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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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Maeve Conrick - French in the Americas 237


MAEVE CoNRICK French in the Americas The history of French in the Americas may be traced back to the arrival of Jacques Cartier on the shores of the Saint Lawrence in 1534. It was not until a century later that the French language became established in Quebec and Acadia (the present day Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island). By far the greatest concentration of Francophones in the Americas is still to be found in Canada, where the Francophone population has reached 6.7 million (or 23.5% of the total population), according to the most recent census in 1996. 1 The number of people in Canada as a whole with French as mother tongue continues to increase: in 1996 it was up 2% from 1991 and 16% from 1971. However, Franco- phones are a minority in terms of the overall population of Canada, which numbers 17.1 million (or 59.8%) English-speakers. In addition to this, the fact that Canada's nearest neighbour is the United States, with its overwhelmingly Anglophone population, means that the Francophone population is geographically (and some would say ideologically) sur- rounded by an Anglophone culture. This situation has led to a marked defensiveness on the part of Francophones in Canada and especially in Quebec, where 86% of the country's Francophones are concentrated. Many Quebecers see themselves as the standard bearers of French tradi- tion, culture and identity in America, and language has become one of the linchpins of this identity, and often the defining feature. Consequent- ly, it...

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