Language Policies, Intercultural Antagonisms and Dialogue
Edited By Kamal Salhi
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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