Would the government of Quebec be receptive to the idea of an international language?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Le lingua francese in le mundo Explanation:
Blau obscur: lingua maternal ;
Blau: lingua de administration ;
Blau molle: lingua del cultura ;
Vert: minoritates francophone.

There's an opinion piece here from the Montreal Gazette by Michel Kelly-Gagnon, president of the Quebec Employers Council, entitled "Quebecers must learn English to play on international stage", which is pretty much what its title suggests: that Quebec is being too stubborn in resisting English as a means of communication, that it is losing out on international opportunities given that most of them are conducted in English:
A scientist from Denmark meets with government officials in China, and they converse in English. A conference of Eastern European and Turkish business people is conducted in English. The same at a meeting of Asian environmental activists in Tokyo.
and that other countries like the Netherlands have done just fine learning English quite well without their languages being in any danger.

Well, to a certain extent. The city of Brussels in Belgium for example is historically Dutch-speaking, and is now almost exclusively French, so there are certainly examples of the opposite occurring where too much internationalization results in a language disappearing from a city or region.

The article continues with the following:
Happily, more and more people, including many enlightened nationalists, understand that this is not a debate of sovereignty vs Canadian unity. For example, earlier this year Parti Québecois leader Pauline Marois said one of Quebec's priorities must be to teach English to francophone students. She said that instruction should begin in Grade 1, that courses such as geography or history might well be taught in English, and that all children ought to be functionally bilingual by the time they graduate from high school. Crucially, she also pointed out that proficiency in English among francophones would not diminish the importance, position or use of French in Quebec - an observation also supported by numerous studies.
Given that the population of French is continuing to increase*, I don't see any danger for the language in the future worldwide but Quebec is still pretty isolated and I can empathize with both sides. Given the situation, it also stands to reason however that Quebec politicians may be the most receptive in the country to the idea of an international language to replace English, so perhaps it would be a good idea to try to contact a few of them and see what the response is. The best course of action would likely be a letter written entirely in Interlingua to demonstrate how easy it is for them to understand, because then there's no need to go over the general introduction to the idea of an IAL as you have to with other languages, because you've already shown it.

In a few days I think I'll see if I can find a few good names (maybe here) and perhaps I'll contact them myself.

* http://www.cecif.com/?page=la_francophonie "Le français, langue en évolution Dans beaucoup de pays Francophones, surtout sur le continent africain, une proportion importante de la population ne parle pas couramment le français (même s'il est souvent la langue officielle du pays). Ce qui signifie qu'au fur et à mesure que les nouvelles générations vont à l'école, le nombre de Francophones augmente: on estime qu'en 2015, ceux-ci seront deux fois plus nombreux qu'aujourd'hui."

English translation: In many Francophone countries, especially on the African continent, a large proportion of the population does not speak fluent French (even if it is often the country's official language). This means that as new generations are going to school, the number of Francophones increases: it is estimated that by 2015, they will be twice as many as today. "


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