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European Francophonie

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

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Edited By 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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Preface

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Extract

This is a volume about the use of French in European language communities outside France. It surveys a dozen such communities. Its main focus is on the period from the mid-seventeenth century to the nineteenth, although it also touches at certain points upon earlier and later periods. Each chapter aims both to provide a tour d’horizon of the use of French in a given community and to illustrate the phenomenon by means of a more detailed description and appraisal of certain aspects of it.1

The volume is conceived primarily as a contribution to the field of historical sociolinguistics. Contributors therefore explore such matters as the use of French as a prestige language and lingua franca, bilingualism and multilingualism, language choice, code-switching, variations in usage depending on class or gender, language attitudes and language education. However, it also attempts to bring the approaches and preoccupations of other disciplines (for example, social, cultural, intellectual and political history and the history of education, the book and the press) to bear upon the study of language in historical situations. Its socio-historical and socio-cultural subject-matter includes the association of language varieties with the court, the nobility or some other social milieu or 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.

The material in the volume arises mainly out of a series of seminars on francophonie across Europe which...

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