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2005 11 04
Language
imageIt might be latent Trudeau-worship, but Toronto's anglophonic excesses have reached a feverish pitch. My first language is English, and we spoke English at home growing up in Ottawa, but my parents (this was the 70s!) sent me to an entirely French school so that I would become a proper bilingual Canadian. Although I chose to study English Literature at university, I was able to speak French in Ottawa and during my university years in Montreal.

My first awareness of the truly unilingual way in which most Canadians live occurred when I lived three years in Vancouver.

But living in Toronto allowed me to see an exponentially more obvious manifestation of anglophone Canadians' ignorance of French. I attended an awards ceremony at the University of Toronto's Victoria College a few weeks ago, and the registrar of the college presided as the MC, calling each student to the stage to receive his or her scholarship. My Quebecoise friend, Elise Paradis, whom anyone in this country should, by all accounts, know to pronounce "Paradee" (e.g., without pronouncing the final "s") had to walk up to the stage upon hearing, from the registrar (a woman likely to spend much of her time pouring over proper names from all over the world) that she was Elise "ParadiSS".

I must admit, it was a zinger. While the city is full of muliti-ethnic populations scattered boutique style in many different neighbourhoods, it nonetheless remains bullishly intransigent when it comes to learning its country's other official language.

Weird and annoying, and one of the (perhaps unfair, but multiple) reasons Toronto is looked upon by the rest of the country as a navel-gazing vortex.....

Posted by Nyla on the Member's site
[email this story] Posted by R Ouellette on 11/04 at 05:24 PM

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