ERIC Number: ED250931
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1978-Jul
"Bonjour, Hello?" Negotiations of Language Choice in Montreal. Sociolinguistic Working Paper Number 49.
Heller, Monica S.
The decision of whether to use French or English in Montreal, Canada, is not always predetermined but must be negotiated by the interactants in conversation in ways that can be serious or humorous and have great potential for misunderstanding. The complex relationship between language choice and ethnicity is one factor involved in the decision about which language to use. After a long period of social and geographic isolation of the francophone and anglophone communities, the francophones have become increasingly aware of their lesser economic and social opportunities and have as a community preferred solidarity and replacement of the anglophone community to assimilation into it. Protection of the French language is one aspect of this solidarity. Each language choice situation has its own set of norms, generally unspoken and sometimes governed by circumstance, as in the situation of a patient seeking medical care. Conversants may identify their preference immediately, negotiate the choice of language, or wait until spoken to in their preferred language. In cases in which language choice may be politically determined, one conversant may prefer not to identify a preference. The negotiation process can become a negotiation not only of language choice but also of interpretive frame. Larger-scale events thus have a direct effect on people's communication strategies, but the events are also affected by interpersonal negotiations, an example of how language can come to have social values attached to it. (Author/MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Southwest Educational Development Lab., Austin, TX.
Identifiers - Location: Canada (Montreal)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A