In 1066, Guillaume (William) duc du Normandie conquered England, and first act was to outlaw the English language totally. In order to make the people comply with these new language laws, he not only punished the Anglo-Saxons found using it, but went one step further by sending his archers into the abbeys and monasteries to kill Anglo-Saxon monks found chanting the vespers in English.
During Norman rule in England life for the Anglo-Saxons was one of extreme cruelty at the hands of the Norman rulers. But there was a side to it that most people are told is a legend, because, it was made to look like a legend because the Norman Catholic clergy did not approve of his actions against the Norman overlords and denounced him. That man was born Robert FitzHoude and while his father was a Norman knight, his mother was Saxon. His father being a Norman knight went off to fight in foreign wars for the king. At that time he was called Robin de Bois (Robin of the woods) hence his English name became Robin Hood.
Robert FitzHoude was raised by his Saxon mother, and saw the cruel way the Normans treated the downtrodden Anglo-Saxons, and decided to take action against the Normans. And thus begins the story of a lone Anglo-Norman who not only took up arms against the Norman rulers of England but established a band that was to finally defeat them and the Norman mercenaries the regent Prince John (the pretender) used in the suppression of the Anglo-Saxons. On the return of King to Richard Coeur de Lion ( Lion Heart) from the Crusades in the Holy Land to England, Robert FitzHoude was knighted by King Richard for his service to the people of England and became Sir Robert FitzHoude of Locksley, Baron of Nottingham and Earl of Sherwood. During that period the population of England was only 10% Norman but was governed by them and even the Catholic hierarchy was controlled by them.
Now let us consider the following. In 1636 France invaded and conquered Brittany. The first act of the French conquerors was to declare French the sole official language and outlaw Gaelic the language of Brittany. It became a criminal offence to speak, read or write in the Gaelic language of the Bretons, and that had been the case until the German invasion of France in 1940. The people of Brittany welcomed the Germans with open arms. Yan Goulet the leader of the Free Breton Movement was instrumental in bringing back Brezhoneg (Gaelic) the language of Brittany at that time. After the allied invasion on D-Day June 6, 1944, Yan Goulet fled to Saorstat Eireann (Irish Free State) which was a neutral country, where he died many years later.
Now we came to Normandy. After Elizabeth I, became Queen of England in the 16th century, Normandy reverted to French rule as the law of inheritance, did not permit a female heir to the English Crown to inherit the Duchy of Normandy, thus all that Elizabeth I inherited on becoming Queen of England were the Channel Islands off the French coast. Now coming under French rule, the Duchy of Normandy was forced to remove the use of Norman-French and replace it with French.
On September 8, 1760, the French military forces under governor Vaudreuil surrendered all of New France to Major-General Jeffrey Amherst at Montreal, New France. On the signing of the Anglo-French Peace Treaty of Paris, not only was the territory of New France ceded to Great Britain but as part of that treaty all France's colonial citizens who were in the main Franco-Amerindians, were given the choice of leaving or staying in the newly conquered British Territory of new France and becoming British subjects. While some left for France and the French colony of Louisiana, 66,000 Franco-Amerindians farmers, (Habitants) decided to stay. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 declared that the former French colony of New France would now be called the Colony of Kebec and was to use the English language. But at no point did the British authorities ban the use of the Joual (French patois) as used by Amerindians. Benjamin Franklin the Deputy POSTMASTER of the British colonies in America urged a Frenchman and friend named Fleury Mesplet to found Kebec's first newspaper The Gazette of Montreal/Le Gazette de Montreal and it was published in a bilingual format. But under the conditions of the Anglo-French Peace Treaty of Paris in 1763, there was no argument which in any way or form accorded any special rights or privileges to the people of the former New France or their descendants when the territory was ceded to Great Britain.
The Joual (French Patois) language cannot be kept alive by archaic laws, any more than you can pass laws restricting commonsense. Kebec has thus unwittingly exposed the weakness of Joual (French Patois) in North America, because they have attempted to hook up a dead person to a life support system hoping that the person will recover, and that is never going to happen. Either you have it or you don't. Laws that discriminate against languages are inherently wrong, and to even attempt to claim otherwise is to attempt to prop up a falsehood. To think back in time, even though the Saxons were badly treated by the Normans, they did not ban the use of Norman-French, but incorporated it into the English language, and brought in 10,000 new words with it. Now that is really using Common Sense.
I consider myself very lucky to be able to comprehend many languages, because it gives me many advantages in the world that I would never have had, if I had not travelled. The gist of my message is, look at life's realities and try to understand situations. Do not pass laws that defy commonsense, it makes one seem like a fool. Remember that knowledge is much more than money in the bank.
If we think 15 -- 20 years hence, when demographics have proved that Kebecois population will have dropped to a third or a quarter of the overall population of that province, can one honestly believe that the non-Kebecois population that are now in the majority will promote the Joual (French patois) language? You have to be dreaming in colour if you really believe that. Between 1760 and 1803, it was not only the French Empire that died in North America, but the French language and its derivatives.
Kenneth T. Tellis