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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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Malak Badrawi - French in Egypt, Syria and Lebanon: Attitudes and Policies 433

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MALAK BADRAWI* French in Egypt, Syria and Lebanon: Attitudes and Policies France's preoccupation with the promotion of her language has been a long-standing concern of French politicians. Nowadays it is evident in the existence of the Haut Conseil de Ia Francophonie, which is chaired by the President of the French Republic, and in the creation of the inter- national Agence de Ia Francophonie. Both organisations strive to en- courage the spread of the French language globally, and their aims and motives seem benign, especially when compared to the not-so-distant past, when the French sought to impose their language on the nations they controlled. The underlying purpose continues to be the need to propagate the French language as a means of promoting French interests and influence, but current attitudes are radically different from those of a century ago. The French can no longer impose themselves through their military power and claim that it is their moral duty to 'civilise' 'backward' countries, nor can they force their language and culture on peoples as they once did. It is, however, true that colonial ambitions were not confined to the French, nor was France the only nation to impose her authority with cannons and bayonets. Moreover, French policies were not immutable; they depended on various factors: the public mood in France, the disposi- tions of different political parties, the tendencies of the cabinet in power, the vagaries of the international situation and the personalities of those responsible for implementing French policy abroad. Furthermore, France's...

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