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Re: A visit to Montreal

At 02:48 PM 3/21/2000 -0500, Kevin Crombie wrote:
>As a bilingual Montrealer, I can't let this go by. "Nation" in French means
>"people" not "country." The Assemblee national du Quebec and the
>Bibliotheque nationale du Quebec are the legislature and the library of the
>PEOPLE of Quebec. This is commonly (and even deliberately) misunderstood in
>the rest of Canada.

That's interesting -- but then why not avoid confusion (and the obvious
potential controversy) and just use "gens", "personnes", "population",
"inhabitants", or "peuple" or something? I'm not fully fluent in French
myself, unfortunately, but with the awareness that much of Canada is
similarly not bilingual, isn't the *choice* of the word "nation" (or
"national") kind-of looking for trouble? I mean that in the sense of what
with the whole Quebec issue being such a sensitive one on both sides, and
with so many other less easily-misunderstood words being there which could
be used instead, isn't the choice of using "nation"/"national" a decided
and purposeful one, which is meant to make a statement -- virtually a
political statement -- in itself? If one genuinely wants to avoid
controversy and misunderstanding, why not just choose another word that
serves virtually the same purpose and has the same meaning?

Just a-tryin' ta understand!

Ron :)

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