"Bonjour Hi!" The latest Quebec kerfuffle

For a couple of years the Quebec fanatics have had their knickers in a knot because some downtown Montreal merchants are using Bonjour Hi as a greeting! I say get a life but….

Some Bloc Quebecois member of parliament suggested that the say Bonour Ho! Instead!
First off its pretty stupid and I would not use it but what amazes me is that Angos(English) are getting offended over it because of the slang meaning of “HO” Women are saying its offensive and men are saying they will knock out the teeth of anyone who said it to their wives

Why? Yes I know what it means but that’s not what it means!
Would you be offended if you walked up to Santa with your wife and 2 daughters and he said HO HO HO?
Are you offended if I walk into the garden center and ask for a Hoe?
Are you offended if you hear a French person talking about seals? (How many of you know that one?)

I am curious as to what English speakers outside of Quebec think

Yeah, seems like a lot of nonsense to me.

I couldn't give
about hearing a store clerk say "Bonjour Ho" (nor "Bonjour Hi").

I must admit, though, that I like your "get-a-life-but.." greeting. I'm going to try that out today. :smiley:

Not offended at all as I usually just say the same thing back as a way of being polite .

If you didn't tell me I probably would think they seem to have an accent that changes the I to an O not knowing the politics behind it .

Let people say hi anyway they want and tell government to take a hike .



I hear all sorts of things in other languages that sound potentially offensive in English. It doesn't bother me because, you know, it's in another language.

As Anglos we can be very ignorant of other cultures and languages sometimes, believing that all words eventually lead to English.

For example, the word "plot", which has several benign meanings in English, has a VERY vulgar meaning in French. Similarly, the word "katsu" has different meanings in several languages and is also a surname, but it's VERY close to a vulgar word in at least one other language. Nobody takes offense to this, yet us Anglos get all bent out of shape over the use of "ho" in a French. It's ridiculous. And ignorant.

Well I have to say its not just Anglos. The is a word in the language of my ancestors that is pronounced B*tch I remember my grandmother's tenant( French Quebecer) being all bent out of shape claiming she was offended at our constant swearing. This woman did not even speak English and she was offended by a word in a third language because it was pronounced the same as the one swear word that she knew!

Come to think of it I don't remember if I explained that it was a perfectly acceptable word for a female dog! Prob not, her head would have exploded

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On a tangent, but somewhat related.

When Dr Samuel Johnson completed his lexicography, the first real English dictionary, he was visited by a number of delegations congratulating him, including a delegation of rather well-to-do women, who specifically congratulated him on having decided to exclude all indecent words.

Dr. Johnson's response. . . "Ladies I congratulate you on your persistence in looking them up."

The late Christopher Hitchens using that:


I would like to walk into Quebec Parliament and say Hi There :slight_smile:

Except this is not about the Quebec government...its about English Quebecers being offended

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what is the history behind Bonjour Hi?

Reminds me of an old Red Skelton joke
The knock on a woman's door and ask her what her complaint is
She says look out that window...that man is taking a shower and he did not draw his curtains. Its indecent, its obscene! The police man says well lady....You cannot see anything below his waist.

The woman replies. Oh yeah! Well just stand on that table and have a look

Some merchants in Downtown Montreal started using it as a greeting when people enter their stores. The diehards did not like it and complained to the media who made a big deal about it!

One minister claimed that he was going to make it illegal to use the word "Hi" but the premiere stepped in and said no they cannot do that but wanted to discourage people from using the phrase.

The Bloc Quebecois came up with the solution of using HO instead of hi but they dont know the meaning of the slang word and anglos are offended buy it.

I don't know which is more ridiculous. Suggesting it(because it is meant to avoid an English word) or being offended by it (Because the MP is not saying that anyone entering the store should be called a ho)

why not just let people say what ever greeting they want to?

I think it is more of a minus to have a problem with HI than HO.

I also think it is an even bigger minus to demand that people say Bonjour.

Once you tell me I have to say Bonjour, I dont care if it is Bonjour Hi, Bonjour HO, or Bonjour tee hee, I just will not.

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Sain baina uu.

Let's all speak Mongolian.

If that is your choice, why not :slight_smile:

Just dont blame people if they think you are swearing at them :slight_smile:

You are preaching to the choir

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far out :slight_smile:

I am bilingual...If you speak to me in English. I will reply in English, If you speak to me in French, I will reply in French

yo ro, re your first post.

I dont think anyone goes up to a garden tool and says hi, or bonjour.

HO HO HO is very different than just HO

There are people in some parts that commonly use the slang term hoe. It would be totally understandably if they got offended by someone talking to a woman saying boujour ho. In the end, I think it would be tactful, to say the leastl, not to use that as a greeting. Even if you had to say bonjour

How about we compromise with "Bonjour, horde"?