While I occasionally write about politics - mostly election night coverage - I try to stay away from divisive politics. Growing up in Montreal, in the province of Quebec, talk of language tends to lead to language rights and leads to the divisive politics that, I may debate among friends, I choose not to write about here. Except on the rare occasions.
So let's talk about French and French Canadians, and therefore English Canadians. Let me clarify. We aren't French Canadians. Some are. Most aren't. What I mean to say is, we are French speaking. Or on the other hand, we are not English Canadians, we are English speaking Canadians.
These are old terms borrowed from centuries past that now identify language and not culture or nationality. You would not identify an American as an English American unless they were originally from the U.K.
The common use of the terms become colloquialisms and through regular and modern usage a term changes meaning. Within Quebec and the rest of Canada, the terms are understood, for the most part. My experience with those outside would lend to the belief that we are all from France or England.
The other misconception that I have experienced is the number of people who do not know that there is an English speaking population in Montreal and Quebec. Let us say that these beliefs may be in the minority. When someone in Vancouver, for example, compliments my use of the English language, I am bewildered momentarily, until I realize that the person with whom I am conversing believes I am French speaking due my living on the Island of Montreal. Didn't you just hear me say my name is Shawn? Not English sounding enough for you?
What offends me is not being mistaken for someone who speaks French as their mother tongue. I wish I spoke the language that well. I take it as a compliment - if I am speaking French. What offends me are the uninformed beliefs of my fellow Canadians. Some, not all. Merci pour ta compréhension.
Today is day 8 of the thirty day writing challenge (February edition) as arranged and hosted by Nicky and Mike over at WeWorkForCheese.com. Go check out their site to see what they wrote and see all the other participants.