Francophones account for only 22% of people in Canada. As a French-speaker, I sometimes feel like a minority. According to StatsCanada, the Francophone population is comprised of more bilingual persons than the Anglophone population. But I don’t believe in the word bilingual anymore. Most francophones don’t speak French properly; their conversations are crammed with English words awkwardly translated.
Take for example this ad from Bell (see below) for the 2011 Superbowl. It grabbed my attention for two reasons.
First of all, the visual is striking. The image offers a strong contrast; a football player vigourously trying to hold back a delicate, silky material.
The second factor that struck me was the sentence « Avec Bell Télé – Tous les jeux deviennent spectaculaires » which literally translated would mean « With Bell TV – Every game becomes spectacular ». This sentence is so wrong.
In English the word game can be used both when kids are playing and when two teams are competing against each other. However in French the word game (jeu) is used when people are playing for fun. It should never be used for professional sports. I can’t even begin to say how annoyed I am by this wording.
I was quick to get outraged by this obvious anglicism. To me the appropriate word should have been « match », which I noticed was written in smaller characters in the same ad. This is the word commonly used in France when talking about sports events.
But now that I think about it, « match » is not even a French word! Maybe the appropriate word should have been « partie ». Is it even possible to speak French without using any English words at all?
I sometimes feel that speaking or writing French properly is pointless. An increasing number of lazy French people use English words everytime they don’t know how to say something. When they manage to avoid English words, they will translate their thoughts word by word and their sentence ends up being as bad as a Google Translate translation. For example, I cringe every time someone says « bon matin », which is the literal translation of « good morning ». (Bonjour is the correst term).
French is slowly being smothered by the high popularity of English. However, I’m not blaming English people. It is the responsibility of French people to preserve their linguistic heritage.
The quality of French in Quebec? We’ll try next round.
Picture credit: This ad picture was taken from Bell’s official webpage.
* la Belle Province is the way the Province of Quebec is called in Quebec