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    French Disconnection

    | Quebec City, QC, Canada | Bigotry, Geography, History, Language & Words, Top

    (I’m a customer in a very small boutique that specializes in selling Quebec-made items. It is a slow day and I am alone with the shop owner who helps me choose a gift. A man storms in and goes straight to the owner with a really angry face. The owner sees him and welcomes him in French.)

    Owner: “Bonjour, Monsieur. Comment puis-je vous aider?” *Hi, sir. How can I help you?*

    Customer: *loud and angrily* “ENGLISH! Do you even speak it?”

    Owner: “Of course, sir! How are you today and how can I help you?”

    Customer: “Finally! Someone who’s speaking English! I don’t know what the h*** is going on but everyone in this f***** town is speaking some kind of weird gibberish!”

    Owner: “Actually, they are speaking French, sir, as do most people in the province of Quebec.”

    Customer: “What the h***?! We are not in f***** France! This is America and people speaks god d*** American! I don’t understand what the fuss is about! Is this some kind of a weird hipster thing? Young people trying to be cool or whatever?!”

    Owner: “I’m sorry, sir. Is there anything I can do to help you today?”

    Customer: “Yeah, I’m looking for a poutine recipe book. Do you have any?”

    Owner: “Of course! Right this way, sir.”

    Customer: “Why do people want to speak French anyway? It is a dead language like Latin or Greek. We are in America and America is for American speakers! We don’t need no foreigners to come here and bring their weird language. And you shouldn’t encourage them by greeting American customers, in America, with any other language than American!”

    Owner: “I’m sorry, sir, but I can no longer pretend that what you are saying is not wrong. Just so you know, people are speaking in French because Quebec was colonized by France more than 400 years ago. Quebec City is actually the oldest city in North America and has always been French. That is why everything from the street names to the billboards are in French! The Canadian dollar you’re holding is in both languages. Even the name poutine is French! Did you do any research before coming here?”

    Customer: *hesitating* “Well, yeah! But the brochure was in English! How was I supposed to know that poutine was a French word. We have that in New York!”

    Owner: “First of all, you can find pretzels in New York and those are German, or gelato which is Italian! It just proves that languages get mixed and influenced with time. That is also why there are cities in the United States that have French names, such as Baton Rouge or Des Moines! Those are all proofs that the French were present in North America hundreds of years ago! H***! Even the term ‘brochure’ is French!”

    Customer: “That is irrelevant! You are all just lazy for not learning American! You live in the past, holding to some old bull-s*** language!”

    Owner: “Well, I AM speaking English! And, by the way, it is ‘English’ and not ‘American’ because that language originated from England and not America. But I am also speaking French. How many languages do you speak?”

    Customer: “I speak English and English only! I don’t need to know any other language!”

    Owner: “Who’s being lazy, then?”