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Postcolonial Realms of MemorySites and Symbols in Modern France$
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Etienne Achille, Charles Forsdick, and Lydie Moudileno

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789620665

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789620665.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 25 June 2022

French Language

French Language

(p.327) French Language
Postcolonial Realms of Memory

Cécile Van den Avenne

Liverpool University Press

Two strong linguistic ideologies, which could at first seem to be irreconcilable, inform the French language as an ideological notion: French as a universal language, and French as the language of the nation. Late 19th-century linguistic policy reflects this paradoxical conception as the dissemination of the national language, the medium of the ‘mission civilisatrice’, became the object of political consensus, but locally French was scarcely taught, and its actual presence in the colonies was limited and not aimed at widespread political and cultural assimilation. The overseas exportation of the French language is a legacy of French colonial expansion, but that legacy is shared unequally. Often claimed by African writers as a war booty (‘butin de guerre’, Kateb Yacine), French has become a postcolonial issue and realm of memory.

Keywords:   Linguistic ideologies, Language policies, Sociolinguistics, Francophonie, Mission civilisatrice, Literature

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