The unofficial greeting in the bilingual Canadian city of Montreal has long been a friendly ‘Bonjour, Hi!’ But that standard is no more since a motion mandating store clerks to greet customers only in French was passed in Quebec’s provincial legislature. The move reaffirms French as the primary language in the province, where use of English can be controversial. The motion – which is not a law – was passed unanimously, but the province’s premier called the debate ‘ridiculous’. Introduced by the fiercely Francophile Parti Quebecois, the motion ‘invites all businesses and workers who enter into contact with local and international clients to welcome them warmly with the word bonjour‘.”
This is a great example of how culture isn’t just passively received, but it’s actively constructed. The call to defend cultural traits of a region to maintain it’s local distinctiveness is oftentimes why a region has a strong sense of place.
Tags: Canada, language, place, culture, landscape.