Language Policies, Intercultural Antagonisms and Dialogue
Edited By Kamal Salhi
Kamal Salhi and Hendri Jeanjean - France and her Linguistic Minorities: A Case of 'Domestic Colonialism' in Occitania 137
KAMAL SALHI AND HENRI JEANJEAN France and her Linguistic Minorities: A Case of 'Domestic Colonialism' in Occitania Linguistic and cultural matters have always been high on the list of priorities for French governments. As Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alain Juppe remarked that 'Ia diplomatie culturelle constitue une dimension essentielle de notre politique etrangere et, d'une certaine fa~on, est Ia marque de sa singularite.' 1 At the 1995 Francophone summit held in Cotonou, Jacques Chirac, the French President asserted that 'Ia langue etant !'expression d'un peuple, il fallait tout faire pour conserver les langues. ' 2 The campaigners who denounce the growing use of English in international forums, on the Internet or in French public life, and organise themselves to defend the French language claim that their actions are motivated by a concern for linguistic pluralism. However, it is necessary to understand these campaigns in their historical context: for centuries French language policies have been framed with the purpose of wiping out minority languages in the country. The current concern about the French language may be seen as a response to the threats that are thought to be posed by two relatively recent political developments: the decentral- isation of France and the creation of the European Union. Both appear to offer opportunities for action to strengthen regional languages and en- courage the resolve of those who, like the Occitanists,3 have been work- ing to keep their culture alive for over a century. The focus in this chapter is on...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.