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Government Entertainment Games News

Quebec Says 'Non' To English-Only Video Games 554

Posted by Soulskill
from the cette-ligne-est-mal-écrit-en-français dept.
daveofdoom writes "The French-Canadian government of Quebec is saying 'non' to English-only video games if French versions are available. 'It's causing a lot of consternation among retailers and gamers alike, who fear the rules will lead to delays in video games arriving in the province, and may not accomplish what the law intends, which is to promote and protect the French language.' This is a ridiculous rule, as game companies can simply stop creating French versions of games to bypass the restriction."
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Quebec Says 'Non' To English-Only Video Games

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  • by Frosty Piss (770223) on Friday April 03, 2009 @11:07PM (#27454669)
    Wow. Let the French jokes AND Canadian jokes commence!
    • by binarylarry (1338699) on Friday April 03, 2009 @11:23PM (#27454769)

      Looks like its about time to surrender, eh?

    • Re:Choice fodder! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Redlazer (786403) on Friday April 03, 2009 @11:37PM (#27454873) Homepage
      As a Canadian, I would like to make it very, very clear that the rest of Canada, especially here in BC, have absolutely no patience, concern, or otherwise good will towards anyone who would consider them "Quebecois".

      Those responsible for creating the idea that we are in any way supportive of our irritating french neighbours, have been sacked.

      -The Canadians

      • As another Canadian, I support the parent posts statement.

        • Not so much! (Score:5, Informative)

          by PIBM (588930) on Saturday April 04, 2009 @12:56AM (#27455281) Homepage

          If you had taken the time to read about this specific thing, you'd learn that not only is this old news (this was done in 2007!), but that the CANADIAN association of video game signed this bill.

          Also, any computer game has been subject to this exact bill since october 2007. The only difference is that now, console games are also covered.

          If you took the time to read the description, you'd have learned that distributor are mandated to offer the french version of a game provided that it already exists somewhere else.

          The bill specifies that any reseller can sell the english version as long as they also offer the french version if it exists. I'm a french quebecer and I kept buying english computer games without noticing anything.

          The only problem that I heard about caused by this bill so far has been with world of warcraft, for which the french version was originally built for playing on european servers, so you could not play with a friend who bought the english version...

            You might find this interesting:
          http://www.oqlf.gouv.qc.ca/francisation/consommateurs/secteur/jeux_video/jeuxvideo.html [gouv.qc.ca]

          • Re:Not so much! (Score:5, Informative)

            by SpiderClan (1195655) on Saturday April 04, 2009 @07:55AM (#27456813) Journal
            I have two replies to this. First, the Canadian association of video games is comprised of game developers. It is in no way representative of Canadians and they were responding to the Quebec government in the way that made the most financial sense to them.

            Second, I think the GP was slightly exaggerating, or doesn't know much beyond his small area of Canada. The problem isn't with those who consider themselves Quebecois, since that would be both unreasonable and, in many cases, hypocritical. The problem is with those who consider themselves Quebecois as opposed to Canadian, and don't believe/recognize that they can be both.

      • Re:Choice fodder! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by supernova_hq (1014429) on Saturday April 04, 2009 @12:06AM (#27455049)
        Here, here. As much as I love Quebec and their people (spent 2 weeks there and speak fluent french), nobody makes fun of the Quebecers more than the rest of us Canadians!

        Disclaimer: I love the Quebec people, it's their governing bodies and the asinine laws they pass that I can't stand. oh, yeah...Eh!
        • Re:Choice fodder! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by HybridJeff (717521) on Saturday April 04, 2009 @12:20AM (#27455121) Homepage
          As a Canadian born in Quebec I would like to add a big fuck you to all the Quebecois language bigots who feel it should be their job to stomp all over the rights of Quebecers in the name of "protecting" their language. A language does not define a culture, people should be allowed to communicate in any manor of their choosing.
          • by icannotthinkofaname (1480543) on Saturday April 04, 2009 @12:32AM (#27455165) Journal

            people should be allowed to communicate in any manor of their choosing.

