Impact of Good Talk campaigns in Quebec and French Canada

Inside Le Bon parle français brochurePhoto: Radio Canada/Nicole Lavergne Smith

The quality of the written and spoken language in Quebec and the rest of French Canada has long been the subject of criticism. Wim Remessen, Professor of Sociolinguistics and Language History at the University of Sherbrooke, explains how these criticisms led to the “Speak Well” campaigns in French.

Originally, the French in New France were compared to France. When the British took over the territory, a rupture arose between France and the French speakers of North America. The new words seem to refer to Canadian realities. Some words are no longer used in France, although they remain here. Englishwomen are the main focus of attention.

in mid 19NS century, the rhetoric becomes more fierce. “The diagnosis is very severe, it is really final: the French spoken by Quebecers is being abused. We have to intervene,” explains Wim Remisen. Relations between France, Canada and France are resuming. France understands that the language here is different.

Enhance the quality of the French language

Organizations promoting the quality of the French language were created, including the Académie canadienne-française in 1922 and the Société du bon parle français (SBPF) in 1923. The intelligentsia were invited to reach out to the common people. Newspapers publish records on the language. Media, including Radio Canada, are also joining in.

During this programme, Wim Remysen tells how current values ​​traditional rural language, how “good talk” campaigns have survived in the collective imagination of Quebec and Francophonie and explains that words from English are still used.

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