2010-07-15

Language War in Moncton?

Make the type as big on bilingual signs as it is on unilingual signs. 


Agrandir le plan I should get out more, because apparently there is a language war here in Moncton. This time of year in Moncton the locals are outnumbered by tourists (especially on rainy days). Despite that, according to Wednesday's National Post, Monctonians are apparently at each other's throats over language.

Notwithstanding the made-up news by Canada's "national" newspaper (not available for home delivery in the Maritimes), let's pretend there is a war; or least a debate.

In favour of mandated bilingual signs:

1. Signs in a city aren't private if you can see them from the street. In fact, they are the exact opposite of private. A sign in your bedroom is private, a sign 2m from a public street is public.

2. Moncton has a sign by-law that regulates the size of signs, the number of signs, the material, the location, etc. Mandating language is just one more line in the by-law.

3. Keep it simple. Dieppe's by-law is great: French on top or on the left, English on the bottom or on the right. You know where to look depending on your language.

4. Size matters. The free market is against multilingual signs. There are businesses in the Moncton area that actually have unilingual signs of a different language in each direction! If it were up to me, extra space would be granted to signs that are multi-lingual. That way, the typing could be as big on bilingual signs as it is on unilingual signs.

Against bilingual signs:

1. Bilingual signs are false advertising if the staff isn't bilingual. Moncton and New Brunswick are officially bilingual because the people aren't. That is why it is essential that the city and province offer service in English or French.

2. There is only 1 French language university in New Brunswick (Université de Moncton), can we really expect it's signs to be bilingual?

Agrandir le plan
3. The mayor of Moncton is a unilingual anglophone. He makes no effort to be understood by francophones (see his Twitter account). Obviously, anglophones are in control of this city. Unilingual francophones should live in Dieppe.

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