            (1) That should be "manner", not "manor". Unless, of course, you meant that we should be able to communicate in any elite house of our choice. If that is the case, I apologize.

            (2) If I ever meet you IRL, I will be sure to communicate only in gestures with ambiguous interpretations, because that is how I shall choose to communicate. :D

            • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 04, 2009 @01:33AM (#27455455)

              Sadly that *is* French.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by ultranova (717540)

              (2) If I ever meet you IRL, I will be sure to communicate only in gestures with ambiguous interpretations, because that is how I shall choose to communicate. :D

              As it happens, neither sign language nor hand-waving are forbidden by law, so you go right ahead and do so.

          • Re:Choice fodder! (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 04, 2009 @12:56AM (#27455279)

            As a Canadian born in Quebec I would like to add a big fuck you to all the Quebecois language bigots who feel it should be their job to stomp all over the rights of Quebecers in the name of "protecting" their language. A language does not define a culture, people should be allowed to communicate in any manor of their choosing.

            Yet, nobody seems to mind when Americans bitch and whine about speaking Spanish in America and "protecting" the English language...

            Just sayin'

          • Re:Choice fodder! (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Koda (465239) on Saturday April 04, 2009 @06:37AM (#27456519)

            Actually, language DOES help define culture within a society. Certain concepts simply do not exist or translate well in some languages. Here are two examples where there are translations, but the are imperfect; where something of the essence of the concept is truly "lost in translation":
            - "Liberty" does not have a perfect 1:1 translation in Russian.
            - "Personal space" does not have a perfect 1:1 translation in Japanese.

            If something cannot be expressed in language, it cannot be communicated between people, and it usually is not part of the culture.

            Sadly, the concept of being an a**hole to somebody that can't speak our native language seems to be shared by English and French speakers alike.

      • Re:Choice fodder! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Mawen (317927) on Saturday April 04, 2009 @03:49AM (#27456007) Journal

        As a Canadian, I would like to make it very, very clear that the rest of Canada, especially here in BC, have absolutely no patience, concern, or otherwise good will towards anyone who would consider them "Quebecois".

        -The Canadians

        Hey...! Speak for yourself. As an Albertan, I think Quebecois are important part of our country and that we all need to grow up and learn to get along, even if it means we westerners and other english canadians have to grow up first.

        Sure the federal politics and apparent provincial idiocy regarding language protection have been very annoying for a very long time, but I believe in our nation of Canada, and I do not want to throw my fellow Canadians under the bus (even if some of them would throw me as an Albertan under the bus -- although it seems people from other eastern provinces do it too.)

        Relations between french and english Canada seems to have always been difficult, but I don't think it is impossible. Hating each other and saying we wish Quebec would separate is not going to help. We don't need a big hole of alienated or separated people in the middle of our country.

        We are supposed to take pride in our identity as one that celebrates diversity, contrasted to the melting pot to the south. For one, it is nice to have people from Quebec here who enjoy culture and life in a way that we who are more conservative Albertans can appreciate.

        Maybe you are just trying to be funny, and let the world know that we non-Quebec canadians have quite a few differences with Quebec countrymen, but I have been concerned lately about the reckless hatred that seems to be growing among us.

            We are supposed to have an identity as a peace-keeping nation. We have so much peace in Canada to be thankful for. Let's not throw that away.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by SerpentMage (13390)

          Here, here! I am an Ontarian married to a Quebecoise! And I speak 3 languages. We right now life in Switzerland with 4 languages.

            My point is that we in Canada need to get along!

          I for one would like to see more Alberta politics! Alberta is not Quebec, bat Alberta, BC, and even the Newfies need to be more present!

      • by jmv (93421) on Saturday April 04, 2009 @08:58AM (#27457169) Homepage

        This is the main thing I have not yet understood between Canada and Quebec (I'm "Quebecois" but am neither independentist nor federalist):
        Canada: "you suck, we hate you"
        Quebec: "We'll leave you"
        Canada: "Please no, don't leave. We love you"
        Quebec: "Well, OK then"

  • Sigh. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Link on page to original article:
    http://www.thestar.com/article/611472 [thestar.com]

    Date on original article:
    Apr 01, 2009 04:30 AM

    Move along, nothing to see.

