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French in and out of France

Language Policies, Intercultural Antagonisms and Dialogue

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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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Stephen Judge - Language as a Human Right: A Legal Problem for France 73

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STEPHEN JUDGE Language as a Human Right: A Legal Problem for France An important contemporary issue in terms of language policy is the legal status of regional and minority languages in relation to a country's official language(s). Since the continued existence of these languages is often threatened, it is often argued that linguistic minorities should be protec- ted and their languages promoted on the grounds of cultural diversity. However, the protection of linguistic minorities can also be seen as a threat to national stability in that it can encourage ideas about self- determination. In addition, the recognition and protection of linguistic minorities is sometimes seen as contrary to the principle of the equality of individuals before the law. This chapter is concerned with describing and analysing the history of the protection afforded to linguistic minori- ties internationally and within Europe, and the extent to which they can be said to have the right to claim protection for their language and their right to use it in the private and the public sphere as a legally enforceable human right. This chapter also examines the problems that the French state has with regard to the recognition of linguistic minority rights with specific reference to the Council of Europe's Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, which the French signed in May 1999, but which was de- clared incapable of ratification in June 1999 due to its partial incompati- bility with the French Constitution. The Nature of Human Rights While there is widespread...

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