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Can French be called a pluricentric language?

Lüdi, Georges. (2011) Can French be called a pluricentric language? In: Pluricentric languages : differing norms in different nations. Braga, pp. 87-107.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A6001834

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Abstract

French is often cited as the forerunner of, and model for, a very normative and ‘top-down’ managed language, following the language policy of an archetypal monolingual nation-state, be it France, Quebec or other French-speaking communities in the world: „[le français est un] exemple assez peu controversé d‘une langue monocentrique“   (Bossong 1996, 614) This particular contribution is not going to prove the contrary. However, we will try to show that even the French language and the French-speaking nations are not as much of a monolithic block as they are frequently perceived to be. Over recent decades attitudes towards different varieties of French have changed. In other words, the history of French must take into account three different phases: (a) the elaboration, over the centuries, of the endoxa, that is the official ideology, fixed in the dominant discourse; (b) the emergence of other types of discourse, manifesting more or less opposite opinions and forms of destandardization; (c) the fact that different beliefs may co-exist, that contradictory voices can be heard simultaneously at certain moments and also struggle in the arena of public discourse, enabling the social representations to be polyphonic. This leads us to the question of whether or not a restandardization of French into different “national” varieties has already occurred or is occurring now. We will argue that French is as variational as other world languages, but that the myth of bon usage weighs heavily on the representations of the speakers of French. In addition, the concept of pluricentricity implies the existence of “centres”, normally national ones, with respective authorities and reference works, a condition which does not reflect the actual situation in the French-speaking world. Not only do none of the countries have French as an official language, or monolingual French, in addition there is also an epistemological problem with the ideology of pluricentrism that focuses on territorial communities in a world where communities of practice play a growing role. A shift of attention away from (standard) languages towards heterogeneous forms of languaging could be a solution to this problem.
Faculties and Departments:04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Departement Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaften > Ehemalige Einheiten Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaften > Französische Linguistik (Lüdi)
UniBasel Contributors:Lüdi, Georges
Item Type:Book Section
Book Section Subtype:Further Contribution in a Book
Bibsysno:Link to catalogue
Publisher:Publicaçoes da Faculdade de Filosofia Universidade Católica Portuguesa
ISBN:3-11-012855-1
Series Name:Contributions to the sociology of language
Issue Number:62
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Book item
Last Modified:25 Oct 2013 08:33
Deposited On:25 Oct 2013 08:33

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