Language cops spark furor after Canadian restaurant told 'pasta' should be in French

Published February 22, 2013

| FoxNews.com

Holy pasta, or should we say pâtes alimentaires.

One Quebec eatery has become the target of the region's overzealous language police who said there was too much Italian on Italian restaurant’s menu. 

Creating offense were words like "pasta," "antipasti," "carne," "pesce," and "calamari," reports the CBC.  

It all started when the Office Québécois de la langue française, which enforces the province's strict rules that French be the predominant language, investigated a citizen complaint against the Italian restaurant Buonanotte in Montreal. 

Owner Massimo Lecas, who's hosted such A-listers as Céline Dion, Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro in his eatery, claimed that the Italian words such as "pasta," "antipasti," and "calamari"--among others--should all have a French translation on the menu.

Hence the beginning of Pastagate --and the unsurprising mockery and ridicule of the agency on social media.

The hashtag #pastagate was created as well as a parody Twitter account, @QuebecPasta that tweeted lines such as: "Holly Ravioli the PQ's taken this whole situation too Farfalle." 

All the ribbing caused the language police to eat their words. The Montreal Gazette reports that the the Office québécois de la langue française acknowledged having displayed "an excess of zeal."

But the incident got other business owners to recount their tales of translation dramas with the agency.  According to the Gazette, one British-style restaurant was forced to lose the "fish and chips," on its menu, while another Italian restaurant was forced to translate "ristorante" on its sign. 

 

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