Really two countries

Learning from receiptsThis receipt is from a French sporting goods chain store in my sister’s town. The entire receipt is in Dutch (Flemish), except for the descriptive slogan.

Belgium is divided into French- and Flemish-speaking parts. They don’t get along very well, in general. Both parts are very mono-lingual, as far as things like signage and available printed materials.

This is interesting to me, in light of Canada’s very bilingual packaging and signage, in spite of the relatively small portion of French-speaking people. And most all packaging in Switzerland has their four major languages on it.

Culture and politics do affect communication.

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2 Replies to “Really two countries”

  1. Canada is very bilingual in terms of signage and packaging but the idea of harmony that gives off, does not run very deep. I realize this is not what you were talking about but I think it’s interesting how much I infer from media pieces. 

    The government in Canada imposes that everything be written in French and English, the English speaking people on the other hand… for the most part… seem to staunchly hate that very law. French Canada wanted to split off from the rest of the country not too long ago, and managed to offend a great many English speaking Canadians in the process. I have seen very little harmony between the two cultures up there. Of course, there is some. We do have two nieces that have done French immersion, meaning they took all their high school courses, except for English, in French. They did that by choice. And having said all that, I have not been to French speaking Canada, just BC, Alberta and Sask.

    1. Great points, Courtney!

      The thing that amazes me is the acceptance of the bilingualism in Canada. I have also been to Canada & seen the sometimes animosity between English and French speakers. But somehow the huge majority bends to the will of the minority.

      When I see Spanish billboards in the US, I think it’s purely economic — the advertisers realize how they will sell more using Spanish. But I think the use of French in Canada is way beyond economic.

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