French Language Policy and the Multilingual Challenge: From Maastricht to an Enlarged Europe : a Study of Developments from 1992 to 2004 : with Particular Reference to the Case of Gallo

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From 1992 to 2004, various external and internal pressures forced the French government, state and people to reflect on and debate the position held by the French language and regional languages in their society, as well as the way that they see themselves from a politico-linguistic perspective. Whilst this debate did not produce any finality, there is a state-level realpolitik which steadily defined itself during this period. In both parameter years, events occurred in the international context which had important consequences for France’s language policy. In 1992, the acceptance of the Maastricht treaty had as a consequence the insertion into the Constitution, for the first time, of explicit reference to French as the official language of the Republic. And in 2004, the European Union integrated ten new eastern European members which, even before coming about, made its impact felt from a politico-linguistic point of view at all levels of France’s language policy. The conflicts between opposing forces in the French language policy debate led to covert contradictions between France’s external and internal language policy: where the first essentially proposed plurilingualism in defence of diversity and the latter diversity in defence of monolingualism. These contradictory covert political practices were based on conflicting strategies that were inter-related and were ultimately aimed at maintaining and promoting the position of French in France and in the world. The aim of this thesis is to examine the French state’s reaction to the changing context in relation to language diversity in the national and international arenas and to analyse how this is reflected in the regions of France. With this objective in mind, Chapters 1 and 2 of this thesis explain its background, its structure, and lay its methodological foundation by analysing developments in approach to language policy studies and examining the conceptualisation of language’s place in identity structures. From this basis, Chapters 3 and 4 utilise the most recent theoretical approaches to language policy studies (e.g. Schiffman 1996; Spolsky 2004; Shohamy 2006) to analyse France’s language policy in the international and national arenas from 1992 to 2004 in the context of an historical examination of the development of language attitudes and ideology in France. Chapter 5 takes this study of language attitudes and ideology from the national level to the regional level through a case study of language policy in practice in the region of Upper-Brittany focussing on attitudes toward its endogenous Gallo language variety. This case study, carried out from November 2003 to September 2004, is based on fieldwork and has produced a significant amount of original data on the synthesis between language policy, language attitudes and identity strategies which proves a valuable contribution to scholarship in language policy studies. Chapter 6 concludes this thesis with an appraisal of the state of language policy in France at the close of the twentieth century and during the opening years of the twenty-first.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherVDM - Verlag Dr. Müller
Number of pages288
ISBN (Print)978-3-639-23665-1
Publication statusPublished - 2010

ID: 186084450