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FRENCH LANGUAGE

French woman denied Quebec residency because ‘French wasn’t good enough’

A French woman seeking permanent residency in Quebec was turned down on grounds on her French was not good enough.

French woman denied Quebec residency because 'French wasn't good enough'
Place Jacques Cartier is a historic square in Montreal. Photo: Diliff/Wikimedia Commons
Emilie Dubois, 31, has lived in the mainly French-speaking province since 2012, completed her doctoral thesis at Laval University in Quebec City in French, started a small business in the province and even passed a language test.
   
But all that wasn't enough to convince Quebec officials to give her an immigration suitability certificate that is a prerequisite to gaining permanent residency.
   
“It's absurd,” she told AFP.
 
The story has drawn considerable attention in France. 
 
French is the official language of government, commerce and the courts in Quebec — a former French colony ceded to Britain in 1763.
   
But the province's French majority has often faced criticism for its arguably heavy-handed defence of the language of Molière.
   
Most recently a backlash ensued over plans to require anyone wanting services in English to prove their ancestral English roots in the province.
   
According to a letter from the Quebec immigration ministry, Dubois was turned down because she had not completed her dissertation entirely in French.
   
One chapter of her doctoral thesis on cellular and molecular biology was written in English because it was a scholarly article published in a scientific journal. But the other four chapters were written in French.
   
“It's absurd, but I must believe that someone just made a mistake,” said Dubois, a Francophone from Burgundy in eastern France.
   
“You just have to look at the reality of things and not consider that we are just boxes, folders, numbers, but that we are real people and if they have doubts, they can also reach out to us.”
   
Quebec's immigration minister, Simon Jolin-Barrette, is reportedly aware of the case and has asked for a review.
   
Determined to press on, Dubois said “my desire to stay in Quebec is stronger.”

Member comments

  1. For those of you not familiar with the absurdity of Quebec’s thinking on the french language, Quebec is probably the only country in the world where the Stop sign says Arret. Even in France, the signs say STOP.
    How cretinous is that.

  2. Love to hear Quebequoise French. Love their insistence on Arret. In England we appreciate eccentricity. Do they still say chien-chaud for hot-dog ? Vive la difference! btw the French lady should obviously be allowed her residency in Quebec..to refuse her is too silly !

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FRENCH LANGUAGE

‘Sac iconique’: France unveils French shopping terms to replace English versions

A commission that seeks to act as a guardian of the French language has published a string of recommendations for translations of shopping and style terms, to replace widely-used English ones.

'Sac iconique': France unveils French shopping terms to replace English versions

Perhaps inspired by this month’s Paris Fashion Week, the non-binding recommendations from the Commission for Enrichment of the French Language were published in Wednesday’s Official Journal.

Instead of an “it-bag” — defined as “a handbag in the latest fashion or that stands for a brand” — ministries and businesses are encouraged to write “sac iconique“.

An “it-boy” or “it-girl” can now safely be described as an “icone de la mode” and a “must-have” transforms into an “incontournable“, while “try before you buy” becomes “essayer-acheter”.

There are also more baffling business terms that may be unfamiliar to many native English speakers, like “digital native vertical brand” (“marque integree nee en ligne“).

Set up in 2015, the Commission for Enrichment of the French Language aims to “provide French vocabulary appropriate to the need for communication that is clear and accessible to the greatest number of people”, it said in the introduction to its 2021 annual report.

Led by a member of the Academie Francaise — founded in 1635 under King Louis XIII to guard “pure” French — the Commission says it “recalls to a broad audience the importance of having and using French vocabulary so as to keep our language functional”.

Given the dominance of English in global business and technology, its terms are the most frequently targeted for translation into the language of Moliere.

“These days there’s no invention, innovation or discovery that doesn’t have its corresponding term, increasingly often in English,” the Commission said in its report.

“The flow of new concepts that must be defined and named in French is therefore continuous.”

The report cited fields including hydrogen power, the Covid-19 pandemic and malicious digital activities as recent areas to which  its 20-odd expert groups have turned their attention.

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