Wished-for and Unwished-for Identities
Edited By Flocel Sabaté
Bilingualism, multilingualism, immersion: Towards the construction of identity in Northern Catalonia
Université de Perpignan
Nowadays, in almost all jobs, in international relations, trade, cooperation, etc., languages (other than the mother tongue) have become essential. Industry and trade are cross-border activities and the circulation of people from one side to the other of the frontiers is one of the characteristics of our modern economy. Globalisation has given languages a utilitarian aspect, whereby if a language is not called “international”, if it is of “no use” for international trade, if it “doesn’t have” great authors, thinkers, or leading scientists who write in it, it is not considered a language of interest. The languages considered “interesting” at an international level (English, Mandarin, Castilian, French, German, etc.) attract many students and these give them even more weight. This is the case of English, for example. The other languages, those “less interesting” for international trade, often called minority languages, are condemned to disappear if this trend is not reversed soon1. This is the situation of the so-called regional or minority languages in France. These include Catalan, Occitanian, Breton and Alsatian. Foreign language learning begins at an ever-earlier age confirming that, in the modern world, education is really “from the cradle to the grave”. The new socio-professional demands regarding foreign languages also explain this early learning. This professional utilitarianism of the language learned goes against the so-called minority languages, as their usefulness for international trade is much less. Globalisation has led to an exponential growth in...
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