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European Francophonie

The Social, Political and Cultural History of an International Prestige Language


Vladislav Rjéoutski, Gesine Argent and Derek Offord

This volume examines the use of French in European language communities outside France from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century. The phenomenon of French language usage is explored in a wide variety of communities, namely Bohemian, Dutch, medieval English, German (Prussian), Italian, Piedmontese, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish. Each chapter offers unique insight into the existence of francophonie in a given language community by providing illustrations of language usage and detailed descriptions of various aspects of it. The volume as a whole explores such sociolinguistic matters as bilingualism and multilingualism, the use of French as a lingua franca and prestige language, language choice and code-switching, variations in language usage depending on class or gender, language attitudes and language education. The sociohistorical and sociocultural matters considered include the association of a variety of language with the court, nobility or some other social group; the function of French as a vehicle for the transmission of foreign cultures; and the role of language in the formation of identity of various kinds (national, social and personal).
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About the author

About the author


Vladislav Rjéoutski is Research Fellow at the German Historical Institute in Moscow. A cultural and social historian with an interest in education and the press in eighteenth-century Europe, he has published books on French-speaking educators, French emigration and Franco-Russian contacts.

Gesine Argent is Research Fellow at the University of Bristol. She works in the field of sociolinguistics and has a particular interest in debates about language use, language attitudes, linguistic purism and identity negotiation, especially in relation to foreign linguistic influences.

Derek Offord is Research Professor in Russian at the University of Bristol. He is a specialist in pre-revolutionary Russian intellectual, literary and cultural history and his recent books include a monograph on Russian travel writing and a co-edited history of Russian thought.

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