The Social, Political and Cultural History of an International Prestige Language
Edited By Vladislav Rjéoutski, Gesine Argent and Derek Offord
7. The Domains of Francophonie and Language Ideology in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Prussia
In order to describe the role of French in eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Prussia we shall inevitably have to speak of the power of attraction that French culture exerted on Prussia in the Age of Enlightenment. This power made itself felt in a large number of the practices and cultural phenomena of the time: literature, fashion, architecture, daily life, music, correspondence and, of course, language. Francophonie in eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Prussia was thus part of a far-reaching social process of cultural positioning. Almost simultaneously with this turning towards France, a rediscovery of language was taking place in Germany during the second half of the eighteenth century. This rediscovery, as Peter Burke has said, did not embrace diversity and plurilingalism, unlike in the previous two centuries, but shifted attention towards linguistic unity. It was closely bound up with the invention of the nation and the formation of national identities.1
Prussia in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was a multi-denominational, multi-cultural and plurilingual country, on discontinuous territory, and found itself between militarism and the Aufklärung/Idealismus [German Enlightenment/Idealism]. The key words which describe it are expansion, modernity and Enlightenment/Idealism. As far as the sociopolitical and linguistic situation of this state is concerned, these words best express the contradictory tendencies. For by means of economic and political innovation, expansion and militarism Prussia was rising to the rank of ← 175 | 176 → one of the major empires of Europe.2 At the same time, its capital Berlin, in parallel with Leipzig, Halle and...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.