We need a detox to Anglo-American culture
BET À DAY
A professor of French literature told me recently that no student in his first-year university class had read Victor Hugo.
At a post well-known radio station, columnists were trying to come up with ideas for films for Christmas. Only American movie titles came to mind. In French, nothing. Not even Santa Claus is trash or War of the Hats.
At the university, professors ask their students to read books and articles that are almost exclusively American and in English. I plead guilty. For some courses, it has become almost impossible to find good recent texts in French.
The sad truth is that we are culturally becoming Anglo-Americans who speak French.
As we live on the fringes of the American empire, the American culture we retain is always a bit excessive and caricatural.
Quebecers, especially younger ones, know American culture much better than global French culture, including its Quebec part.
In French-speaking CEGEPs, students must take two to four compulsory English courses . These English courses were not compulsory before. They contribute to the Americanization of Quebecers.
Note how the Anglophones of Quebec are indignant when the time comes to impose compulsory French courses on them at CEGEP.
My goal here is neither to push a long lament nor to rage against Quebecers who assimilate to Anglo-American culture.
< p>I simply want to say that the Anglo-Americanization of Quebec is not inevitable.
Incorporate from primary school into the textbooks several texts by great writers, both Quebecois and French, rather than proposing moralizing texts of aunts, would help to stimulate the students' interest in French culture.
Providing more financial assistance for film screenings in French or the production of French or Quebec repertoire pieces could also help rediscover the forgotten treasures of French culture, in addition to stimulating creation.
Requiring that scientific books and articles published by Quebec university professors be all, and without exception, accessible in French would allow French-speaking students a better education in their language. In the worst case, for reasons of publishers' rights, a short delay between the initial publication in English and that in French could be acceptable.
For the sake of openness to the world , francophone CEGEPs should offer to replace compulsory courses in English with compulsory courses in other languages. However, English-speaking CEGEPs should only offer compulsory French as a second language courses.
The time has also come for the government to subsidize French song more generously.
All these measures are quite simple to implement. However, they assume that we become aware of our intoxication with American culture. They also assume that we want to get into rehab.