    • by Bieeanda (961632)
      Right. Because a nationally syndicated newspaper is going to play April Fool's jokes.
    • Re:Sigh. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Reed Solomon (897367) on Friday April 03, 2009 @11:30PM (#27454833) Homepage

      If this was an april fools day joke, they did a good job of making it subtle. This sort of thing is par for the course for the Quebec government. Mostly with these laws and media ownership/controls Quebec sovereigntists want to create a closed society where people don't feel an affinity with the country of Canada. Which is working over time, as Quebeckers more and more make that claim. I've heard many soverigntist youth make that statement. "Oh I don't feel Canadian I feel I am a Quebecois" or whatever. Well of course you do. Your mind belongs to your society in that way. They're certainly entitled to feel that way, but its intellectually dishonest I believe to manage a society this way, especially when society as a whole is becoming more global, Plus, its all words. The first Canadians were essentially Quebeckers. Quebeckers not associating themselves as Canadians just because of the existence of the rest of Canada is like Canadians not calling themselves North Americans, because American's "ruined the term". And also, theres really no point in trying to stave it off. I mean, Japan today isn't the same as Japan 100 years ago, but they're still a unique culture. Ah well, the best thing for Canada would be if they really did separate. Then we could actually stop giving them money, and appeasing them at every turn. Plus we could get rid of "official bilinguism" which doesn't really accomplish anything but keep qualified individuals from getting jobs. You need to speak English and French to get a government job, but in Quebec English is shunned. It's the hypocrisy of political correctness really. It really is a shame as most Canadians, myself included, generally like Quebec and are happy for them to speak french and be part of the social fabric. But when they bitch and moan over and over, it's just ridiculous.

    • by smchris (464899)

      Sounds like poisson d'avril because good humor should have a referent, and wasn't there a push in Quebec a few years ago to try to make Chinese restaurants use French signs?

  • So let me get this straight, if there is a french version available then it is illegal to sell a non-french version? I've never been the Quebec but are their no foreign people who live there? People who may speak french but prefer to game in their own language?

    Anyway, do they limit books too or is this some luddite/anti-video game thing?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Don't worry, many French Canadians think this protectionist stuff goes to far. While I can agree with multilingual signs and companies having multilingual staff. Video games and movies should be allowed to sell separate version in different language. Book do not have this restriction that I'm aware of.
      • Re:many questions (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Feyr (449684) on Friday April 03, 2009 @11:27PM (#27454817) Journal

        im a french canadian, and if this law is true it only means i will not be buying any more games in local stores.

        french version of games are usually nearly close to unplayable due to being badly translated and even when they're properly translated there is inevitably some key concepts that simply don't exist and have to be adapted.

        plain and simple, it detracts from the game. nevermind the lumberjacks that refuse to speak english, i demand my games in their native language.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by 4D6963 (933028)
          As a fluent English speaker, I know exactly what you mean, but as a French French, well, there's few people whose English is good enough so that the original version becomes preferable to the French translation. Besides, that's games we're talking about, not Blackadder.
        • Re:many questions (Score:4, Insightful)

          by MouseR (3264) on Saturday April 04, 2009 @06:46AM (#27456561) Homepage

          I generally prefer original titles as well. Be it a movie or else.

          But if a game, intended for the whole family, isn't available in french, I just dont buy it because I can't expect my 10 and 11 year old kids to enjoy a title in a language they barely understand yet.

          But try making an american understand that. They dont even watch translated movies anyway. They prefer to remake them locally.

          I dont think this issue can be rationalized south of the border. So, expect lots of insidious comments in this thread about us french canadian.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by BrainInAJar (584756)
      French culture and language was declining rapidly before the introduction of the language laws.

      There's an Anglophone upper class in Quebec, and immigrants from non-English countries come in and generally want to learn English. That doesn't bode well for French so laws were introduced to attempt to encourage Francophone Quebequois from becoming Anglophone.

