Quebec’s language watchdogs, under the watchful eye of Simon Jolin-Barrette (the Minister Responsible for the French Language in the province) are on patrol again. This time they are targeting the use of the words ‘take-out’ as a contributor to the “worrisome decline” of French, especially in Montreal. The OQLF (Office québécois de la langue française) is now encouraging the use of ‘plat à emporter’ instead. This comes not long after restaurants, already struggling to keep their businesses alive, were targeted with warnings and fines for words on signs not featuring French more prominently. ‘Deli’, understood by all Quebecers was one of them. ‘Why choose to ‘take out’ when you could order in French, your ‘plat a emporter’ prefere? It’s better in French!’ they wrote in a tweet, partly translated here in English.
In the tweet from the OQLF was a link to dictionary entry where it said the term ‘take out’ is ‘generally absent from Quebec and European reference works’ and ‘is not acceptable, because it’s made up of two English words’ and ‘does not integrate naturally into the language’. So instead, the OQLF is encouraging the use of ‘plat à emporter’ as it is acceptable. The question if ‘pick-up’ will soon fall to the same fate remains.
Just a little over two months ago, Jolin-Barrette announced new measures towards enforcing the French language charter – ‘Protection of the French language is a priority for your government’ he wrote on his Facebook page (translated from French). ‘Today I announced a historic reinforcement of the action of the Office québécois de la langue française. With an investment of $5 Million, three new regional offices will open and 50 new posts will be created. Of these, 20 will be fully dedicated to accompanying companies with fewer than 50 employees, where the needs are critical. This is a first concrete measure of your government’s action plan to protect, promote and enhance the French language’. He is soon expected to be introducing legislation strengthening Quebec’s French Language Charter.