Re: [langue-fr] L'anglais est-il une langue universelle ?

From: Alain LaBonté  (
Date: Wed Dec 20 2000 - 16:06:37 EST

À 15:45 2000-12-20 -0500, John Cowan a écrit:
>Alain LaBonté scripsit:
> > Just as
> > an indication, Québec, a 7.5-million-people island of French speakers
> > which is surrounded by an ocean of monolithically English-speaking
> > community of 300 million users of this language public-wise (I mean
> > outside of homes), does not speak English (at least not enough to
> > understand a simple question on the phone and answer it) in a proportion
> > of approximately two thirds.

>I suggest that there are ideological reasons for this which do
>not apply to the rest of the world, which does not feel their
>native languages under such a threat as you describe, and feel
>freer to learn other languages as a matter of individual

[Alain] There is absolutely no ideological reason for this, in spite of
the well-known cliché. On the contrary, everybody here would like to know
English, even those who hate it as not being nice to hear (there are of
course exceptions, but they remain exceptions, I must tell you -- the trend
among independentists is to say that all Québecers should at least learn
English and Spanish as a second and third language, and perhaps Portuguese
as a fourth one -- Québec independentits being objectively those by which
NAFTA passed in Canada; when the issue was discussed the rest of the
country was divided on it while in Québec the North-American union was
widely supported, regardless of political opinions -- the soverigntists
were in power in Québec -- they still are, and currently go beyond this in
preaching a single currency throughout the Americas, horrifying a lot of

    A former independentist Québec Premier (Jacques Parizeau, not to name
him, and he is among the most vocal of "separatists") already said: "if I
ever see a guy who does not even try to learn English, I will kick kim in
the ass".

    That said, the learning of a second language beyond a primitive level
is not given to everybody, you must admit it. I would say that it is easier
to learn a third language because after the second one you have gained
enough confidence.

    Now all Western languages are relatively near one to each other (a
caricature with a bottom of truth: "English is a dialect of French, which
is but bad latin originally spoken by a Germanic tribe and which only got
refined"), but this is far to be the case with languages not in the
Indo-European group, and in this case, I infinitely doubt that more than a
tiny minority of these people will even be able to align two words in a row
in English and even understand what they are saying or writing... To me
this is the bare reality, and perhaps most Americans, even more than the
other peoples on earth, will agree with this. (;

    Cases like Michael Everson or Scott Horne are the admirable and noble
exception which confirms the rule, as we say in French ("l'exception qui
confirme la règle").

Alain LaBonté

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