      It's worked well enough that Latvia introduced similar laws to try to protect the Latvian language and culture from the massive influence of Russian af
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        If even the people who grew up speaking these languages aren't interested in them any more, shouldn't they be allowed to change? Isn't restricting a language from evolving going to restrict a culture from evolving?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by rob51 (128483)

      There are some answers for you about the demographics here [wikipedia.org] (legislation bit is interesting).

      The Charter of the French Language [wikipedia.org] is the law one people usually complain about (particularly when dealing with public signs). So, not a Luddite thing.

      • by saiha (665337)

        Thanks, I know that france has always had a hard stance towards language and it is interesting to see how that idea has propagated. I'm actually surprised how recent that legislation is, though if french was being replaced I can see why.

        Ease of communication between cultures is good, but there is a lot of culture tied up in the words/language that we use that would be a shame to lose.

    • Re:many questions (Score:4, Informative)

      by Bieeanda (961632) on Friday April 03, 2009 @11:26PM (#27454797)
      If there is a French version, it's illegal to stock only the English version. The problem appears to be twofold:

      First, if the game is scheduled to be released in both English and French, the stores have to wait until the French version is available. Retailers are worried that gamers will turn to imports if they can't get the hot new titles immediately after launch.

      Second, this presupposes that there is an equal demand for games in French, to demand for games in English. The language police [wikipedia.org] can be right fucking bastards about enforcing this sort of thing, so retailers are worried about having to buy more stock than they can guarantee moving. Margins are already pretty thin, so that's a definite concern.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by motek (179836)

      I would start speculating on the luddite aspect (or on anything else) as soon, as the information is confirmed by a source more serious than an article dated April 1. I have checked local French language media (La Presse, Le Devoir and Radio-Canada) and found nothing.

    • Dude.. In Quebec, if you post a sign, there not only needs to be a french part, but it most be MORE prominent than any other language. If the french part of the same prominence (or god forbid less), you get sighted by the "language police". No joke, that's what they're called...

      With the new high capacity game disks (for most consoles at least), they simply need to include both languages on the disk.
    • Quebec has a real "short man" complex going on. So understand that most of the French speakers in Canada are in that province. That isn't to say there are none in other provinces, but it is a vastly unequal distribution. Most provinces French is a severely minority language. You get over to the west coast, and it seems like almost nobody speaks it. Also, Quebecois is looked down on by the actual French. It is seen as an inferior dialect of French.

      Well this leads to a whole lot of silliness. Quebec has sever

      • by McGiraf (196030)

        "They want that not only should everyone in Canada speak French, but that it should be their primary language."

        WTF? where do you take this rubbish from? Quebec laws do not apply in other provinces.

      • by saiha (665337)

        As to the french / canadian-french thing, that was one of the most surprising things I saw in france. I went to paris and was shocked how the tram ticket people treated the canadian girl in our group who spoke french. One of the few times I as an american was treated better.

        Though I gotta say the french people, even in paris, who didn't speak english were actually very pleasant (I love hand motion communication when traveling).

  • fixed... (Score:4, Funny)

    by theheadlessrabbit (1022587) on Friday April 03, 2009 @11:13PM (#27454707) Homepage Journal

    "This is a ridiculous rule, as game companies can simply arret creating French versions of games to bypass the restriction."

    there, fixed that for you.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      "This is a ridiculous rule, as game companies can simply arreter creating French versions of games to bypass the restriction."

      there fixed that for you

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 03, 2009 @11:13PM (#27454711)

    Most rules about French in Canada are ridiculous. Government officials need to be bilingual regardless of capability of doing a job, for example. Firing a native French speaker from government is almost impossible, regardless of how badly they do at their job. And if people in government has what is deemed an inadequate level of french, the government pays for one-on-one french lessons INSTEAD of for doing your job, and instead of for french classes with other people learning it or instead of for a government billet in a french-speaking area where you can learn the language through immersion. Do you have any idea what that costs that taxpayer? Or how stupid it is?

