Montreal Advocacy Group Launches App to Police French Language Laws

Montreal’s Société St-Jean-Baptiste has released an iPhone app to allows Francophones to rate and support businesses in Quebec, based on their compliance with French language laws, on a scale of 1 to 10. Essentially the app relies on crowdsourcing its users so they can assess businesses with text reviews and photos.

The app description says (Google Translation):

This campaign is specifically designed to educate young people about the importance of using French in the public space. A recent study by the OLF (2012) found that 54% of Montreal customers go directly to the English language in the lack of service in French. This proportion is 77% among young people aged 18-34 and 56% among young Francophones.

Screen568x568  67 Screen568x568  68

If you’re not familiar with the SSJBM, here’s their description (Google Translation):

Founded in 1834, the company Saint-Jean-Baptiste of Montreal is the oldest still active militant institution for the promotion and defense of the French in America. The SSJBM played an important role in the fields of education, social and economic development of Quebec.

This app may seem controversial to some, but for Francophones and the SSJBM, the app is geared towards youth and also to “promote the use of French as the common language of commerce and labor as a factor essential inclusion,” says Mario Beaulieu, head of the Montreal chapter of the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste.

Quebec’s Charter of the French language says “Every person has a right to have the civil administration, the health services and social services, the public utility enterprises, the professional orders, the associations of employees and all enterprises doing business in Québec communicate with him in French.”

Some see Quebec’s language laws as being policed too aggressively–back in June, the Office québécois de la langue française investigated a Menchie’s frozen yogurt location, after a complaint was reported over English on the American chain’s plastic spoons; earlier this year an Italian restaurant was cited as having too many Italian words on its menu, in an incident dubbed ‘pastagate’ online. Others in Quebec see the use of English being too widely adopted in the province over French, hence the need for language laws.

Click here to download J’achète en FRANÇAIS–it’s free. What do you think about this app?

Thanks Johnathan

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • crosseyed_mofo

    your welcome, and this app is an abomination that does nothing but perpetuate the linguistic divide in quebec

    i already have a slew of people who have submitted “humourous” app reviews on the store

    i know your not a fan of personal attacks here gary, but eff mario beaulieau

  • xxxJDxxx

    The idea of policing language is insane. Language is an ever changing thing and if natural changes are occurring why fight them?

  • crosseyed_mofo

    legislating based on insecurities thats why…

  • Al

    Ironic how people from France scoff at the so-called “French language” in Quebec. From my recent trip to a non-touristy part of Paris, a number of locals would joke about it, saying stuff like, “…what do those “French” people call it?…”Que-be-cois”…” and just make a snarky laugh.

    I wonder if companies would get into trouble if the used “real” French instead of Québécois French.

    On a related note…
    If I have my stories straight… the CEO of Ivanhoe Cambridge, the Quebec based international shopping center developer (the Guildford Town Center is (or was) one of their properties) was recently fired because he couldn’t speak French.

  • crosseyed_mofo

    they dont scoff at the language as much as they are mortified at how insecure the culture is

  • einsteinbqat

    LOL! Policing French when they don’t even master the language properly. Give me a break. I could name so many wrong things people say.

  • Guy from Québec

    I would caution commenting on the cultural reality of Quebecers unless you really understand it. It’s not as simple as wanting to defend a Québec “dialect” of French or sending “language cops” running around to stores to issue tickets for the heck of it. French is an essential part of the Québec identity and yes, it does need legal support to continue to thrive in a predominantly-English continent.

    I think this app is more about enabling Quebecers (not just francophones, if you don’t know the difference between the two then you really don’t know much about Québec) who feel so inclined to be able to select where they do business, it’s not about policing. Whether you believe in voting with your dollars is a whole other issue. But chill out on the Québec-bashing.

  • Guy from Québec

    caution against*, of course.

  • crosseyed_mofo

    i think the one thing that needs to be “chilled out” more than anything else is the overuse of the term “québec bashing”

    its a lazy expression used far too often to placate others into not calling out this province when they are advocating mean spirited legislation

    nobody is advocating for the eradication of french, but this app is targeting anglo’s, which are ALSO an essential part of the québec identity (see the flag of montréal if you need a reference)

  • SlyG

    Gary, can you please remove those stupid comments?

    Thank-You

  • SlyG

    i wonder what people from England think about you english?

  • jfmartel

    Targeting anglo… You saw the screenshot?

  • crosseyed_mofo

    what ABOUT the screenshot jf? besides the horrible interface (we havent even mentioned how bad the design is)

  • Guy from Québec

    How exactly is listing business that are good at serving customers in French targeting anglophone individuals? I don’t follow.

  • crosseyed_mofo

    finnish your sentence please, if its listing businesses that are good at serving customers in french, its also listing businesses that dont

    in a vacuum, nothing wrong here, but the reality is is that this app was developed by the SSJB, which is anti-anglo to the core

    this app arbitrarily gives its users the ability to rate businesses without proper vetting

    if pol pot were alive today, this is the type of app he would have used

  • crosseyed_mofo

    annnnnnd here’s their high quality, based in reality, advertisement

    http://youtu.be/JWYHSSNj6NE

  • Yann

    Nice ! 🙂

  • Seamus

    Separatists, and their insecurities, good thing 90% of emm will croak or be put in retirement homes soon. Old crackheads, never will quebec become a country! With that I’m going to download the app and make a bunch of other people from various forums get it to just sabotage the ratings hahaha!

  • Seamus

    Or perhaps, not sabotage the ratings.
    This app should be instead used to support english shops.
    Dumb Dumb Robert Meloche, and the app looks ugly man oh man. From the same cloth of people that voted for the PQ leader before Marois who admited to taking crack while he was working as a minister. Cocaine sniffers!

  • crosseyed_mofo

    not really, people from england are generally quite fond of all canadians and take no real umbrage with canadian dialect

    they do have a problem with texan tho

  • Angry as hell.

    Does this sound similar to what is happening here in Quebec today? Only difference is it is now the Anglos and Allos that are being persecuted in Quebec.

    On April1, 1933, a week after Hitler became dictator of Germany, he ordered a boycott of Jewish shops, banks, offices and department stores. But the boycott was mostly ignored by German shoppers and was called off after three days. However, the unsuccessful boycott was followed by a rapid series of laws which robbed the Jews of many rights.
    On April 7, “The Law of the Restoration of the Civil Service” was introduced which made ‘Aryanism’ a necessary requirement in order to hold a civil service position. All Jews holding such positions were dismissed or forced into retirement.

    On April 22, Jews were prohibited from serving as patent lawyers and from serving as doctors in state-run insurance institutions.

    On April 25, a law against the overcrowding of German schools placed severe limits on the number of young Jews allowed to enroll in public schools.

    On June 2, a law prohibited Jewish dentists and dental technicians from working with state-run insurance institutions.

    On May 6, the Civil Service law was amended to close loopholes in order to keep out honorary university professors, lecturers and notaries.

    On September 28, all non-Aryans and their spouses were prohibited from government employment.

    On September 29, Jews were banned from all cultural and entertainment activities including literature, art, film and theater.

    In early October 1933, Jews were prohibited from being journalists and all newspapers were placed under Nazi control.

    The similarities are there whether you like it or not and I’m angry as hell and not going to take it anymore!

  • Murray

    Another in along line of xenophobic crap in Quebec. Quebec should be boycotted by everyone who values freedom, and despises racism

  • crosseyed_mofo

    understand that there are MANY people IN quebec who are against this BS