Campbellton — While many are exchanging seasons greetings at this time of year, a different greeting was on the minds of Québécois last week.
Last Thursday, the Quebec National Assembly unanimously passed a resolution formally asking merchants to stop saying the standard “Bonjour-Hi” greeting. Instead, Quebecers were urged greet customers only in French by simply saying “Bonjour.” A resolution to that effect — sponsored by the Parti Québécois — sailed through the legislature with all 111 MNAs voting in favour, including the ruling Quebec Liberal Party members.
Now, New Brunswickers are reaching out to their northern neighbour to urge them to backtrack halfway. Bilingualism advocates are urging Quebecers to adopt a new “Franglais” greeting instead — “Bonjour-whassup.”
“In New Brunswick — Canada’s officially bilingual province — the greeting ‘Hello Bonjour‘ is heard just about everywhere,” said Campbellton resident Sue Haits. “We are used to making sure that everyone feels accommodated in their preferred language. It’s a signal that we are cool with either English or French…you do you, it’s fine.
“That said, if ‘Hi’ is too English for the Quebec politicians, maybe they could consider switching it with something that’s not quite English…like ‘Whassup,’ or simply ‘Sup?’
“‘Bonjour-sup’ is a friendly and hip way to greet both anglophone and francophone customers but doesn’t use a traditional English word in any sense,” said Haits.
Haits has a backup plan if there are no takers on her initial proposal. “If ‘Bonjour-sup’ doesn’t catch on, we have other not-quite-English options to pitch. Perhaps a Newfoundland greeting will work like ‘Bonjour-whaddayat?,’ or one with a Southern U.S. twist — ‘Bonjour-howdy y’all!’.
“Or maybe something non-verbal is the way to go,” she said, holding up a dinner plate-sized 😎 emoji. “I’m sure we can get something for everyone if we just keep trying.”