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Haynes: Growing number of Quebecers ticking multiple boxes on language

Between 2006 and 2016, there was a significant increase in the number and percentage of people checking multiple language options in the Census. This trend is expected to continue.

“I would say there’s a bit of the inner anglophone in a lot of francophones and a fair bit of the inner francophone in a lot of anglophones in Quebec, particularly in Montreal," says Jack Jedwab, president of the Association for Canadian Studies and the Metropolis Institute.
In much of the English-speaking province of Quebec, especially Montreal, French-speaking We see a good deal of Francophones and a good deal of introverted Francophones," said Jacques Jedwab, president of the Canadian Research Association and the Metropolis Institute. Photo by Pierre Obendloff /Montreal Gazette File

A growing number of Quebec citizens surveyed themselves during the last census. refused to be boxed when reporting the language spoken by

Between 2006 and 2016, the number and percentage of people who checked more than one option when asked if their native language was French, English, or other significantly increased.

The 016 Census is often overlooked, says Jack Jedwab, president of the Canadian Research Association and the Metropolis Institute. However, based on a poll he conducted in July,he predicted that the multiple response rate would likely rise again when the 2021 Census data were released on August 17.

This key language hawk, a demographer and a politician will be looking to find out in the coming weeks how French is faring in the sea of ​​North American English.

With the passage of Bill 96to strengthen the protection of the French at the expense of the rights of ethnic minorities. ,results are landing after language tensions escalate in Quebec.Prime Minister François Legault has also indicated a key battleground in the fall election campaign, with Ottawa on the next front of his nationalist agenda to support immigrant choice to improve their knowledge of the French language.

But the reaction of ordinary Quebec citizens is that the question of identity is far more nuanced and complex than those in the political field would like to admit.

Between 2006 and 2016, Jedwab's analysis showed that the percentage of people who answered multiple language questions more than doubled. Most of the responses providing multiple answers were from the Montreal area.

This phenomenon is all the more remarkable given the way the 2016 questionnaire was presented, he added.

"For questions about ethnic origin, multiple answers are encouraged. You can give up to four answers," Jedwab said. "But for language questions, it doesn't say 'English, French, English and French, English and informal, or French and informal'. That's how the results are presented. In fact, ' Just provide "English", "French" or "Other". Also, we don't encourage you to check multiple boxes, so you should make an effort to do so.You have to say: 'Wait a minute...'" } Jedwab decided to explore the language identity issue a little deeper. In his online survey, which Léger conducted in early July, he asked more than 1,700 Canadians, including 477 Quebecers, what language they mostly speak. But it offered more options than the census form. For example, I had the following choices: French only. English only; mostly in French, but some in English. Mostly in English, but some in French. Mostly French, but some other. Most are in English, but some are in other languages. French and English as well. As well as French, English and others. Mostly French, some English, some other. Mostly English, some French, some other.

``When people define themselves outside of a single box and make those choices available, they are more likely to be unemployed than some identities in diversity. You'll find it adds complexity, which some tabloid columnists and politicians are probably aware of," Jedwab said.

Dividing responses between native French-speaking and English-speaking respondents found that 27% of French-speaking people across Quebec partially identified themselves. We found that 9% consider themselves equally French and English. That's his one in three in the polls.

On the other hand, a small majority of surveyed Anglophones in Quebec consider themselves partly or equally French speakers.

This trend was even more pronounced in Montreal, where 4 in 10 French-speaking people said they spoke mostly French and some English, or that French and English were more or less the same. 38% of English-speaking people considered themselves partly French and 14% equally English. and French.

"I think many Francophones in Quebec, especially Montreal, have a bit of an inner Anglophone, and many Anglophones have a great deal of an inner Francophone. We've seen a fair amount of mixing since Bill 101," Jedwab said. “I think some of this is also a function of people feeling more comfortable reporting multiple identities, at least going back to the census results. We can be content with them, rather than being discouraged by the mixture.”

The result is that Quebec language hawks and politicians as a black-and-white, all-or-nothing proposition.

Legault recently sparked controversy by suggesting that the language spoken at the dinner table is the only true benchmark for the health of French.Otherwise, Quebec will turn into Louisiana.But many experts believe this hurdle is too high, unfairly scapegoating immigrants and acknowledging the decline of French, a stage of language transition. refusal to acknowledge the success of Measure 101.

To make matters worse, Legault uses the same You have insulted millions of strangers and newcomers who have made great strides in doing things.

Quebecois responses to both the previous census and the most recent poll show that politicians' attitudes do not match those of the people. Montrealers in particular pride themselves on the fluidity of their language and refuse to be lumped into one box.

"In Montreal, bilingualism is just part of the landscape. It's inevitable," Jedwab said. "They may want to call it a dangerous reality, or continue to lash out at the idea, but that's just from what's happening in the field where people come and go in both languages." It's just a very distant vision, and if you've been walking the streets at comedy festivals, jazz festivals, etc. for the past few weeks, you're right."}

  1. People gather in NDG Park to protest against Bill 96 in Montreal, on Sunday, October 24, 2021. People gather in NDG Park to protest against Bill 96 in Montreal, on Sunday, October 24, 2021.

    Alison Haynes: Franchising Immigrants 'Great Success', Sociolinguist Says

  2. Jack Jedwab, president and CEO of the Association for Canadian Studies, says there is an overemphasis on language on the highly diverse island of Montreal, as opposed to the wider metropolitan region or Quebec as a whole, which skews the numbers.

    Quebec Free Fall

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