Patrick Cox of Public Radio International sums up Quebec’s ridiculous language battle for news consumption around the world. Be sure to click the link at the bottom of this post to listen to his podcast.

the world in words

There had been an unofficial ceasefire in Quebec’s language wars for most of the past decade. But late last year, voters returned the separatist Parti Québécois to office. The PQ, which leads a coalition government, is pushing to tighten the province’s laws protecting the French language.

One episode has caught the public’s attention. Last month, inspectors from the government language agency, the Office québécois de la langue française, objected to the repeated use of the word “pasta,” instead of the French word “pâtes,” on a Montreal restaurant menu.

One global outcry and one universally-used catchphrase (“Pastagate”) later, Quebeckers of all linguistic stripes are wondering about the health of the French language, and of the government agency that promotes it.

Huntingdon, Quebec is just a few miles north of the New York border. It’s a small mill town founded by the British. Well, it was a mill town; now all…

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