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Old 11-21-2012, 06:48 AM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
21,997 posts, read 27,493,744 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annerk View Post
I agree with visiting both. They are in some ways similar and in other ways as different as night and day.

You'll find people in both cities who don't want to speak English (even though you know they can) and others who will go out of their way to be helpful.
For the life of me I cannot understand how people can possibly figure this out.
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Old 11-21-2012, 06:55 AM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,744,734 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
For the life of me I cannot understand how people can possibly figure this out.
Because they hear you say something funny to your travel companion in English and laugh.
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:16 AM
 
Location: Montreal > Quebec > Canada
486 posts, read 432,201 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annerk View Post
Because they hear you say something funny to your travel companion in English and laugh.
Yeah, apparently it happened to my great-uncle's second cousin's sister-in-law's brother when he stopped for gas in Drummonville on his way to Halifax in 1963.
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:38 AM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,744,734 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by begratto View Post
Yeah, apparently it happened to my great-uncle's second cousin's sister-in-law's brother when he stopped for gas in Drummonville on his way to Halifax in 1963.
I've spent a lot of time in Canada for work (enough so that I have a Social Insurance card), and it has happened to me about a dozen times over the years. About two years ago I was struggling to find the words I needed in French and the waitress acted like she didn't speak English. About half an hour later my coworker cracked a joke (in English) as she was refilling our coffee) and she started to crack up. My feathered arse she didn't speak English. I had a similar incident in a shop when a clerk acted like she couldn't speak English and three minutes later I overheard her speaking in fluent English to her coworker. There were other similar incidents, it was not isolated.
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Old 11-21-2012, 01:14 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
21,997 posts, read 27,493,744 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annerk View Post
I've spent a lot of time in Canada for work (enough so that I have a Social Insurance card), and it has happened to me about a dozen times over the years. About two years ago I was struggling to find the words I needed in French and the waitress acted like she didn't speak English. About half an hour later my coworker cracked a joke (in English) as she was refilling our coffee) and she started to crack up. My feathered arse she didn't speak English. I had a similar incident in a shop when a clerk acted like she couldn't speak English and three minutes later I overheard her speaking in fluent English to her coworker. There were other similar incidents, it was not isolated.
Hmm. One thing I can tell you is that a Québécois person who knows English but doesn't want to speak it out of "principle" or "political views" would NEVER pretend not to understand with you and then turn around and speak English with a co-worker. Nobody does that here.

Most Québécois francophones who can speak English (like me) don't slip in and out of it, and generally speak in French only between themselves.

If you saw me out and about here in everyday life you could never tell that I speak English as well as I do. Of course, if you were here and bumped into me (and were nice ), I'd probably speak English to you so we could communicate.
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Old 11-21-2012, 02:37 PM
 
14,303 posts, read 24,091,411 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
Hmm. One thing I can tell you is that a Québécois person who knows English but doesn't want to speak it out of "principle" or "political views" would NEVER pretend not to understand with you and then turn around and speak English with a co-worker. Nobody does that here.
Absolutely agree with you.

When I was in Montreal during the separatist movement, the students at the Universite de Montreal would ALWAYS address me first in French and then answer my question in impeccable English.

Having said that , a lot of the older period people just plum did not understand English.
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Old 11-21-2012, 10:06 PM
 
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It's my impression that downtown Quebec City (and Boston) both have a winding, crooked streets pattern reminiscent of Europe --- while Montreal has normal, wide, straight streets in keeping with North America.
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Old 11-22-2012, 05:18 AM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,744,734 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
Hmm. One thing I can tell you is that a Québécois person who knows English but doesn't want to speak it out of "principle" or "political views" would NEVER pretend not to understand with you and then turn around and speak English with a co-worker. Nobody does that here.

Most Québécois francophones who can speak English (like me) don't slip in and out of it, and generally speak in French only between themselves.

If you saw me out and about here in everyday life you could never tell that I speak English as well as I do. Of course, if you were here and bumped into me (and were nice ), I'd probably speak English to you so we could communicate.
I don't pretend to understand the mentality, but I can say I've had it happen. I know a tiny bit of French--it's a difficult language for me, but I do try. I think it's incredibly rude for someone to purposefully refuse to speak a language in order to provide service that is their JOB to prove a political point, especially when their CUSTOMER is TRYING to communicate in the local language.

That said, I've also have francophones bend over backwards to try to help, including having a perfect stranger translate between myself and a non-English speaker when I was trying to find out where some merchandise held up in customs might be released to the freight company--the words I needed for that conversation went way beyond my limited French and I used the words "merci pour votre aide!" profusely during the encounter.

ETA: I've had similar situations in Puerto Rico with people in their 20's who I know for a fact were taught English in school and refused to speak it. I speak Spanish but sometimes need the speaker to "favor de hablar más despacio" or use a different word, and it's obnoxious when they refuse to do so. Of all of the countries I've visited, I found the Croatians not only the most willing to speak English, but they actually sought out opportunities to do so, even if I asked them a question in Croatian first.

Last edited by annerk; 11-22-2012 at 05:32 AM..
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Old 11-22-2012, 05:41 PM
 
Location: Western NY
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I've been to both cities. I agree with the suggestions to visit both during your vacation. I like the museums in both places, but my favorite museums are the ones in Quebec City.
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