The Defence of French: A Language in Crisis?

Author: Robin Adamson

Related Formats:
Multilingual Matters
Number of pages:
210mm x 148mm
Price: £8.33
Price: $14.00
Price: €12.00

Why do the French defend their language so passionately? Can a world language like French really be in crisis? By tracing the long history of language defence in France and by examining the multiplicity of official and non-official defensive activities and attitudes, the book aims to answer these and other related questions. It looks at changing government policy, particularly the recent paradoxical shift from monolingualism to plurilingualism, and at what has motivated it. It analyses the work of the powerful government agencies and of the small but very vocal private defensive groups. The importance of the Internet is highlighted both by its extensive use in the research for the book and by an examination of its use by the language defenders. A European context is provided by comparisons with Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. Finally, a look at various contemporary problems leads to a thought-provoking prognosis for this most strongly-defended of European languages.

Robin Adamson is Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia, working on contemporary French language. For many years she was Director of the Centre for Applied Language Studies at the University of Dundee, where she worked mainly in the fields of second language acquisition, communicative language teaching and discourse analysis, and also contributed extensively to the new generation of university textbooks such as Le français en faculté. She became an officier in the Ordre des palmes académiques in 1989. Her interest in the defence of French springs from a lifelong passion for the language and the discovery that among her Scottish ancestors are several who died defending France.

List of Tables 
Chapter 1: Defending French: A Story of Love and Power
Chapter 2: The Dynamics of Defence: Some Contemporary Themes and Trends
Chapter 3: Official Agencies: The Language of Power
Chapter 4: Language and Politics: Inseparable Partners
Chapter 5: Languages in Europe: How does France Compare?
Chapter 6: Problems and Paradoxes; Interference and Interaction

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