Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Quebec English is the common term for the set of various linguistic and social phenomena affecting the use of English in the predominantly French-speaking Canadian Province of Quebec and more specifically in the Greater Montreal Area.
There is reputedly no linguistic evidence for the existence of any distinct regional dialects or varieties of Quebec English, the more so in that there are no distinctive phonological features and very few restricted lexical features common among all first-language speakers of English from or raised in Quebec. Nonetheless, it has been clearly demonstrated that most second-language speakers of English or persons acculturated in an environment in which such speakers dominate, be they francophones or allophones, do use an interlanguage of French and English or a distinct pronunciation arising from social concentration ethnic enclaves. What some perceive as "Quebec English" is thus more likely to consist of the practices by speakers of English who hail from such communities, especially so since alone or together they may outnumber first-language English-speakers, and certainly outnumber those acculturated only among English-speakers and in the English language.
This characteristics are not necessarily unique. Even accounting for Montreal's relatively recent adoption of French as the dominant public language, little apart from small vocabulary differences appears to separate Quebec first-language speakers of English from the greater pan-Canadian and English North American Sprachraum. While first-language speakers of English are a minority only in Quebec (under 10%), they form part of an overwhelming majority both in Canada (67%) and in North America north of the Rio Grande (over 98%), such that there is more American television and music available in Quebec than UK or English-Canadian cultural products combined. This may be one of the reasons why Quebec English has no unifying and unique characteristic that would render it a distinct dialect.
Other reasons include concentration and permeability. With regard to concentration, the vast majority of Quebec-born-and-raised first-language English-speakers (roughly 90%) now live in the Greater Montreal area, a phenomenon that is historically recent. With regard to permeability, a strong influx of Anglophones move to or visit Quebec on an ongoing basis — particularly Montreal, with two major English-language universities and a number of American and Canadian employers (notwithstanding employment laws which require that employers over a certain size must hold company meetings and conduct internal company business in French). In the summer months, similarly roughly half of all tourists are said to be anglophones from the U.S. or from Canadian provinces other than Quebec.
The symbol N@ denotes a language practice which is neither used nor deemed acceptable in English-language writing and broadcasting in Quebec. The same lack of acceptability holds true by any outside-Quebec anglophone's notion of English.

Quebec English French-language Phenomena in English (not restricted to Quebec only)

English-speaking Quebecer
Quebec French
Canadian English

No comments: