BY DAVIDMURRAYLAW@GMAIL.COM

Cultures

 

 

 

 

 

There is a bar – La Remise –
just around the corner.

I go there, regularly,
for a host of reasons.

Walking at night is good.
Alcohol helps me forget.
I want to learn joual.

What is joual – you may say?
I am not sure I can answer authoritatively.

Is it predominantly the language of Quebec’s villages and valleys that has made its way to its towns and cities?

Is it an idiom imported to Quebec by its earliest settlers, a collage of the languages – Breton and Gallo – spoken in northwestern France – whence most of the settlers came, well before Paris standardised its lingua franca?

Is it the language of osmosis when two cultures clash and co-exist, as francos and anglos have in Quebec for now hundreds of years?

My friend Michel says it is the latter,
He is most surely right, but methinks it may be all of these.

I still remember the twangs and the unfathomable expressions
that I heard when listening to people my age (the older generation)
attending a wedding in an enchanting village north of Nantes in 2010.

Back to the bar.
While I conversed with a francophone whose propos I could hardly fathom
a congregation of Québécoises, one more fetching than the other
– I was tempted to undergo a multiple face- and body-lift, right there on the spot –
sang along with Anglophone artists from around the world
in impeccable English, knowing every tune and each refrain.

I am in envy.
I wonder in my advancing age.
how I may become as worldly as they.

Should I hang out more in La Remise?
Should I cancel my anglophone-TV channels?
Should I try to get to know one of these ladies, closely….?

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