The Coffee Break. 24 October 2013.
Hello folks and welcome to the coffee break. Coming up in today’s edition: a mayoral candidate calls for more French in Montreal, and some “the story so far” thoughts on Guild Wars 2. Let us begin with Montreal, and how a mayoral candidate says that he will go about preserving the French language in Montreal; even enhancing it.
Michel Brule of the Integrite Montreal group has come out publicly stating that the french language is in danger in Montreal, and that the people live in an Anglo-American Empire which seeks to eradicate the French language, and assimilate others into their society, just as they had did in New England, and attempted to do with the Aboriginals. During his interview with an English language news group in which he replied only in French, Brule stated that it is his goal to increase the amount of French language and culture-related items in and around the city of Montreal. Brule cited that the mascot of the Montreal Canadiens – the NHL hockey team based in Montreal – has become a victim of Anglophone assimilation, and pointing out that there is not a lot of French music being played at these games. The article goes on to say how him and the other candidates are bilingual, but for Brule, his preference is French, and this is one of his primary goals when he comes to office.
While I find Brule’s style – if you will – somewhat disturbing, his sentiment is not entirely without base. Montreal does for the most part contain a fair amount of English that – and this goes for the new immigrant families – is preferred over French simply for reasons of being able to move around the country, and indeed the continent. However French does not seem to be on a decline as Brule, and many PQ sympathizers, will have you believe. Now with that said, there has been a case where a friend of mine who is from Quebec, stated that she is somewhat puzzled by how a mostly French speaking city can get away with using – in some cases – just English. This sort of situation is a bit touchy so to speak as on one hand the English community is old in Quebec, and has their language rights preserved not only by the official languages act, but by the provincial legal system as well. Yet on the other hand, the idea that in a democracy, it is majority rule, brings forth an interesting dilemma of what to do in order to achieve a balance.
Now Brule’s statement of a declining use of French in Quebec is odd in this particular case because Anglophones who choose to stay in Quebec understand the reality of the situation, and work hard to learn French, and develop bilingualism in order to survive there and make a living. However on the flip side, many Francophones will learn English so they can move out of the province if the job market is better on the other side; example being my friend who speaks English to me while in the halls of the university, and has come all the way from Quebec in order to study here – possibly out of an interest to expand her horizons.
Yet for all the arguments that exist, I can sympathize with Brule in that the French language in Montreal may require some protection in order to survive. When you look at places like Hungary, Poland, Latvia, Thailand, etc, you see small countries with languages that are restricted to the geography, and where only their respective regions speak that particular language. Now one can argue that the majority of the Quebecers are French-speaking, but if the numbers decline over time, what sort of impact will that have on Quebec society? Richmond, British Columbia is a good example, where a lot of the store signs are only in Chinese – Mandarin and Cantonese can both understand the written format. Many store clerks that I have interacted with, speak to me first in Mandarin, or Cantonese, and then rotate to English if I ask for something in English. Though this little detail is not something that will cause me to whip out a flamethrower and set things ablaze (humor intended) diverse language groups which do little to accommodate the host language – so to speak – can create some interesting problems, and though we try out best to incorporate the people who arrive from distant lands, it does take a generation or two for them to be broken into the greater society – to use the idea of breaking in boots as a reference. Ultimately a minority should never trump the majority as the majority are the ones who have opened the doors to newcomers, who will keep the nation afloat, and are always interested in introducing “new blood” to the pool – love comes in many formats (humor intended).
Quebec is a French-speaking majority, and if the mayoral candidate wishes to express these views, he does have the freedom to do so. The man is not going about advocating a system of segregation, nor is he going about demanding the removal of all foreigners who lack a strong knowledge of the French language. The man just wants to break down barriers and go about communicating with people in the easiest manner possible: in his own language. After all, I would not be able to speak to the greater Canadian society – or write for you lovely people for that matter – if I locked myself within an enclave, and only spoke to people who understood Cantonese. This is Canada, and our two official languages are English and French. Though we will not discourage you in retaining your past identity, you must respect the provincial majorities for the province you are living in is your new home now, and we expect you to not vandalize the house, and use the front door, rather than the windows, when entering or exiting. While Anglophones have every right to receive services in English when dealing with aspects such as health or education, French is the dominant language in Quebec, and such is the nature of things. The link to the CBC article is located below the paragraph.
Guild Wars 2: so far so good. The game certainly has not failed to deliver an experience like no other as I go about Tyria looking at old landmarks from the past Guild Wars, and entering a sort of moment of nostalgia. There is always a feeling of sadness when I look upon Ascalon: the first place I ever explored in Guild Wars, now reduced to rubble and dirt after two hundred and fifty years of change. Time has not been kind to Ascalon, and though the Ebonhawke fortress still stands as a remnant of the kingdom, it just does not feel the same. Ascalon city is completely destroyed due to erosion, and years of conflict. The great wall is crumbling in certain sections, and the rest of the wall is all but destroyed in the years following the end of the war. Though King Adlbern cursed his soldiers to fight on even in death, most of the land north of the Ebonhawke Fortress has been reclaimed by the Charr, who have now gone about rebuilding their civilization – in a very advanced way.
Exploring in the game is definitely rewarding as you gain experience when you discover new locations, and gain skill points when you complete challenges. Vistas are also a good incentive to perform jumping puzzles as you are rewarded with a spectacular view of the surroundings after you reach the vista – experience points are also included.
Now the moment you all have been waiting for: based on the first impressions, and a good twenty to twenty-five hours of game play, is Guild Wars 2 worth the money? Yes, yes it is worth the money. The game offers players of the old title a fresh new take on the universe, and with constant updates to the game by Arena Net, it will only continue to grow from this point on. The game is not the same as other MMOs, and while some may argue that the interface and mechanics can easily be added to existing MMOs in the form of patches and or expansions, Guild Wars 2 is still a worthwhile experience to try out.
Alright folks, that concludes this coffee break: I hope you all enjoyed it; please share this with other people who may be interested in the topics I cover, it really helps a lot. Thanks for reading, and I will see you next time.