    Protecting cultural heritage is one thing, but this is even worse than political correctness run amuck, because it's groupthink feeding into this mentality that it's bigoted to be against these policies, even when they're ridiculously inefficient.

    To make matters worse, I don't believe the requirements are nearly as bilingual in the other direction.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BrainInAJar (584756)

      To make matters worse, I don't believe the requirements are nearly as bilingual in the other direction.

      No, why would they be? English wasn't the declining language in the 60's. Nobody finds it more convenient to teach their kids French rather than English.

      The whole idea behind the laws are that both cultures are intrinsically valuable and worth protecting. Except English culture and language doesn't need protection, it's doing quite fine on it's own

      • by ultranova (717540) on Saturday April 04, 2009 @09:14AM (#27457263)

        The whole idea behind the laws are that both cultures are intrinsically valuable and worth protecting.

        Every time I hear about protecting a culture I can't help but remember those displays in museums where they have dummies dressed as people of a bygone era, engaged in activities typical of such people. I fear that these "cultural protectionists" see people much like these dummies: not as people but as decorations, something to be kept in its place for their enjoyment.

        If a culture dies, all it really means is that no one chooses to adhere to it. Why should they be deprived of the freedom to choose? The world isn't a museum and people aren't wax dummies on display.

    • by vorpal22 (114901) on Friday April 03, 2009 @11:50PM (#27454953) Homepage Journal

      While I do agree that some of the Quebec language laws are a bit over the top and end up having stupid results, I feel like I must correct and question assertions made in your post in the following paragraph:

      And if people in government has what is deemed an inadequate level of french, the government pays for one-on-one french lessons INSTEAD of for doing your job, and instead of for french classes with other people learning it or instead of for a government billet in a french-speaking area where you can learn the language through immersion.

      Living in Ottawa, I have several government working friends who have been provided with government funded French language education (and paid for doing so), and none of them have had the privilege of one-on-one lessons: they all attended group-based French language classes, and they were required to pass in order to continue on in their roles.

      I don't see how this is much different than your employer investing in job training, and I'm not opposed to it. Furthermore, the vast majority of this occurs in the Ottawa area, I'd suspect, and as most of the population here speaks French, you'd be hard pressed to find a much more immersive environment.

      If anyone here is interested, here's an article written up about Quebec and their language laws: The Language Laws of Quebec [marianopolis.edu]

  • Ridiculous? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bodrius (191265) on Friday April 03, 2009 @11:19PM (#27454745) Homepage

    This is a ridiculous rule, as game companies can simply stop creating French versions of games to bypass the restriction.

    Perhaps it is ridiculous, but not for that reason.

    Which game company would stop creating *French* localizations of their games and lose the market in *France* (and any other French-speaking language) in order to get their english version into the Quebec market?

    *That* would be ridiculous.

    The populations are off by an order of magnitude. The whole point is that a game company may not think it is worth localizing to French *just for Quebec* - but if they localize for French-speaking market, this forces the two versions to play on level fields.

    But if they're already localizing in French, why on earth would they kill their other markets just to prioritize this one? If Quebec per se had ever been a priority, they'd have been treating the French version on par with English from the beginning - which is what this rule tries (futilely) to force.

    There are a thousand reasons why this legislation may be wrong-headed and is unlikely to have any positive effect - but this is argument is, indeed, ridiculous.

    • by Feyr (449684)

      nevermind that a france translation is so hilarous it makes any game a joke to begin with. try and picture playing Medal of Honor but with the voices having a deep Southern accent, now try to keep a straight face while doing so.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Rene S. Hollan (1943)
      Er, Quebec French and the French spoken in France are separated by about 350 years of linguistic evolution.
  • Does this make sense to anyone? If it is english only, then it would seem to me that french is unavailable by definition.

