Language Knowledge and Attitudes toward Quebec among Canadian University Students

By Piroth, Scott; Jackson, David | Quebec Studies, Spring-Summer 2009 | Go to article overview

Language Knowledge and Attitudes toward Quebec among Canadian University Students


Piroth, Scott, Jackson, David, Quebec Studies


This article explores factors that structure attitudes toward Quebec in the rest of Canada (ROC) using a survey conducted in 2004 of college students at English-language universities across the country. Public opinion regarding Quebec in the ROC is important because the country's long-term future may depend on how the ROC can deal with the challenge of Quebec nationalism. Concessions to Quebec that might undermine the appeal of sovereignty to Quebecers will require public support in the ROC, and positive attitudes toward Quebec increase the possibility that such concessions can be made. Conversely, the ability of the ROC to maintain a tough line against separatism in the event of a third referendum may be enhanced by negative attitudes toward Quebec in the ROC.

We expect that attitudes toward Quebec in anglophone Canada will be influenced by the amount and the quality of the contact that anglophone Canadians have with Canada's Francophones. The contact hypothesis holds that "more contact between individuals belonging to antagonistic social groups tends to undermine negative stereotypes and reduce prejudice, thus improving inter-group relations by making people more willing to deal with each other as equals" (Forbes, ix). The contact hypothesis suggests that contact among members of different groups leads to greater communication either through living side-by-side or by having the linguistic ability to communicate, and such contact improves inter-group relations.

Studies have found that anglophone Canadians who live in regions with more French speakers and higher levels of bilingualism evaluate French Canadians more positively than do those Canadians living in regions with fewer French speakers (White and Curtis 1990, Curtis and White 1993). Although it is not clear from these studies whether personal bilingualism or simple proximity explains more positive feelings, meaningful communication is not likely to take place when members of different groups speak different languages and are unable to converse in the language of the other group. Of course, communication occurs even when people do not understand each other, but the level of contact is almost certainly higher as oral communication abilities rise.

The main objective of this article is to examine the influence that knowledge of the French language has on the attitudes of anglophone Canadians toward Quebec. Official bilingualism is often cited as a source of national unity, but prior studies have not compared the political attitudes of those anglophone Canadians who are able to speak and understand French with those who cannot. We review the efforts of the Canadian government to promote bilingualism and test the hypothesis that greater knowledge of French among Anglophones in the rest of Canada leads to more positive attitudes toward Quebec.

Beyond language knowledge, we also consider other factors that influence attitudes toward Quebec in the rest of Canada. We posit that greater contact with French-language popular culture and greater exposure to Canadian television and newspapers will lead to more positive attitudes toward Quebec. In each case, greater contact has the potential to lead to greater understanding and to strengthen the feeling that Quebec is an essential part of Canada. In addition, we analyze regional variations in the attitudes of young Canadians toward Quebec and the impact of political ideology and political party preferences on attitudes toward Quebec. Before testing these relationships, however, we review the various alternative strategies employed by Canada's government when confronting Quebecois nationalism.

Canada's Responses to Quebecois Nationalism

The rest of Canada (ROC) has never been able to offer a consistent response to the threat of Quebec separatism. On one hand, there is Plan A--a policy of accommodating some of Quebec's desires. On the other hand, there is Plan B--a policy of getting tough with Quebec by setting difficult conditions for any eventual attempted secession, and refusing further compromises to keep Quebec in Canada. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Language Knowledge and Attitudes toward Quebec among Canadian University Students
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.