Language Policies, Intercultural Antagonisms and Dialogue
Edited By Kamal Salhi
Gabriella Parker - The Fifth Republic and the Francophone Project 11
GABRIELLE PARKER The Fifth Republic and the Francophone Project The launch of the Francophone Project and the establishment of the Fifth Republic did not coincide exactly. The Fourth Republic invested in the promotion of French language, and its successor pursued largely the same policy and collected the dividends. Both the word, and the notion of, francophonie re-emerged in 1962, four years after the foundation of the Republic 1 and long after the word was originally coined at the end of the nineteenth century. Language policy was elaborated over the years, and adapted to international circumstances and the particular approach taken by each successive President. In the course of time structures were devel- oped to provide the framework for, and means to implement, these poli- cies. The Secretariat d'Etat charge de Ia Francophonie, for instance, was only created in 1986. Continuity and a large measure of consensus have been the hall- marks of French language policy. France's linguistic and cultural policies are subsets of the country's foreign policy. The French language is per- ceived as the symbol of French identity. In consequence, to promote the language is to promote France and French interests; to protect the lan- guage is to protect French interests; to protect French interests is to protect the language: 'La defense de Ia langue fran~aise est devenue, au til du temps, un enjeu identitaire largement consensuel. ' 2 There has been continuity in two specific areas throughout the four decades of the Fifth Republic: the political consensus...
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