Hello! I mean, bonjour? As Americans are dealing with wildfires, tax overhauls, collusion and the looming threat of an unfriendly dictator, our neighbors up in Quebec have another hot issue on their plates. Legally, how should business owners greet their customers? In which language?
As you may know, Quebec is a former French colony that was passed to the British after France lost the Seven Years War in 1763. To this day, Quebec’s language and culture identity runs DEEP, and their official language is French. Like France, Quebec has an agency which dictates it’s language – what is considered correct and French-Canadian enough, in other words. “Drag queen” was recently added to their list of approved words, while email still remains as courriel.
What’s the drama? This agency has passed a motion that business owners must greet customers with “Bonjour” as opposed to the bilingual-friendly “Bonjour Hi” greeting that is widely used to welcome both native-English and native-French speakers. People are a little ticked off – understandably. Looks like the agency is struggling to balance the preservation of language and culture without overreaching it’s authority. (One time a pet shop got in trouble because it had a parrot that was only speaking English, according to the New York Times – that’s how serious this is).
Something to keep in mind: The United States doesn’t have an official national language yet, and currently the amount of Spanish-speakers living here is only second in the world to Mexico. Hello Hola?
Posted by Giana