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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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Joy Charnley - Le point de vue suisse romand: the French Language in Switzerland 187


Joy CHARNLEY Le point de vue suisse romand: The French Language in Switzerland It is often said jokingly that 'les Suisses s'entendent parce qu'ils ne se comprennent pas', and it is indeed the case that communication between the country's various language groups is not as good as many outside Switzerland may believe. Thus, commentators have remarked gloomily that 'les communautes linguistiques n 'ont guere vecu ensemble. Elles se sont developpees parallelement, mais sans entretenir beaucoup de con- tacts,' 1 and that the peace that reigns between Switzerland's linguistic groups is 'basee davantage sur l'indifference que sur l'echange' .2 One of the factors militating against better communication is quite simply that 'le pur bilinguisme ou le trilinguisme est beaucoup moins frequent en Suisse que l'etranger n'est enclin ale supposer.' 3 This, combined with the historical tendency for French speakers to look towards Paris, while Italian speakers look to Milan and German speakers to their northern neighbour, has meant that on the whole these cultures do not face one another; rather they 'stand back to back looking towards the outside.' 4 Some have taken this lack of linguistic unity as an indication that it is impossible for Switzerland to ever constitute a country, a view controver- sially expressed by Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz in 1937 when he claimed that 'c'est une accablante entreprise que d'expliquer un peuple, surtout quand il n'existe pas. Mais comment voulez-vous qu'il existat puisque Rene Knusel. Les minorites ethnolinguistiques autochtones a territoire: l'exemple du cas heh·erique (Lausanne: Payot....

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