7 thoughts on “Anglos really do speak French

  1. Christopher DeWolf

    Unfortunately, the Journal’s stories have already worked themselves into the collective psyche, enough that La Presse’s recent turn at linguistic rabble-rousing seems predicated on the assuming that it is indeed hard to be served in French in Montreal. I’ve lost track of all the headlines that refer to “le déclin du français” as if it was a fact.

    It’s like a game of telephone…

  2. Mike

    There is a difference between the gazette and the journal stories though. In a store, there is always someone who speaks french, even if there are several unilingual anglos. However, the fact revealed in the Journal, that unilingual anglos are still being hired for jobs dealing with the public, that’s unacceptable. Thats something people like Chris fail to understand, and seeing how he lives in Quebec, it’s disapointing to see.

  3. Christopher DeWolf

    “People like me” fail to understand what, exactly? That every other store is secretly brimming with unilingual anglophones who are contemptuous of French?

    The Journal story did not reveal that “unilingual anglos are still being hired for jobs.” It revealed that one francophone journalist posing as a unilingual anglophone was hired by 15 stores out of 97. The implication is that this kind of thing happens all the time, but the Journal offers no actual evidence to that effect.

    Nobody has hard numbers that show exactly how many unilingual anglophones work in retail sectors and how many are incapable of serving people in French. The closest we have is the informal OQLF survey of 2,400 downtown stores that concluded that only 10% were unable to offer service in French.

    I’ve witnessed a café employee replying to a customer’s requests in English only, which I found rude and insulting. But I’ve also seen thickly-accented anglophones go to great lengths to serve their francophone customers in French.

  4. Yul B.


    Unilingual Hispanophones are often hired for jobs “dealing with the public” in New York. Even more so in, say, LA or Miami. Yet no one complains.

    Actually that’s not true: Plenty of people complain. Just not the kinds of people who I’d have thought you’d want to be associated with.

  5. Pingback: lost (and found) in translation « don’t mind me, just talking to myself

  6. Josh

    What’s unacceptable, Mike, is pressure from political organizations on small businesses with respect to who they should or should not hire. This is one area where I really think the market is probably what should dictate who gets what job.

    If a store in Chinatown wants employees who don’t really speak French (or English), that should be their business. They’ll just lose out on French- (and English-)speaking customers. Ditto for Little Italy. Or Westmount.

    You’re unhappy that a coffee shop isn’t serving in French? Tell the manager. Then walk across the street to the other coffee shop.


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