WOULD YOU LIKE TO RECEIVE THIS NEWSLETTER FREE OF CHARGE? >> Click here
From La Fontaine to Hugo via Marivaux, teachers in France and Navarre strive to introduce our dear darlings to the works of our great writers, and that’s fine. On the other hand, they do not provide them with any linguistic culture, which is more regrettable, including geopolitically. Because language, we often forget, is also an instrument of influence of States. Latin of the time of the Roman Empire; Spanish and Portuguese in Latin America; Arabic in the Middle East; French in the Maghreb and West Africa … In history, language and territorial expansion have often gone hand in hand.
This rule today mainly benefits the English, which began to spread to countries far removed from the British Isles as the colonial conquests of England continued. The language of Shakespeare today benefits from the power of the United States, whose imperialism has known three great phrases: first, the conquest of the West; then the annexation of more or less distant territories, such as Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico, before a rupture takes place after the Second World War. Since 1945, in fact, American linguistic imperialism no longer depends on the geographic extension of the United States, but on three other elements: technology, military power and linguistic domination, as historian Daniel Immerwahr emphasizes ( 1). Winston Churchill understood this well. « Controlling the language offers many more advantages than taking provinces or countries to exploit them, » the former British Prime Minister said in substance. Before adding with its well-known meaning of the formula: « The empires of the future will be spiritual ». A precept completed by Donald Lillistone – an Englishman – in an excellent article in the journal Defense of the French language, writing: « Languages shape societies and the privileged status that English currently enjoys is therefore fraught with profound consequences » (2).
« English must become the dominant language »
Limited offer. 2 months for 1 € without commitment
The United States is well aware of this, as another scholar, Robert Phillipson, professor in the English department of the United States, spectacularly revealed. Copenhagen Business School (3) in a work simply entitled Linguistic Imperialism (Linguistic Imperialism) published in 1992. It revealed a confidential report drawn up after an Anglo-American conference on the teaching of English held in 1961 in Cambridge. Things were clearly stated there from the opening speech: « English must become the dominant language and replace other languages and their worldviews ». A cultural uniformity which is directly opposed to our European model based on enrichment through plurality, as evidenced by its motto: « United in diversity ».
As harmful as it is, American policy has for it the merit of consistency: any Empire, even spiritual, seeks to defend its interests. Washington knows full well that Disney, Netflix, Apple and the others are the best ways to capture people’s minds and sell their merchandise. The same cannot be said of the European Union which, despite Brexit, is on the contrary busy rolling out the red carpet in front of English, the language of the country which has just left it and the power it claims to compete with. ! The same cannot be said of France either, where a large part of the « elites » believe in the latest chic to multiply Anglicisms, thus playing the role of useful idiots of American imperialism. Joe Biden, Google, Amazon and the rest are not asking for so much.
(1) How to hide an Empire, (How to hide an empire), by Daniel Immerwahr.
(2) The spiritual empire, by Donald Lillistone, Defense of the French language n ° 279
(3) Linguistic Imperialism, by Robert Phillipson, Oxford University Press, 1992.
THIS LETTER IS INTERRUPTED DURING SUMMER. MEETING AT BACK TO SCHOOL.
The first international week without anglicisms
Faced with the increasingly frequent intrusion of the English language in our conversations, citizens are organizing to fight back and promote a cultural globalization where the cultures and languages of each are respected.
Say coach, tutor or mentor and not coach
A mentor is a person responsible for advising an artist, whose role is complementary to that of the tutor. The term mentor is used in business management while we speak of a coach in sports. Frequently used in French, Anglicism coach therefore has several equivalents in French, more precise. You can find these recommendations – and many others – on FranceTerme, the site of the French language enrichment system.
Are Quebecers dominated or dominant?
Attention: sensitive subject! Quebecers live under the threat of English imperialism. But don’t they sometimes behave like domineers vis-à-vis the Indigenous peoples of Canada? This is the question that Emilie Nicolas asks in an article that is both disturbing and remarkably well argued. For example, we read this: « Do we denounce the harmful effects of British imperialism because we are anti-imperialist or because we would have preferred a different imperialism, where we would have been more dominant? » Stimulating.
Lorànt Deutsch sees « no interest in learning Arabic at school »
Asked about this subject, the actor and author defended this position, with this argument: « Know that in the French language, there are more than 600 Arabic words! ». A reasoning that has not convinced everyone …
Multilingual learning against separatism
Speaking several languages is an education in otherness and in a better understanding of the other: this is the conviction of Bien Dobui and Anna Stevanato, members of the Dulala association and specialists in multilingualism. A thesis that goes against popular belief.
Switzerland « corrects » the spelling of French
The authorities of French-speaking Switzerland propose to remove certain accents and spelling rules deemed obsolete in order to facilitate the learning of French by pupils. Teachers are also encouraged to use gender neutral language.
What if the Molac law conforms to the Constitution?
This is the conclusion of the constitutional expert Wanda Mastor, associate of public law, about the Molac law on regional languages. In an « external contribution » addressed to the Constitutional Council, it affirms, supporting arguments: « This law is in conformity with the Constitution and fills a gap. It is not its existence which poses problem, but its absence of existence. . »
Can the patent science tests be written in Basque?
Middle and high school teachers in Seaska, the federation of immersive Basque-language schools, are angry. They deplore that this year again the patent science test cannot be composed and corrected in Basque. They threaten not to correct the copies if they are not satisfied.
A white paper for Catalan
Cultural association Angelets of the terra has just published a list of 55 proposals for municipalities in « northern Catalonia » to defend the culture of this region, which is now threatened with extinction.
A picture book to transmit the Norman
In order to safeguard the Norman language, the association Fief of the Chouque A picture book for the younger generation will soon be released. An initiative all the more relevant as Norman is no longer spoken by more than 30,000 people – often elderly – and that the Ministry of National Education refuses to teach it.
France Musique pays tribute to the Gascon group Artùs
As abundant as it is creative, the Occitan scene has some gems, including the group Artùs, to which France Musique has just devoted a program. This ensemble offers original compositions combining stringed tambourine, drums, hurdy-gurdy, progressive rock and Gascon. Stripper.
The lament of the daughters of joy, by Georges Brassens
Who, apart from Brassens, is able in the same octosyllable to use the word « whore » and the imperfect subjunctive, all with humor, depth and humanity at the same time? To listen to again or to discover.
« We », by Julien Doré, in seven languages regional
Eleven artists from Corsica, Brittany, the Basque Country, Occitania, Reunion, Catalonia and Alsace have decided to unite their voices on a cover of the song « We » by Julien Doré. One way of opposing the censorship by the Constitutional Council of the Molac law on regional languages.
How languages are eaten among themselves
Christelle Mignot is one of the finalists of the « my thesis in 180 seconds » competition. Watch her explain how, in Mali or Senegal, languages are threatened … by school.
React, discuss and find more information on the languages of France by joining me
To follow the analysis and decryption wherever you are
Download the app
ON THE FACEBOOK PAGE DEDICATED TO THIS NEWSLETTER