Original Research

From foreign to national: a review of the status of the French language in Gabon

H.S. Ndinga-Koumba-Binza
Literator | Vol 32, No 2 | a15 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v32i2.15 | © 2011 H.S. Ndinga-Koumba-Binza | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 June 2011 | Published: 22 June 2011

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H.S. Ndinga-Koumba-Binza, Centre for Text Technology (CTexT), Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University, South Africa

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This article provides a review of the various statuses of the French language in Gabon, a French-speaking country in Central Africa. It reveals a process in which different generations of Gabonese people are increasingly learning, and thus conceptualising, French as a second language rather than a foreign language. Furthermore, some are also learning and conceptualising French as a mother tongue or initial language, rather than a second language. This process of reconceptualisation has somehow been encouraged by the language policy of the colonial administration and the language policy since the attainment of independence, the latter being a continuation of the former. The final stage of this process is that the language has been adopted among the local languages within the Gabonese language landscape.


French; Gabon; Language; Policy


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