbying.
    Hey! What kind of party is this? There's no booze and only one hooker.
    Futurama

  5. #5

    I Am All For Multi-Culturalism & Multi-Dimensionalism!!!

    JAG/Chloe: You are so cute when you rant. LORL!!! Oooooops, sorry, the professor can’t help teasing you again.

    As a general comment, from someone who speaks multiple languages and live in many different places, I certainly advocate multi-culturalism and multi-demensionalism. Perhaps that is the best way of life, to be able to enjoy freedom and knowledge to the maximum.

    As a more specific comment to EB’s initial posting and Ronnie’s response, I think a lot of monolingual, English speaking only hobbyists are hesitant to see Quebecoise SPs who have no or very limited English speaking ability. Surely they can make up a lot of grounds with the universal language of love. Still when you have to convey what you want many times over and the other party keep frowning at you just take a lot of fun and time away from the rendezvous. I would think in situation like this, the SPs should be able to communicate in English without difficulty at least conversationally. I do not mean absolutely, grammatically correct English conversation. I mean fluent enough conversational English. Again if both hobbyists and SPs speak the same languages, there will not be any issue.
    Last edited by louisisgreat; 03-15-2005 at 08:25 PM.
    Louisisgreat
    The exiled Philosopher King of the Pan Hellenistic Empire.
    Ο εξορισμένος βασιλιάς φιλοσόφων της παν αυτοκρατορίας Ελληνικη.

  6. #6
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    Back to the first point,

    i think that it's no big deal if a Quebec sp works in Toronto without speaking any English or very little of. Heck, the real language she needs to know is the language of luv .

    I've encountered many sps working in Montreal who only speak English, or allophone sps, and yet i've never found it a major problem. I would take a guaranteed gfe over anyone proficient in either French or English but who doesn't deliver the goods.

    And finally, concerning Quebec's policies on language issues, i agree with Chloé but i just wanted to add that not only is the Que. gvt worried about French-speaking people getting assimilated by the overwhelming English majority, my guess is that it also wants its newly-arrived immigrants to opt for French instead of English in the hopes that they will remain within the province of Quebec instead of heading to Toronto or the States.

    fml

    ps. that said, i'm a federalist
    fml

  7. #7
    REGNAD: the discussion between Chloe and Elvis would be quite a challenge to translate and it would lost much "flavour" in English. Lets just say this is an interesting difference of opinion on how some Ontarians master (or not) Molière's tongue.

    I think it is 2-1 for Chloe for now. I just hope this don't run into overtime for the non-French readers...

  8. #8
    Veteran of Misadventures
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    Quote Originally Posted by Train
    To put it in perspective , rural Quebec is almost the same as rural Alabama or Tenn.
    For those of you who want to fully appreciate the social significance of Train's quote, rent the movie "Deliverance", which involves the people Train is referring to.

    I find this debate somewhat interesting. I recall a few years ago I met a French Canadian lady who worked at a Montreal HDH agency, who was very young but spoke impressively good English. I asked her how she learned to speak English so well. Her answer: "I hang around mostly with Anglos." She gave absolutely no credit to the schools she went to.

  9. #9

    Its never been a problem with me.

    I have had many occasions where the SP or MP could not communicate with me easily as My french is not realy that good. With SPs it just means more BOINKING and less talking.

  10. #10
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    The remarks of hornydawg and Train are part of the same old anglocanadian rethoric of Quebec bashing.

    The anglos have always been jealous of the fact that we have a distinct culture and that our open minded french speaking females are part of that culture.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by EagerBeaver
    For those of you who want to fully appreciate the social significance of Train's quote, rent the movie "Deliverance", which involves the people Train is referring to.
    Hey, now. You folks are going to stir up trouble being that hard on the dear old South.

    Okay, there may be some...er...interesting places one can stumble across out there in the boonies. I won't even complain if you want to use an old favorite line of mine: "What most people don't realize is that The Dukes of Hazzard was a documentary."

    But "Deliverance" references go a touch too far. (Unless, of course, you're talking about certain parts of Florida... ...but then Florida's not part of the true South anyway...)

    (As for the denizens of Lac-Nullepartville, QC...well, they'll have to speak up for themselves.)

  12. #12
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    irony

    I find it ironic that a lot of the top PQ figures, either present or past, like M Parizeau, are quite proficient in English. And Landry seems to be proficient in Spanish as well.

    But, in the event that Quebec becomes an indepedent nation, most Quebec citizens will not be as fortunate as those PQ bigwigs as they will more likely than not stay unilingual francophone. Which is why i have often, deep in my heart, questioned the true motives of the leading PQ figures. My conclusion: they are probably driven mostly by one thing and one thing only, power.

    fml
    fml

  13. #13
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    Bien envoyé Elvis. Continue de répondre aux attaques au nom des nombreux francophones sur MERB qui comme moi ne sont pas aussi "fluent" en anglais que toi.

  14. #14
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    Can Chloe get an AMEN?!?!

    Well put, dear...
    Hey! What kind of party is this? There's no booze and only one hooker.
    Futurama

  15. #15

    ??thread title??

    from a newbie
    this thread has this gone the way of - why you don't start politcal discussions amongst friends in an elevator!
    being an Cdn anglophone & from the title, the context was how it would affect a SP's buisness. what i have seen in the spreadsheet, some don't speak any english - though we could theoretically speak the universal language - means these are excluded from my visiting.
    just my 2 cents.

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