Original Research

The linguistic minorities of France

R. Pach
Literator | Vol 7, No 2 | a883 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v7i2.883 | © 1986 R. Pach | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 May 1986 | Published: 07 May 1986

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R. Pach,, South Africa

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Abstract

Although France is one of the most centralized countries in Europe, its apparent unity must not conceal that it is made up of many linguistic groups, and that French has only in recent years succeeded in becoming the common language of all the French. The situation of each one of the seven non-official languages of France is at first examined. The problem is then situated in its historical context, with the emphasis falling on why and how the French state tried to destroy them. Although the monarchy did not go much further than to impose French as the language of the administration, the revolutionary period was the beginning of a deliberate attempt to substitute French for the regional languages even in informal and oral usage. This was really made possible when education became compulsory: the school system was then the means of spreading French throughout the country. Nowadays the unity of France is no longer at stake, but its very identity is being threatened by the demographic weight, on French soil, of the immigrants from the Third-World.

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