Live From the Forum mondial de la langue française in Québec

I am currently writing to you from the inaugural Forum mondial de la langue française [global forum on the French language], being held in Québec from July 2 to 6. I am delighted that Ontario is able to participate in the multilateral talks taking place at the Forum.

As a guest speaker, I took part in a session entitled “Le français dans les espaces méditerranéens et nord-américains” [the French language in Mediterranean and North American spaces]. In the first part of the workshop, we thought about the strategies that groups in Mediterranean spaces could use to get the majority population interested in languages. In the second part of the workshop, I spoke about Ontario’s reality, which is different from the situation in the Mediterranean regions. Our discussions were particularly compelling.

When we meet Francophone representatives from other parts of the world, we realize what a diverse language French is. In some areas, it is institutionalized, while in Ontario, we are trying to make room for it. Francophone peoples and communities all live in different circumstances, of course. Yet it is wonderful to be able to learn about and be inspired by one another.

For Ontario’s Francophonie, the important thing is to remember that we are not the only ones who speak French. The French language is always a major attraction internationally. It is therefore in our society’s interest to preserve the language.

I have seen it at every workshop and with every handshake since I arrived at the Forum: French is far – very far indeed – from being simply a matter of translation. It is in fact a matter of creation. The French language makes it possible to create connections and pathways that help multitudes of citizens participate fully in the social, economic, political and cultural life of the space in which they find themselves.

I encourage you to listen to an interview that I gave on Radio-Canada’s Le Matin du Nord concerning my participation in the Forum (available in French only, English transcript available upon request).

Comments (2)

  1. Denis Bertrand

    Entrevue intéressante, François. Et ce Forum ? De quoi alimenter les réflexions du Commissariat ?

  2. François Boileau

    Oui, cela remet la question du français en perspective. Dans plusieurs pays, il faut faire connaître la langue française alors qu’ici, au Canada, sa place est déjà acquise au niveau constitutionnel, législatif et même au quotidien comme les citoyens voient des textes en français à chaque matin sur leurs boîtes de céréales par exemple !

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