    • Read it again. Basically, retailers cannot stock only the English versions of games if there is also a French version available. If there is a French version, they have to either stock both, French alone, or none. The rule doesn't apply if there is no French version available. Since French versions of games tend to come out later than the English versions, this means those titles will have to be delayed in Quebec, forcing gamers to buy out of province and hurting retailers in Quebec for no good reason.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by guyminuslife (1349809)

        Read it a third time. If a game company comes out with an English version of a game and then a French version later, the retailer can stock the English version while there's no French version, but once the French version comes out, they either have to buy French version copies or take the English version off the shelves.

        So it causes headaches, but not the ones you're thinking.

  • Language enclaves generally don't last very long.
    • by rve (4436) on Saturday April 04, 2009 @12:54AM (#27455267)

      Language enclaves generally don't last very long.

      How about thousands of years? Almost every country in Europe has its own language. That can't last long, I'm sure they're all about to switch to English any day now.

      • by Wellington Grey (942717) on Saturday April 04, 2009 @01:19AM (#27455381) Homepage Journal

        How about thousands of years? Almost every country in Europe has its own language. That can't last long, I'm sure they're all about to switch to English any day now.

        Firstly, the countries in Europe aren't enclaves [wikipedia.org] -- none of them are completely surrounded by hundreds of miles of English speakers, as Quebec is.

        Secondly, they're switching to English anyway [economist.com]. As someone who has lived in Europe for the last six years I can say from my own anecdotal experience that the more the world gets connected, the more people speak English. (I predict that we'll end up in a world not too linguistically different from Firefly)

  • EFIGS (Score:5, Informative)

    by tylersoze (789256) on Friday April 03, 2009 @11:32PM (#27454851)

    In my experience as a game developer for nearly 10 years who has worked for a few companies, I can tell you that every game I've ever worked on has always had at least EFIGS (English, French, Italian, German, Spanish) localization (with a French North American SKU). I really don't see this as being much of an issue for most decent sized game publishers.

    The last part of game testing usually involves all sorts of fun localization issues and me winding up wishing every would just speak English after dealing with some weird Czech voice over bug or something. :) The Sims was probably the worst, I believe they did a localization for every language known to man.

    • Yeah, localizing Simlish must have been a bitch.
    • by PitaBred (632671)
      The problem is that it forces game retailers to stock games that they may not otherwise need to purchase, that they'll eventually need to sell at a loss if at all.
  • I'm ashamed (Score:3, Interesting)

    by QuebecNerd (924754) on Friday April 03, 2009 @11:36PM (#27454865)

    ...There are some days when I'm ashamed to live in the province of Québec; not many but they do exist and today is one of those days...

    For me, language is just a form of expression and has nothing to do with Nationality. Unfortunately, some of our leaders are so paranoid of being 'corrupted' by other cultures and loose their french 'identity' that they would go to any length to protect it. Most of them are too stupid to learn English and act like morons to hide their fears.

    The Loi 101 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loi_101) with dictates this behavior is often mis-interpreted and goes too far.

    A film is a form of art like music and is created in one and only one language. Subtitles can be put to help understand the dialogue but the original voice and emotions of the artist should be heard.

    I mean for years; Arnold Schwarzenegger's voice has been dubbed by a guy who sells washers and dryers and picks lottery numbers on TV here in Québec. Talk about a mood killer. Fuck you Corbeil... (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yves_Corbeil)

    Anyways, the same goes for music and to a lesser degree, to video games. Let the market regulate itself and let the game publisher decide if it is in their best interest to have a french version.

    To regulate that is to go too far and intervene in private business matters.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I live in Alberta so my views are undoubtedly very biased, however Quebec has a knack for both shooting itself in the foot and whining.

    I'm not sure how much of our politics get into the news, but Quebec receives an incredible amount of money from the rest of Canada because of its desire to keep its dying language alive (Seriously, are any languages other than English going to be anything more than a curiosity in 100 years? I can assure you that french wont).

    Many years ago, Quebec had a strong and irrationa

    • by kklein (900361) on Saturday April 04, 2009 @05:01AM (#27456215)

      Seriously, are any languages other than English going to be anything more than a curiosity in 100 years?

