Quebec is making noise for reasons other than their hockey team. It seems as though the city essentially employs a language police to ensure stores and their offerings read in a very specific way.
Last Thursday, Stephane Rhéaume learned this the hard way, as his restaurant, Resto Mama Grilled Cheese, was sent a notice by the OQLF (Office de la Langue Française). The citation said that Stephane and his restaurant were in violation of Quebec’s French Language laws. And, as you just read: his restaurant’s name is in English, and is fighting the good fight for the local’s everyday nomenclature. The OQLF would rather they call that gooey goodness melted between two slices of bread a “sandwich de fromage fondu,” which roughly translates to “melted cheese sandwich.” While 95% of Quebec City is fluent in French, they find that sandwich de fromage fondu doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. More than that, Rhéaume says that he’s never once heard someone call it a sandwich fromage fondu:
It’s never happened. The only difference between the French and the English, is that the French, we usually say ‘un grill cheese’ instead of ‘un grilled cheese.’ Usually we don’t pronounce the ‘D’ but that’s about the only nuance.
Rhéaume took this silly fight to the local and national media, and because of the attention it gathered, the OQLF backtracked pretty quickly by issuing a press release clarifying that, while they object to the title, the storefront won’t need to change its name anytime soon.
Fight! Fight! Fight! …But of course it’s Canadians, so surely this war will be waged very politely.