As some of you know, I love Canada and particularly Quebec. However, for all of their wonderful food and culture, Quebec inherited the quixotic and often comical cause of protecting French against common expressions from their counterparts in Europe. Now, the language police, Quebec’s office of French language, or OQLF, has cited a restaurant for having too many non-French terms on its menu. The problem is that it is an Italian restaurant and the names of the dishes are Italian.
I actually have eaten at Buonanotte, which is a highly regarded restaurant in Quebec. The written complaint from the language police cited the Italian restaurant for having too much Italian on the menu. Initially, rather than immediately confess to being language bureaucrats with too much time on their hands, the OQLF doubled down and insisted, according to OQLF spokesman Martin Bergeron, that any foreign words on a menu “must not be predominant over French.” After all, why say Pasta when you can use the incredibly confusing word pâtes?
The language police in France has always been a ridiculous institution as French purists try to hold back the tsunami of popular expressions with a regulatory teaspoon. The fact is that, as the world comes closer together through the Internet and technology, we are becoming more varied in our expressions and incorporating words from other languages. That is a good thing, in my view, but regardless of how you feel about it, it is an inevitable thing. Otherwise, you end up taking red pencils to Italian menus.
After the action became a global joke, the OQLF backed down and admitted that it might have been “overzealous.” Well, I am sure that they meant to say trop enthousiaste.
Source: Global Post