Box #2: Language Policy & Literacy

Case Study of Québec

In August 1977, Québec adopted a language law: the Charter of the French Language (Bill 101), which declares the French to be the "official language of Québec (article 1) and which aims to make French the language of the State and the Law, as well as the normal and usual language of work, teaching, communications, commerce, and business" (Daoust, 1990, p. 108) [Note 1] .

English was considered the language of prestige in Quebec , and was perceived as the language of business and finance, and was used in the majority of enterprises and institutions.

At that time (1977), Francophones constituted a demographic majority but a socioeconomic minority with respect to Anglophones in Quebec , Canada , and North America .

  1. Look on map quest or some other map program and find Québec on the map - Québec is a province of Canada
  2. Review the following web sites
    3. Review the website of McGill University, an Anglophone University in Quebec , to identify the work that is happening there around language policy, literacy, and SPPA services to diverse cultural and linguistic groups.
  1. Look up and review the Charter of the French Language on the web.
  2. What is the economic and political context in which this language policy was established in Quebec ? In other words, what else was going on in Québec and in Ottawa that made the government perceive that it was necessary to establish French as the official language in Quebec ?
  3. What is the status of education in French and in English in Quebec ?
  4. What groups have immigrated to Quebec ? What role will these ethnic groups play in the linguistic aspect of Quebec ?
  5. What about the languages of the indigenous people in Quebec ? What is the status of their language?
  6. From your readings, what do you think the de facto language policy is in Quebec ?
  7. Discuss the impact that this language policy may have on effective services for individuals from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

For the class presentation, lead us in a discussion about the situation in Quebec , and the three tasks outlined in the syllabus (page 3):

    1. Identify the problem(s) in Quebec
    2. Analyze the problems from various perspectives
    3. Propose various strategies for addressing the problem(s)
  1. Daoust, D. (1990). A decade of language planning in Québec: A sociopolitical overview. In B. Weinstein (Ed.), Language policy and political development (pp. 108 - 130).

Copyright © Yvette D. Hyter May 2004