(Wikimedia Commons)

Quebec language office OKs English words grilled-cheese, hashtag

English word, “parking,” may now be used in French, as well as its equivalent, “stationnement”

English-language words such as hashtag, grilled-cheese, and parking are now acceptable in everyday French-language conversation in Quebec society, according to guidelines recently updated by the province’s language watchdog.

The changes were implemented in January, but the revised dictionary by the Office quebecois de la langue francaise only became widely known recently.

OQLF spokesman Jean-Pierre Le Blanc said Tuesday it’s the first time the watchdog’s guidelines have been changed since 2007.

“We’re always reviewing words to see if they’re acceptable or not,” Le Blanc said in an interview. “I’m sure it’s several dozen (words) that have been anglicized.”

Quebec’s language office is infamous across Canada for its strict application of the province’s language laws.

Every few months a story makes headlines across the country of some language inspector fretting over English-language signage.

The OQLF caused an international stir in 2013 when an inspector warned a popular restaurant in Montreal over its use of the Italian word, “pasta,” on menus, as opposed to the French word, “pates.”

But the OQLF, through its website, also offers Quebecers linguistic tools and other resources on how best to use the French-language.

The recent changes were made by a five-member linguistics committee composed of francophones who reviewed research done by the provincial agency.

In some cases, using both the English or the French equivalent of words got the committee’s seal of approval.

For example, the English word, “parking,” may now be used in French, as can its proper French-language equivalent, “stationnement.”

Under the language bureau’s policy, words are reviewed based on a long list of detailed criteria, which include their general usage in Quebec.

Le Blanc said words from other languages have also crept into daily French usage, such as cafe latte, gelato and trattoria.

Benoit Melancon, professor of French literature at Universite de Montreal, said he understands why some Quebecers might be more worried about the use of English words — known as anglicisms — than people in France.

“The French are more comfortable using anglicisms because their language isn’t threatened in any way,” he said in an interview. “But here, because of demographic reasons, we feel more threatened.

“We’re surrounded by anglophones so it’s normal to think that we should protect French more than in other places from words coming from different places.”

He noted that in France, they use the word “footing” instead of jogging.

“Footing doesn’t exist in English, but it’s used as an English word,” Melancon said.

Melancon gave the provincial language agency top marks for having a “realistic” policy which also encourages the use of French words.

“It’s not worth going to war over “grilled-cheese” because it’s common usage,” he added.

Some examples of English and French words that are both considered acceptable:

Cocktail or Coquetel

Parking or Stationnement

Grilled-cheese or Sandwich au fromage fondant

Hashtag or Mot-clic

Source: Le grand dictionnaire terminologique

Peter Rakobowchuk, The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Organizer, Victoria councillor, VicPD talk about upcoming rally for Black lives

‘It’s a simple ask’: Peace rally for Black lives organizer asks people to listen

George Floyd mural appears on Victoria street

Victoria artist Paul Archer painted the mural outside his shop on Fort Street

PHOTOS: Dozens show up to rebuild vandalized Victoria people-less protest

Chalk messages of support surround the fountain in Centennial Square

Oak Bay clinic opens virtual classes to public for fundraiser

Patient activity is up for cancer-supporting clinic during COVID-19 crisis

Vancouver Island’s current COVID-19 case count officially hits zero

Of the 130 recorded Island Health cases, five people have died, 125 recovered

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Most Read