Language Policies, Intercultural Antagonisms and Dialogue
Edited By Kamal Salhi
Peter Brown, Chantal Crozet, Tony Liddicoat and Louise Maurer - French in Australia: Policies and Practices 265
PETER BROWN, CHANTAL CROZET, TONY LIDDICOAT AND LOUISE MAURER French in Australia: Policies and Practices Australia has been very active in its development of language policy documents, with numerous reports and policy statements appearing al- most on an annual basis since the first official languages policy was adopted in 1987. While none of the policies deals explicitly with French, the place of French in Australian education can be ascertained by ex- amining these documents. In order to understand the place of French (and of languages in general) in Australian education, it is necessary to examine some of the history that led to the development of the nation's first languages' policy. An examination of early government documents relating to educa- tion shows a rather suspicious view of languages, and from about 1870, when the colonial governments began to involve themselves in education, the main emphasis appears to have been placed on restricting their study. 1 Within this context, French fared quite well. Having transported its prestige in Britain to the Australian colonies, French was one of the most widely taught of the small number of languages available in nineteenth- century Australia, with Latin and German also having a strong presence. The restrictions on languages in the public domain were continued and strengthened during the period following the First World War. Lim- itations placed on the use of foreign languages in the press during wartime persisted long after 1918 and, in some cases, survived until the 1970s, with even 'community' languages being...
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