[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

French speaking in Maine

<<On Sun, 25 Mar 2001 16:44:58 EST, Dib9@aol.com said:

> Another thought: There are lots of places in Maine where a majority of 
> residents are of Franco descent, but that does not mean they speak the 
> language.  Most Franco-Americans today cannot speak French.

[raises hand half-way]

> If there was really anything close to a French speaking majority, you would 
> see French language programming on the radio.

You do -- it's just not on U.S.-licensed radio stations, and (as you
noted) the listenership concentrated in the St. John Valley.
Similarly in far northern Vermont: there's more than enough
French-language radio beaming down from Montreal to prevent local
broadcasters from attempting to serve that dwindling market.

As recently as a decade ago, when I was in high school, I had
classmates whose families spoke French at home (and Vermont was
receiving Federal funds for a French-language bilingual education
program).  I don't think that would be true today -- even in Vermont
there are probably more native Spanish speakers than native French
speakers, under the age of 30.  I think to some extent this is
intentional; francophone parents don't want to put their children at a
social or educational disadvantage.  (My mother's parents spoke French
at home until my mother was three years old, at which point they left
Eagle Lake for factory jobs in Connecticut.  They even went so far as
to anglicize their names: Laurent and Therèse became Lawrence and


Garrett A. Wollman   | O Siem / We are all family / O Siem / We're all the same
wollman@lcs.mit.edu  | O Siem / The fires of freedom 
Opinions not those of| Dance in the burning flame
MIT, LCS, CRS, or NSA|                     - Susan Aglukark and Chad Irschick