Dear Readers:

The language police in Quebec always remind me of a schoolyard bully. They love to push around people that can’t fight back!
An Italian restaurant in Montreal has found itself in the disapproving crosshairs of Quebec’s language police for using Italian names for dishes on its menu — despite the fact that French names for some of the dishes do not even exist.
“They told me ‘polpette’ [Italian meatball] should be ‘boulettes de viande,’ so I asked them what to call ‘insalata caprese,’” said Massimo Lecas, owner of the Buonanotte restaurant, referring to a southern Italian tomato and mozzarella salad.
National Post Photo IllustrationNational Post Photo IllustrationQuebec’s language police have told an Italian restaurant in Montreal that menu items, including polpette, pasta and insalata caprese, must be translated into French. In the case of the salad, they were unable to suggest an alternative.
“We’ve asked them what they would recommend, and they don’t even have answers,” he added.
On Tuesday, Mr. Lecas received a detailed letter from the Office québécois de la langue française citing him in violation of the Charter of the French Language for peppering his menu with words such as “pasta,” “pesce,” “antipasti,” “calamari” and, on the wine list, the Italian word for “bottle.”
“My menu is completely French, what I have in Italian are the names of my dishes,” said Mr. Lecas.
imagesCAFY6AETEach Italian name on the menu is also immediately followed by its French description. Below “insalata mista,” for instance, the dish is identified in French as a mixed salad.
Notably, the word “pizza” escaped the language office’s ire.
Martin Bergeron, spokesman for the office, said there are exceptions under the language law when there is no equivalent French term and if that’s the case the matter is usually dropped.
Otherwise, French terms are preferred under the law.
Let me tell ya something kids, I don’t know about the term “pasta,” but whoever is giving this guy a hard time is a real “Basta!”