Reassessing gallo as a regional language in France: Language emancipation vs. monolingual language ideology

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This paper discusses the applicability of language emancipation to the regional languages of France and shows that, from a historical and contemporary perspective, it is very relevant for these languages. In particular, Gallo, Eastern Brittany's O<l language variety, provides a pertinent grass roots illustration of many of the issues addressed through the concept of language emancipation. However, the historical and contemporary entrenchment of a monolingual and centralist language ideology which is vehemently opposed to pluralist language ideology in France means that, if language emancipation is to be socio-politically acceptable, some degree of care has to be exercised in the manner in which it is presented and what facets are emphasized in the French context. Indeed, through their long established activism in favor of regional languages in the education system, regional language movements and not least the Gallo movement are already well-positioned to promote one of the main and most compelling arguments for contemporary language emancipation: this is that an active knowledge of two or more languages, including a regional language, is beneficial to the individual and to society in general. Only a "language attitudes shift" can create the conditions for genuine language emancipation in France.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of the Sociology of Language
Issue number209
Pages (from-to)91-112
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - May 2011

    Research areas

  • France, Gallo, ideology, regional languages

ID: 186031000