Our tour of Montreal ended at St. Joseph’s Oratory on the top of a hill on the West-end of the city center.
“This area is known as Mount Royal in English” the tour guide crackles over the some-times working microphone…
“Hmm, Mount Royal?.. I wonder how they say that in French?” – I ask to NO-ONE listening to me on the double-decker bus tour….
“MontReal….” I sarcastically answer to myself out loud… at least I thought it was funny..
We had a fantastic time in Quebec.. both Quebec City and Montreal. We tried our best to speak what we could string together in french. “I’m going to take a french class when we get back to Calgary”… and so I did!
My professor, a true Parisian.. (From Paris) speaks little english in the class… learn french by immersion I guess!
Most of the students.. younger than me… some by a lot..
“Today we’re going to learn about Gender Pro-nouns”…… says the prof…. “Uh-oh,” I shudder in my head… “Well, maybe not all millennial fit into the stereotype… heck.. I’m technically a Millennial… barely.. but it counts!”
“If the noun is Male… you muuuuust! Identify it using the male”….. Jaws drop to the floor, hands are raised IMMEDIATELY!
“But, in today’s society, some people do not identify as a certain given gender, what then?”… Many nod in agreement….
*The look on my professor was probably the same look I had, but lucky for me I didn’t have to answer the questions…. I won’t bore my readers with details.. but you can imagine this debate went on for quite some time….. “It just IS that way.. It’s LIKE THAT!”
Ok.. moving on…. “Ils means a group of male… and Elle’s is a group of female… HOWEVER… if you have ANY male in the group.. you use MALE”….. (Say whaaaat!?!?!)….. “Yes, even if you have 5000 female and 1 male… you use the MALE version”…… (Oh, boy! This is going to take a while!)
Long-story short, again!, … “It’s just like that!”
So, what’s my point today… well I kind of have 2 points:
First, gender issues are now being brought to LANGUAGE itself… many languages follow a similar set of rules, French and Spanish are the most notable examples… We as a society are soon going to force changes to centuries-old languages.. today we saw the official Senate bill to change our National Anthem to the Gender Neutral world we now live in, at least in the English version .. which brings me to point number 2…
BC’s Pipeline debacle – I feel that both sides are simply trying to shove their views and beliefs into the business world, and simply forcing the other side to “Deal with it, it’s the way it is!” A simple way to tell a toddler to stop asking questions, but not a way to transact government/business transactions with billions of dollars, jobs, energy issues, public safety, and the environment at stake.
As I felt in Quebec, I’m a visitor to their province, and felt a certain civilized obligation to atleast attempt to speak French… In fact after I got the word “bonjour” out of my mouth, the hotel staff/ tim hortons cashier, almost anyone! Quickly and politely switched to english to carry on the transaction…
The abrupt tourist behind me in line that DEMANDED English was met with coldness and contempt… (Honestly… I kind of get it… If I’m a guest and I’m forcing the locals to accept my way-of-life, I shouldn’t be surprised when I’m met with a cold-shoulder…
So, British Columbia has people that have actual concerns about their provinces future. They’re afraid of the changes that are happening, and want to stand for what they believe in.. (I get that!) … There may also be people that are misinformed, and need to have a truthful, and educated discussion,.. (I get that too.)
But I can almost guarantee that by pressuring legal action, and threatening tit-for-tat trade reactions get the same look given from that hotel-clerk at the front desk…
That’s your Hot Topic Thursday,