Driving downtown one sunny morning, I noticed a billboard for Sugar Sammy, a comedian, and his sold-out show "You're Gonna Rire." It was at that moment that I knew I had to write a blog. About bilingualism. About Montreal. About my life. About this gorgeously, sunny day. About the best place in the world to enjoy it, right here in vibrant, bilingual, multi-cultural Montreal. You're right—I had just had my second cup of coffee and was feeling goooooooooood.
I switched off the radio to think about it some more. Lots of countries boast more than one official language. Lots of people are bilingual. Or trilingual. Or quadra...um, multi-lingual. What's different about Montreal?
For me, at least, what's different about Montreal is the element of surprise. People switch so effortlessly between French and English. You can approach a French Quebecker with a friendly "bonjour", and if they hear your accent, they're likely to switch back to an equally-mispronounced "hello". All in the name of proving that we understand each other. Franglais takes on a new meaning here. When I was in high school (and yes, I said high school, thus giving up the fact that I'm actually American), franglais was a mistake. Here, it's an art.
So, if you're as enamored with our bilingual city as I am—or baffled or outraged or ecstatic or je ne sais quoi—then join in the discussions. Because I can guarantee that you're going to rire.