June 25, 2024

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Younger generations are abandoning French in favor of English

Younger generations are abandoning French in favor of English

In an interview with Radio-Canada, French Language Minister Jean-François Roberge reveals the underlying story of French decline in Quebec.

“Young people lean more towards English.” This belief in French language minister Jean-François Roberge as far as Radio-Canada says a lot about the generational divide regarding the practice of French in Quebec.. In fact, according to the article, the majority of 18-34 year olds in Quebec use English on a daily basis. “We’re being anglicized, we’re being Americanized. That’s what we need to slow down as a government., warns Jean-François Roberge. For the minister who presented the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF)’s latest – alarming – report on the evolution of the linguistic situation in Quebec on May 22, social networks bear a heavy responsibility for this decline.

Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), Snapchat, Instagram… On these sites, most Quebecers aged 18-34 speak or post in English. Now only 44% of young people speak French on the Internet. “A Kind of Fashion”According to Jean-François Roberge, he is pushing teenagers and young adults to favor English to increase their visibility on networks by addressing a more English-speaking audience.

42% of 18-34 year olds use English at work

The decline of the French language seen on social networks is also reflected outside the virtual world of Quebecers. The younger generation, unlike the older population groups, seems more and more indifferent to the use of French in business. The French language minister, for his part, deplores the fact that a third of 18-34-year-olds want an English-speaking or at least bilingual professional environment. An obvious observation, supported by dubious statistics.

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According to studies cited by Radio Canada, there was already a decline in the use of French in professional fields in 2010, with 64% of young workers speaking the language at least 90% of the time. In 2023, only 58% will continue to use French at work. Decline in the context of globalization should be very favorable for English. “Young people have an attachment to French, but they have an openness to the world, and they tell themselves that speaking English is the best way to be open.”Recognizes Jean-François Roberge.

A reform to change the course

However, failure is not on the agenda. Adopted on June 1, 2022, the reform of the Charter of the French language reaffirmed the place of French as the sole official and common language of Quebec, which had direct effects on both businesses and businesses in Quebec society and the professional world. Therefore, all SMEs with 25 to 49 employees are now required to undergo registration procedures with OQLF. Schools and education are affected by this reform, with particular attention to colleges of general and professional education (CEGEPs). “Bill 101 applies to CEGEPs for the first time this year. The number of students in the English-speaking network is limited; English-speaking CEGEPs have mandatory French courses and exams, and we limit enrollments. Minister of French announced.

The other important subject is temporary immigration, which has a significant impact on English practice. A significant proportion of English-speakers is noted in metropolitan areas such as Montreal (32%) and Gatineau (37%), which has pushed Quebec to ask the central government for a better distribution of asylum seekers, 160,000 of whom are located in Quebec territory. “If we have to go further, we will go further. We will do whatever it takes to reverse the decline.” Jean-François Roberge concludes.

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