Quebec's language inspectors are launching a campaign designed to boost the visibility of the French language on commercial signs.

The $500,000 awareness campaign by the Office de la langue française (OLF) begins in December and will target large corporations with English trademark names.

The head of Quebec's language agency said English names are permitted but they must be accompanied by a descriptive term or slogan in French.

Louise Marchand said the agency is prepared to help companies meet the requirements and a program has been set up to assist smaller businesses.

Marchand wouldn't say what the penalty will be if companies don't comply.

Officials fear that big-box stores and their anglophone names will undermine Quebec's status as a francophone society.