Monday, December 29, 2014

Should speaking the official language in public places become law?

These days the streets, trains, malls, shops, grocery stores, coffee shops, banks, in short all public places are so crowded.  Looks like the entire inhabitants of the city are making an attempt to be out and about.  There is so much noise, people in groups speaking loudly on the train, in the street, and pretty much everywhere. In midst of the hustle and bustle it's hard not to notice the variety of languages,other than one of the two official languages, French, or English, spoken.

Perhaps it is the convenience, and/or the peace of mind that prompts the choice of language.  Convenience that the language equips with all that is necessary to impress, express all the details of a narrative, and peace of mind that the words spoken is privy only to the individuals it is intended for.  If English or French are not spoken as widely as one would expect, it is perhaps because they cannot satisfy these needs.

 But what is the implication of such a choice?  On the surface it doesn't seem to have any [implication].  After all a conversation in a public place should be worthy only to its participants, and noise to the rest; the expressionless faces of non-participants is evidence of their indifference.  Even businesses hire people from many different ethnic backgrounds to be able to claim we-speak-your-language to encourage doing business with them.  Another variation of the same topic is the store signage printed in languages other than the two official languages, implicitly employing and serving a select ethnic group.

Toronto remains a mosaic of many languages. In 2006, forty-seven percent of the population had a mother tongue in a language other than English or French.

If we encourage, or ignore this trend, Toronto will not be one city, instead it will be hundred different cities within one city.  There won't be one Toronto, but a Chinese Toronto, an Italian Toronto, a Portuguese Toronto, a Russian Toronto, in short a Toronto divided amongst many visible minorities.  As a government thrives on having a majority, Toronto will also benefit from having a majority of its residents speaking either English or French fluently.

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