Montreal suburbs opt to 'STOP' rather than 'ARRET' at intersections
1 day ago
MONTREAL ? The aggressive Montreal driver is rarely shackled by rules of the road, but some French-language purists are worried that the stop signs people blow through increasingly read "STOP" instead of "ARRET."
A handful of anglophone Montreal suburbs have opted to paint the S-word on their roadside octagons instead of the more obviously French alternative.
The provincial Transport Department and the Larousse French dictionary say the word stop is French enough, but some French-language activists say the province should tell the suburbs and motorists to "arret."
"I find it a bit deplorable," said Mario Beaulieu, president of Mouvement Montreal francais, a language-rights group.
"Signage must reflect that French is the official language. The word stop is accepted, that's why it's legal, but I think the word 'arret' better reflects the French face of Montreal and Quebec."
That opinion has others seeing stop-sign red.
"Stop is a perfectly good French word and people are being foolish," said Dollard-des-Ormeaux Mayor Ed Janiszewski, who estimates his town is dotted with more than 1,000 "STOP" signs.
"Stop is a French word as well as an English word, and therefore it's a bilingual expression where 'arret' isn't."
Several predominantly anglophone suburbs have quietly chosen stop, gradually shifting their signs over the years.
"People here know what stop means, they know what 'arret' means, they know what red is," said Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue Mayor Bill Tierney.
"It doesn't really matter what you put up, I mean you could end up with pictograms of a truck smashing into a wall."
In Tierney's suburb, "ARRET" was chosen for its "cachet." Still, as a former resident of France, he admits the red octagons of Paris read "STOP."
"Ste. Anne is a 'ville francaise'," said Tierney. "Even though linguistically we're balanced 50-50, we always flop on the French side."
"STOP" was used across Quebec until the 1980s, when former premier Rene Levesque's government called for signs stamped by both words - with "ARRET" on top.
A few years ago, the Transport Department decided one word was enough.
"Legally, people can choose one or the other," said Gerald Paquette of the Office quebecois de la langue francaise, the province's language watchdog.
"People thought for years that stop was an English word. So when they see a municipality . . . use the word stop they think the town did it on purpose to use the English term."
Paquette, whose department enforces Quebec's language laws, said stop is accepted in both official languages.
But if both words are present, the signs become bilingual under the law.
"When people use the word stop, they are not putting up the English word, they are putting up a French word," he said.
"And when they use the word 'arret,' they are also putting up the accepted French word."
Happy Birthday Yagami Raito by =faeriekitty
I don't understand our canadian cousins, why they want arret, stop is both french and english. We use Stop in France and not Arret.
You are more protectionist than us in Europe.