IRL Word Police

IRL Word Police

Corey WilsonThursday,11 February 2016

Grammar Nazis. The word police. Internet manifestations? Oh no, dear reader. They are real, and they have infiltrated the government. The Office Quebecoise de la Langue Francaise (OQLF) is one such infiltrator.

On Monday the OQLF reported that it’s currently investigating a play structure (yes, a jungle gym) at Herbert Park. They’re not investigating the borough of St. Leonard, or the park itself for nefarious activities: drug dealers at the monkey bars, corruption near the swing set. They’re investigating the play structure—a planetary themed play structure.

The suspect, a rotating tic-tac-toe panel for children, has nine spinning cylinders. Each cylinder depicts a planet and the name of the planet in different languages.

Unfortunately, Pluto appears on the cylinders, and any idiot can tell you that Pluto is a dwarf planet. Duh.

Just kidding.

The issue the OQLF has with the jungle gym hasn’t anything to do with the planets. No, they’ve taken offence to the fact that the languages on the cylinders are identified in English. Meaning, under the word “Marte” the word “Spanish” is denoted instead of the French word for Spanish “Espanol.”

This tic-tac-toe board is in direct violation of Bill 101. A bill stating that all signage must be more prominent in French.

Stupid? A little, but if you thought the OQLF was just looking out for deez keeds, let’s look back on January 15, 2016.

A sandwich shop in Quebec City, La Mama Grilled Cheese, was investigated and contacted by the OQLF because signs in their shop contained English words: “enjoy” and “grilled cheese.” The OQLF would prefer shop owners in Quebec call it “sandwich au fromage fondant,” or “sandwich au framage fondu,” because—as is always the case in French—why use two words when you can use four?

The OQLF is just trying to preserve the French language, you might say. Fine. Let’s skip ahead to January 28, 2016. I’d like to point out that these three complaints are all within a month of each other.

The Burgundy Lion, a pub in Little Burgundy was targeted by the OQLF for a sticker they placed on the front window. The sticker in question, reads “Recommended on tripadvisor.ca” in lettering less than a centimeter high.

The OQLF has contacted more than 300 business-owners about the same sticker.

In another instance last September the board received a complaint about Cupcakes Emmagination. On a chalkboard sign in their shop the words “catering” and “traiteur” were written in the same size. So in this case, it’s not even as if the French language was forgotten, as was the case with the jungle gym. Someone complained because the French word wasn’t bigger than the English word.

Emmanuelle Chasse, the owner of Cupcakes Emmagination said it best:

“I think that there’s many more uses for the funding that the OQLF receives than what they’re doing with their funding. It’s a useless organization and it’s fear mongering. It’s bullying as well.”

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Image Credit: daveynin on Flickr



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