      Wow... Wow. You are so wrong.

      Right now, depending on how you define language users, there are over 1 billion English users in the world. Only around 375 million of those are native speakers. The remaining are non-native speakers.

      Do you see what that means?

      What that means is that people are adopting English as a second language; not using it at home. In fact, a lot of the "outer circle" English-speaking countries (e.g. India, Malaysia, Nigeria, Singapore) principally use English as a lingua franca due to the linguistic complexity of their geographical area. African countries adopt English because it's better for business, and because picking any of the local languages could fan the flames of aeons-old tribal rivalries. The Indian subcontinent just has too many languages and dialects to bother with, so they use English for business.

      Nowhere are these people's first languages dying out.

      Furthermore, large countries of lingua franca English users, like India, tend to develop their own variety of English, resulting in there not being a single English in the world, but World Englishes, an important concept introduced by the noted Indian linguist Braj Kachru. [wikipedia.org]

      A "World English" is a variety of English that is comprehensible and regular within a certain population For example, in Singapore, the verb "reply" is transitive, i.e. people say "I replied his email," with the noun phrase "his email" functioning as the object of the verb "reply." Inner circle English speakers use it only as an intransitive verb, necessitating a prepositional phrase: "I replied to his email." This usage cannot really be considered a mistake, because every user of this variety of English uses this word this way.

      Moreover, this idea of "one billion English speakers" really doesn't sit well with me. Pack up your things and take a long holiday sometime. Travel to a lot of different countries, and see how many people you can find who speak English. You'll find a lot more in Europe than elsewhere, but you might be surprised at how many people don't. I live in Japan, and despite English being a compulsory subject in jr. high and high school, finding anyone who speaks more than a couple horribly-pronounced words is pretty difficult. They just don't have an opportunity or need to use it most of the time, and classes are designed to get them to pass entrance tests, not actually speak or use the language (believe me--I've taught at every level of the Japanese education system--from first grade through university).

      Then there is the oft-cited statistic about China becoming the biggest English-speaking country in the world. I really have no idea what that is supposed to mean. They, too, have compulsory English education, but backpack around China for a month or so and you can probably count on one hand how many people you ran into who spoke English. Furthermore, China is never, ever, ever going to let Mandarin lapse for English. Never never never. When your country is named "The Central Nation" (i.e. "the center of the world"), you take your language and culture very seriously. Mao's revolution was largely to kick Western influence out of the country (Japan was considered Western--that was not a mistake by any means). However, after taking power, even he could not convince people to abandon the Chinese character system (hanzi) in favor of the Pinyin romanization system. People saw even this literacy-boosting move as a betrayal of their Chinese cultural identity. So there's another English language myth busted, I hope.

      Finally, let's look at that term I've been kicking around in this growing reply: Lingua Franca. ...The French language. Now, historically, it's a little more complex than that, but basically, a form of French used to be the trad

  • It's not like game companies that make french games are suddenly going to stop over laws in a province with a population of 8 million.

    The repercussions of this law seem tricky though. It sounds like multilingual versions have to be provided once a french version exists. Someone will have to pay for creating such versions since multilingual versions are uncommon in the industry. Most localization is paid for by local publishers.

    It's easy to say the law is silly but at the same time I know I'd give a lot t

  • by GrahamCox (741991) on Friday April 03, 2009 @11:53PM (#27454983) Homepage
    toutes vos base sont appartiennent à nous
  • Tabarnac, people less and less see the point of sticking to French when the rest of the continent ignores it royally! Maudis niaiseux d'anglophones! La la, let's get anal about forcing French everywhere, la!

    What you say, forcing French translations of every English word from stop signs to podcasting ("baladodiffusion", can you believe that shit?) didn't help much?! Calice! Let's bribe Celine Dion back here, she's our only hope of achieving a seeming of cultural relevance!!

