'Bonjour, hello?': Negotiations of Language Choice in Montreal

Type of resource
Authors/collaborators
Title
'Bonjour, hello?': Negotiations of Language Choice in Montreal
Abstract
The author points out that the decision of whether to use French or English in Montreal is not always predetermined but must be negotiated by the interactants in conversation in ways that can be serious or humorous and have great potential for misunderstanding. The complex relationship between language choice and ethnicity is one factor involved in the decision about which language to use. Each language choice situation has its own set of norms, generally unspoken and sometimes governed by circumstance, as in the situation of a patient seeking medical care. Conversants may identify their preference immediately, negotiate the choice of language, or wait until spoken to in their preferred language. In cases in which language choice may be politically determined, one conversant may prefer not to identify a preference. The negotiation process can become a negotiation not only of language choice but also of interpretive frame. The author points out that larger-scale events thus have a direct effect on people's communication strategies, but the events are also affected by interpersonal negotiations, an example of how language can come to have social values attached to it.
Book Title
Proceedings of the Fourth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society
Place
Berkeley, CA
Publisher
Berkeley Linguistics Society
Date
1978
Pages
588-597
Language
en
Notes

Repropduced in: John J. Gumperz, ed. Communication, Language and Social Identity. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1982.

Citation
Heller, Monica S. “‘Bonjour, Hello?’: Negotiations of Language Choice in Montreal.” In Proceedings of the Fourth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, edited by et al Jaeger, 588–597. Berkeley, CA: Berkeley Linguistics Society, 1978.
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