The other bilingualism | The Journal of Montreal

Some ill-intentioned people say that, in certain businesses in the greater Montreal area, it is difficult to find salespeople who speak a language other than English.

It’s wrong.

Yes, there are a lot of sellers whose primary language is English.

But the majority are bilingual.

They speak English and Greek.

English and Mandarin.

English and Punjabi.

English and Persian.

English and Turkish.


It happened to me some time ago. I go with my girlfriend into a store in Laval and the saleswoman only speaks English.

As she always does in this case, Sophie asks to speak to the manager.

“Why did you hire a unilingual anglophone to serve clients?

– She is not unilingual, she speaks Mandarin.

– Uh … because Mandarin is one of Canada’s official languages?

– You will know, madam, that we have a lot of Asian customers … “

It’s like the great writer Mordecai Richler I interviewed when I was a young journalist at Voir.

“You’ve spent your whole life in Montreal, why don’t you speak French?

– And you ? Why don’t you speak Yiddish? He replied in English.

For this man who did not stop ridiculing the defenders of French (he had already written in the prestigious New Yorker that a francophone had lodged a complaint with the Office québécois de la langue française because the parrot of an animal shop did not speak not French, which was of course totally wrong), there were two important languages ​​in Montreal: English and Yiddish.

I’m coudonc.


In fact, the decline of French in Montreal hides another reality, which political correctness prevents us from addressing.

(Warning to the rabbits: stop reading this text immediately, because you may be offended for the rest of your life.)

Some immigrants – not all: SOME – don’t give a damn about Quebec culture.

For them, Quebec is a province of Canada. And Canada is a country whose official language is English.

Point final.

You show them pictures of Charles Lafortune, Guy A. Lepage and Véronique Cloutier, and they shrug their shoulders.

They have no idea who these personalities are.

Our culture, our language and our history do not interest them.

For them, Montreal is a North American city.

They study in English, they work in English, they live in ghettos where only English is spoken and, in the evening, thanks to the satellite dish they have installed on their balcony, they watch TV from their country of origin.

And all they know about the newspaper you are reading is what The Gazette says about it.

The result is that…


I don’t know how many times I get pizza or chicken, and the delivery man doesn’t speak a word of French.

I don’t want to discuss Mathieu Bock’s latest book with him-
Side. Just hear him say “Thank you” and “Good evening”.

It seems like too much to ask.

That managers of restaurant chains do not even bother to teach these two little words to their delivery people speaks volumes about the contempt they have for Quebec.

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