The words "grilled-cheese" and "cocktail" can now appear on menus in the province.

Jillian Kramer
September 21, 2017

The Office Quebecois de la Langue Francaise—commonly referred to as Quebec's language police—have been waging a war against English words appearing on menus and in restaurant names. (Why order a grilled cheese, the agency has said, when you can ask for a sandwich au fromage fondant?) But this week, the agency seems to be letting go of its grudge against several Americanized-phrases, including two common menu items: grilled cheese and cocktails, both of which can now appear on menus and in restaurant names across the province without earning the ire of the language police.

As the CBC reports, Quebec's language police have updated their rules online, now deeming "grilled-cheese," "baby-boom," "cocktail," "softball," "smash," and "leader" acceptable to use in place of their French counterparts. In other words, the next time you go to order a drink in one of Quebec's bars, you'll likely see a list of "cocktails" in places of a list of "coquetels."

"Language is something that is vivant," Jean-Pierre Le Blanc, a spokesperson for the OQLF, told the CBC, using the French term for something that is living or ever-changing.

"The phenomenon of borrowing from other languages has been going on for a long time."

The agency had previously taken a staunch stance against grilled cheese, especially against one restaurant, Resto La Mama Grilled Cheese Gourmet, which refused to change its name to Resto La Mama Sandwich au Fromage Fondant, which doesn't quite sound quite as catchy. The restaurant eventually won the battle and was able to keep its original name.

According to the CBC, the OQLF is charged with protecting the French language throughout the province, and ensuring its correct usage. It has a staff of some 230 people to accomplish its task, including more than 20 linguists, and a yearly budget of $24 million.