"Anglicization, or anglicisation (see -ise vs -ize), is the process of converting verbal or written elements of any other language into a form that is more comprehensible to an English speaker, or, in general, of altering something such that it becomes English in form or character" - Wikipedia
|The English bogeyman|
Do they mean that Quebecers will retain some of their language but incorporate and become dominated by English elements or culture, or do they mean that English is so threatening that Francophone Quebecers are in danger of turning into tea-swilling, English-speaking, monarchists, within a couple of generations?
Either way, the myth of the danger of Anglicization in Quebec is perhaps the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on Quebecers, by a dedicated cadre of separatist manipulators, a group that has invented, nurtured and fed the monstrous and unfortunately successful lie of the 'English Bogeyman' who imperils the very foundation of the French language and Francophone culture.
The hard core gloom and doomers in the 'French-is-in-danger' industry, the Pierre Curzis and Mario Beaulieus, pedal fear over supposed Anglicization in order to camouflage their hidden agenda, which is to frighten people into supporting their quest for Quebec sovereignty through subterfuge and sleight of hand.
The independence movement, born in the 1960s was based on the very real concern of the newly emancipated Francophone community (from the Church,) awakened to the fact that its continued domination by the Anglo minority that controlled the economic levers of power, perpetuated the situation whereby Francophones remained a poor and powerless underclass.
Back then, culture or language was not part of the independence debate, it was purely a question of class struggle. The FLQ manifesto, never mentioned anything about language, culture or assimilation. Read the manifesto
The quiet revolution, the fall of the Catholic Church, as well as the PQ's first term in office, forever changed the economic and social reality. Today, Quebec francophones and the state institutions that they created have rendered Quebecers masters of their domain, eliminating the English ruling class in the process.
Ironically, the very successful transformation of Quebec from a society dominated economically by the English and socially by the Church, led to the weakening of the sovereignty movement.
With most issues largely settled, coupled with the flight of a sizable portion of the English community out of the province, Quebec society lost a great deal of passion for sovereignty.
Today, those who remain passionately in favour of sovereignty can no longer employ the 'colonialist enslavement' argument and have had to redefine the issue of sovereignty away from the issue of economic emancipation.
And so the bogeyman of 'assimilation' is invented and the narrative of a disappearing language and culture created, as if a group of market researchers, admen, and spin doctors sat down and developed an advertising campaign to repackage and sell sovereignty, like a tired old product that most people had grown bored and indifferent to.
To their credit, the sovereigntists did a good job. A slick and addictive message, playing on the historical mistrust of the English by Francophones, reinvigorated the movement and like a Madonna makeover, the new and improved version is quite attractive.
And so the myth of Anglicization has been invented;
"Quebec stands on the precipice of its cultural and linguistic destruction.
Surrounded by the overbearing presence and influence of 350 million hostile Anglophones, Francophone society in Quebec is faced with the unrelenting pressure to Anglicize, as has happened in Louisiana and which is happening presently in small francophone communities across Canada.
Until an independent state of Quebec is created, wherein English can be officially eradicated, vigilance must be employed to fight off any English encroachment, no matter how small.
English, in its smallest manifestation is as dangerous as the dreaded flesh-eating disease, which if left untreated starts off as a tiny infection, only to spread rapidly, overpowering and consuming its unsuspecting and oblivious host. The only defense against the disease, is to cut out any and all traces of the infection, in its nascent stage."It is a nice story that resounds with too many. Unfortunately is a monstrous lie.
We hear variations of this doctrine repeated ad nauseam, even in the comments section of this blog.
But it is in fact nonsense, and an honest analysis of all its elements demonstrates that the basic premises of the danger of Quebec Anglicization are in fact unsupportable.
Now I'll get into the issue of debunking the specific myths, one at a time, later this week, but let me address a question to those Francophone readers of this blog who prescribe to the idea that their language and culture are in danger.
If Francophones de souche like yourself are in mortal danger of becoming anglicized, why isn't there any evidence today that this is happening, even early indicators?
If anglicization is real, shouldn't we already see at least a few of you manifesting signs that you are transforming yourselves in Anglos, like tadpoles evolving into frogs? (Yikes..., that was certainly a bad metaphor!)
Do you know ANYBODY.........a friend, a sister, a brother, a cousin or an acquaintance who has abandoned their Francophone roots and heritage and actually turned themselves into an Anglophone, or is in the process of doing so?
Now readers, I do admit that there is a group of francophones who do turn themselves into Anglophones and become assimilated to the English side of the language equation.
They are those Francophones who have married or partnered with an Anglophone and have decided to raise their family in the English culture.
These people certainly do exist, especially in the Montreal area and because one of the parents is English, the family has the option to send their offspring to English schools. Those who do so, ultimately Anglicize the entire family and that of their descendants.
BUT, statistics published by the EMSB, show that in these French/English relationships, the couple choose French as the family language over two-thirds of the time.
It is in fact, the exception that proves the rule!!
In fact, anglophone parents choose to send their children to French school a hundred times more often then French parents who send their children to English school!
The EMSB calculates that there are over 14,000 anglophones, eligible for English enrollment who choose a French educational path!
But this fact is conveniently forgotten as language militants would rather rage about the horrible consequences of a hundred or so ethnic students sidestepping Bill 101 through a loophole to attend English school each year, evidence that purports to show French language education under attack.
It is these, deceptive and grossly misleading arguments, selectively chosen by militants that is the basis of the Anglicization argument.
There is absolutely no concrete evidence, nor even the slightest indication that those born into francophone homes are in danger of becoming English.
Now don't be confused with statistics about French losing ground in Montreal, that is only a function of more immigrants arriving, they actually have no anglicizing effect on francophones.
The idea that French is being put in danger because more and more people are speaking English in Montreal, as put forward by French language militants, is a theory refuted by the historical evidence.
Back in the sixties when I was growing up, Montreal had twice as many anglophones as it has today and the city was offially bilingual with English and French signage abounding, sometimes English alone.
Most of the businesses were owned by Anglos and francophones were forced to speak English in the workplace.
Everything in the downtown core was mostly English (with a smattering of French) and it certainly is true that English was the norm at Eaton's, with Francophones shopping at Dupuis Freres, far across the famous English/French dividing line, St. Lawrence Boulevard.
All the big theaters on Ste. Catherine street played English movies exclusively. When I was a kid, I hardly ever met or interacted with a Francophone, in my neighborhood or downtown!
There was no Bill 101 to protect the French language or impose restrictions on Anglos.
English was as pervasive and dominating as French is today, yet francophones weren't anglicized at all. They remained French!!!
If today's militants think that an English sign here and there, or being served by a unilingual English clerk once in a while, or working under a couple of unilingual English bosses in the National Bank is a danger to the French language, they should have lived in the sixties.
Back then, the forces described by militants today as anglicizing elements, were present in factors that dwarf what we see today.
The truth that militants hide, is the fact that Francophone society is quite resilient and has thrived for hundreds of years, even through the decades when Montreal was completely dominated by the English and through linguistic conditions that were far, far worse than today.
Today, more people speak French in Quebec than ever in the history of the province.
Tomorrow more people will speak French in Quebec than today, the day after, even more.
The French language and Francophone culture has never been in a stronger position. Period.
Now readers, attacking a sacred cow is never easy and I know that I'll take a bit of heat for this unpopular position.
To those who disagree, please avoid personal or nasty remarks. Make your case using facts.
I promise that like bowling pins, I'll knock your arguments down, because the very premise that French is under threat is the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on Quebecers......
Wednesday...Exploding on the myths, one at a time.