  • I'm not surprised about TFA but what I am surprised about is that anyone else in the world cares about this. This is just another stupid act by the 'language police' in Quebec to protect their *culture* and their *precious* language that us Canadians are used too dealing with on a regular basis. It's absolutely reverse discrimination because we'd never get away with pulling the opposite in the rest of Canada. Quebec gets away with it because they continuously threaten the rest of us with separation, spearhe

  • Blue text on a black background is extremely hard to read. I get these with the comment title and score.
  • by mclc (1524123) on Saturday April 04, 2009 @12:51AM (#27455251)
    Okay, I really don't know where to start. Hi, my name is mclc, I am a French canadian and I feel guilty because of where I am born, and because of my native language, which is French, and because my ancestors were conquered in the Plaines d'Abraham. I play mostly in English, by the way. I watch movies in their original language too. Ho yeah, movies are also under this law. And you know what? I can watch movies in English if I want. I have a contact for that. It's a very dangerous black market to be. By law, watching a movie in English is like buying drugs and hiring a hitman, but worse.

    As some people said in a few comments, Quebec has a law to claim the right of French speaking people to be served, to work, live, dream and eat in French. Why you ask? BECAUSE YOU ARE 350 MILLIONS OF ENGLISH SPEAKING AMERICANS AND CANADIANS! Is that so hard to understand? Yeah, we lost a war, so what? We are 80% of French canadians in the province of Quebec. English speakers are protected by the federal laws saying that every service must be available in French and in English (this is applied in Quebec, New-Brunswick and Ontario, but mostly in Quebec as there is no other place in the country where you will really get service in both languages).

    Now, because you all like separatists scandals, I will disapoint you. It is not forbidden to sell an English game. Understood? Here's the catch that the evil French speaking aliens set up : you will be forbidden to sell the game in English if, and only if the game is made elsewhere in French. This means that if France (by the way, you just cannot get a game in English in France, by law) does not have the game until a few months, we in Quebec will have the English only version until then. When France (and Quebec) finally gets the game in French, well guess what? The two versions will be available! Bilingual like movies, or books, or every service offered by the Government of Quebec (unlike all other province). Thank yooooouuuuu bilingual country! Naturally, a lot of games are now localized, which means have more than one language in the same CD.

    Now, what do you do for us, Rest of Canada, except insulting every frog in Quebec? All I hear is the eternal speak white, only said differently (and usually some stuff about the English Canada who won the war). Live in the 21st century, people. Let us, minority in Canada, speak French as we let you, minority in Quebec speak English. We pass great laws that preserve French and does not affect English in any ways. We almost all know a little of English in Quebec, but hey, IT'S NOT OUR NATIVE LANGUAGE. You just cannot think as good in an other language than your own. For example, all this text was great in my head, and now I don't know where I'm going. But hey, just come in Quebec, speak English in any store and you will be gladly served. French people will switch to English automatically, speak an English sounding more like a wookie, but we will try. I think we deserve the same thing. And in our case, we are only 7 millions in a sea of 350 millions. It is for our protection.

    Je vous aime quand même.
    mclc
  • by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Saturday April 04, 2009 @03:19AM (#27455909) Journal

    If it wasn't for us, they would be saying, "Nein! Es ist verboten!"

  • by Improv (2467) <pgunn@dachte.org> on Saturday April 04, 2009 @03:51AM (#27456013) Homepage Journal

    If you accept that it is a valid thing for Quebec to promote and protect the French language, then the law makes a lot of sense. Just like mandating that restaurants provide both English and French on their menus, this helps prevent the English language from squeezing French out of usage.

    I've never had a strong opinion on whether it is a valid thing or not, but perhaps Americans can understand it better by considering how threatened people feel by rapid growth of the Spanish language in the Americas, and efforts to prevent/slow that.

  • by master_p (608214) on Saturday April 04, 2009 @04:24AM (#27456109)

    ...French is an ancient obscure language.

  • Thank God! (Score:3, Funny)

    by ucblockhead (63650) on Saturday April 04, 2009 @11:18AM (#27458099) Homepage Journal

    Now they can have the pleasure of reading Toutes votre base sont appartiennent à nous!

Mediocrity finds safety in standardization. -- Frederick Crane

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