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French in and out of France

Language Policies, Intercultural Antagonisms and Dialogue


Edited By Kamal Salhi

This book examines policy planning and implementation and language variation in the realm of intercultural communication in France, Europe, the Americas, Australia, North and Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. The book aims to discern trends in the development of the capacity of Francophone speakers to engage in dialogue across linguistic boundaries. Each study in the volume seeks to evaluate and analyse the antagonistic situations that have resulted from colonial culture and the post-independence hegemonic cultures. These situations are investigated through their expression in the French language and the languages with which it coexists in the countries considered here. The expertise of linguists and language specialists in this volume provides formalist and structural insights and an innovative phenomenology of language and newly available quantitative and qualitative studies of synchronic language. These methodologies are applied to a wide range of subject areas: law, history, literature, politics and society. Taken as a whole the book offers a fresh perspective on the issues surrounding French within and beyond France in the post-colonial and Francophone contexts.


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Anne Judge - Contemporary Issues in French Linguistic Policies 35


ANNE JUDGE Contemporary Issues in French Linguistic Policies France is a country with a long history marked by violent upheavals and turbulence, and yet with a remarkable degree of underlying continuity. This history has been typified by evolution rather than revolution. Thus, the roots of many of today' s linguistic ideals, policies and antagonisms may be traced back to the Middle Ages and the 'Ancien Regime'. It is true that during the 1789 Revolution they took on a new meaning, a new dynamism and a new purpose, but they remained intrinsically true to tradition. It is only in very recent years that completely different forces have come to the fore, clashing with traditional policies and attitudes. It is unclear at present whether these forces will be dominant in the future, but they have, so far, led to major debates in which the very foundations of the state have been re-examined. Some of these forces work within the state and have brought about the centralisation of the state and standardisation of the language. There are also forces external to the state, principally the European Union, which is able to limit France's power to legislate on language issues, and the Council of Europe, which is influential, though its decisions are not binding. At the same time, since these external forces have liberated many previously repressed internal forces, the attitudes of some French people are changing to the point that questions are being asked that might one day affect the very existence of...

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