‘Mais de quoi ont-ils bien peur? : contested regional language rights in France

France has a history of linguistic nationalism based on the exclusion of its territorial languages in official domains. This phenomenon has relegated other French languages to a category of less important languages mainly used in the private setting. This socio-linguistic hierarchisation has its origins in the nation-state building process which has adopted a Herderian model of a unique association between the French language and nation and has impacted the role given to regional languages to this day. This article uncovers the effects of the ‘one language one nation ideology’ on the perception of regional language rights through comments on two different events: the judicial dealing of the use of a Breton diacritic in a baby’s name and the rejection by the Constitutional Council of a section of a law aimed at promoting regional language immersion education. Both events highlight the strict interpretation of the 2nd article of the French constitution stating that French is the language of the Republic. The aim is to evaluate the impact of national language policies on the perception of the link between language and identity in France and attitudes towards the state’s restriction and lack of support towards its internal linguistic diversity. A critical discourse analysis of comments made on three online newspapers is presented and highlights the way identity discourse relay a one-to-one representation of language and identity, the representation of language minority rights as a threat to national cohesion and the different competing levels of the universal and the individual.

DOI https://doi.org/10.17026/dans-x3c-4txx
PID https://nbn-resolving.org/urn:nbn:nl:ui:13-t0-0lw2
Metadata Access https://easy.dans.knaw.nl/oai?verb=GetRecord&metadataPrefix=oai_datacite&identifier=oai:easy.dans.knaw.nl:easy-dataset:239438
Creator Joubert, AJ
Publisher Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS)
Contributor Joubert, AJ; AJ Joubert (The University of Groningen)
Publication Year 2022
Rights info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess; License: http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0; http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0
OpenAccess true
Language English
Resource Type Text
Format text/plain
Discipline Humanities; Linguistics
Spatial Coverage France