Language Used in Greeting Customers in Shops and Retail Stores
In 2010 the OQLF (Office québécois de la langue française) carried on a survey in downtown Montreal on the language in which customers were greeted.
This survey was replicated in 2012 but on a smaller scale. Its scope was restricted to downtown St.-Catherine Street (between Papineau and Atwater).
Results show a significant decrease over a two-year period in the use of French as the only language to greet customers in shops and retail stores, from 89% in 2010 down to 73% in 2012. Curiously enough, this finding is not mentioned in the summary published by the OQLF (OQLF, 2012a: 5 where the figure given is 74% for 2012 and the 2010 figure is omitted).
There is a corresponding increase in the use of bilingual greetings from 1% in 2010 up to 14% 2012. However there was no difference in the impossibility to get services in French over this two-year period (OQLF, 2012b: 16 and 22). These findings lend weight to the popular perception that the overall use of French in Montreal is indeed decreasing.
OQLF, 2012a, Bilan de l’évolution de la situation linguistique au Québec, Langue du commerce et des affaires, Faits saillants. Montreal: Office.
OQLF, 2012b, La langue d’accueil, de service et d’affichage des noms d’entreprise des commerces de détail du centre-ville de Montréal en 2012 selon les observations. Montreal: Office.