(Wikimedia Commons)

Quebec language office OKs English words grilled-cheese, hashtag

English word, “parking,” may now be used in French, as well as its equivalent, “stationnement”

English-language words such as hashtag, grilled-cheese, and parking are now acceptable in everyday French-language conversation in Quebec society, according to guidelines recently updated by the province’s language watchdog.

The changes were implemented in January, but the revised dictionary by the Office quebecois de la langue francaise only became widely known recently.

OQLF spokesman Jean-Pierre Le Blanc said Tuesday it’s the first time the watchdog’s guidelines have been changed since 2007.

“We’re always reviewing words to see if they’re acceptable or not,” Le Blanc said in an interview. “I’m sure it’s several dozen (words) that have been anglicized.”

Quebec’s language office is infamous across Canada for its strict application of the province’s language laws.

Every few months a story makes headlines across the country of some language inspector fretting over English-language signage.

The OQLF caused an international stir in 2013 when an inspector warned a popular restaurant in Montreal over its use of the Italian word, “pasta,” on menus, as opposed to the French word, “pates.”

But the OQLF, through its website, also offers Quebecers linguistic tools and other resources on how best to use the French-language.

The recent changes were made by a five-member linguistics committee composed of francophones who reviewed research done by the provincial agency.

In some cases, using both the English or the French equivalent of words got the committee’s seal of approval.

For example, the English word, “parking,” may now be used in French, as can its proper French-language equivalent, “stationnement.”

Under the language bureau’s policy, words are reviewed based on a long list of detailed criteria, which include their general usage in Quebec.

Le Blanc said words from other languages have also crept into daily French usage, such as cafe latte, gelato and trattoria.

Benoit Melancon, professor of French literature at Universite de Montreal, said he understands why some Quebecers might be more worried about the use of English words — known as anglicisms — than people in France.

“The French are more comfortable using anglicisms because their language isn’t threatened in any way,” he said in an interview. “But here, because of demographic reasons, we feel more threatened.

“We’re surrounded by anglophones so it’s normal to think that we should protect French more than in other places from words coming from different places.”

He noted that in France, they use the word “footing” instead of jogging.

“Footing doesn’t exist in English, but it’s used as an English word,” Melancon said.

Melancon gave the provincial language agency top marks for having a “realistic” policy which also encourages the use of French words.

“It’s not worth going to war over “grilled-cheese” because it’s common usage,” he added.

Some examples of English and French words that are both considered acceptable:

Cocktail or Coquetel

Parking or Stationnement

Grilled-cheese or Sandwich au fromage fondant

Hashtag or Mot-clic

Source: Le grand dictionnaire terminologique

Peter Rakobowchuk, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

‘Tis the Season … for holiday stories!

What’s your favourite holiday memory? Do you have any unique traditions? Tell us about them!

Call it Buzz Saws and Bagpipes, or the Art of the Birl and the Skirl

Proposal: Add a Highland games to Campbell River’s Logger Sports weekend

#MeToo at work: B.C. women share horrifyingly common sexual assaults

It happens to more people than you might think and impacts women inside and outside of the workplace

Myra Falls re-opening gets a timeline

Mine suspended operations in 2015 but is set to start removing ore again early next year

Walter Morgan Shed to finally get its renovation

City sees heritage value in the property and will fund renewal project to the tune of $200,000

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

Debt-to-household-income ratio rises in third quarter

Total household credit market debt grew to $2.11 trillion in the third quarter

B.C. Mountie told to resign after texting teenage sex assault victim

RCMP documents say Const. Brian Eden sent sexually inappropriate photos to 17-year-old girl

Family doctors should learn to treat addiction, not shun patients: scientist

B.C. Centre on Substance Use’s Dr. Evan Wood said efforts underway to change addiction medicine image

Four dog deaths investigated in Cranbrook

One vet suggests a parallel to these deaths and similar ones in 2016

Meningococcal disease outbreak declared in Okanagan

Five cases in last six months among 15- to 19-year-olds, including one in Vernon

Province rejects Ajax mine in Kamloops

KGHM Ajax had proposed a 1,700-hectare open-pit copper and gold mine, just southwest of Kamloops

Border officers rally at B.C.’s Peace Arch

CBSA employees tire of ‘lack of respect’

FCC votes along party lines to end ‘net neutrality’

Move rolls back restrictions that keep big providers from blocking services they don’t like

Most Read