Lingustic Dynamics of French Essays

Lingustic Dynamics of French Essays

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Spoken on all five continents French is considered to be a world language (Ball, 1997).1 With over 220 million French speakers across the globe, French is ranked the sixth most widely spoken language after Mandarin Chinese, English, Hindi, Spanish and Arabic.2 It is also regarded as an international language of reference, being one of the working languages of the United Nations as well as the sole language used for the deliberations of the Court of Justice of the European Union. 2 Furthermore it holds official status in 28 countries. It is important to mention that this ‘world language’ status is not a recent phenomenon.3 The rich historic past of the French language saw French spread from Northern France to England during the 1066 Conquest; to the Middle East after the Crusades and from the seventeenth century onwards to North America, Indian Ocean, Oceania, Asia and Africa during the development of overseas trading-posts and colonisation (Battye et al., 1992).4 Focusing on Northern Africa and North America, in particular French speaking Canada, this essay will aim to discuss through comparison the sociolinguistic situation of the French language by considering the linguistic dynamic in which French operates and historical, political, social and cultural questions.
Firstly we must look at the linguistic dynamic in which French operates in North America and Northern Africa. In North America, Canada is the largest community of francophones outside of France. With a population of 28.1 million, more than 9 million Canadians speak the French language, of which 25 percent are native speakers (L1) and 11 percent are second language speakers (L 2). The geographical distribution of francophones is not even, mostly concentrated in the re...


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...filling the more elite managerial positions with their average salary notably higher than that of the French speaker. In 1967 the report of the Royal commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism it was recognised that the French speaking people suffered discrimination in terms of social advancement in industry and commerce. However due to advancements in legislation in 1972 the office de la langue français turned attention towards the creation of scientific and technological terminology making French more acceptable for the workplace. This saw a 12 percent increase in French speaking managerial roles from 18% in 1964 to 30% in 1979. Interestingly this attention to making the French language more accessible for the workplace is something which if mirrored by Maghreb governments would make the Arabic language more useful in the modern world of science and technology.

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