Let the library banter begin
“The French Language in Quebec: A Common Good for All?” will be the topic of Concordia’s first University of the Streets Café hosted at the Grande Bibliothèque (475 De Maisonneuve Blvd. E.) at the ground-floor Café des lettres on November 3.
Paula Bouffard, a professor at the Concordia Département d’études françaises, will kick off the discussion at 7:30 p.m. Despite legislative tools such as the Charter of the French Language, Bouffard will argue the French language remains under siege. According to the 2006 Census, French has declined below the psychological barriers of 80 percent across the province and 50 percent in Montreal.
The French language debate continues to be a minefield for people on both sides of the linguistic divide and often pits purists against pragmatists. Following Bouffard’s presentation, audience members will be invited to join the conversation on what role they believe French occupies in modern Quebec society.
Organized by Concordia, University of the Streets Cafés are two-hour public conversations held in cafés and other public places. Those who make up each conversation include a moderator, in this case Sophie Ambrosi, who is responsible for the structure and flow of the conversation. Bouffard will be the guest who gets the ball rolling and who will share her perspective on a question at hand, while participants of all ages and from all walks of life will add their take.
The Bouffard conversation continues the President’s Conference Series, called Montreal: On the Stream of Languages. The series is part of a five-year partnership between Concordia and the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BanQ) and entitled, The City is the World: Montreal Through the Eyes of Concordia.
Over six weeks, a group of writers, multimedia artists, performers and presenters will consider how language interacts in our city.