France for the French (Africans)!

In the global age, some French fear they are losing their language and identity.

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Interesting article from the New York Times' Michael Kimmelman. In this global age, some fear the French language is going the way of the dodo. Below is an excerpt

The issue is somewhat akin to Americans complaining about the rise of Spanish in classrooms and elsewhere, but more acute here because of France’s special, proprietary, albeit no longer entirely realistic relationship to French. French is now spoken mostly by people who aren’t French. More than 50 percent of them are African. French speakers are more likely to be Haitians and Canadians, Algerians and Senegalese, immigrants from Africa and Southeast Asia and the Caribbean who have settled in France, bringing their native cultures with them.

Which raises the question: So what does French culture signify these days when there are some 200 million French speakers in the world but only 65 million are actually French? Culture in general — and not just French culture — has become increasingly unfixed, unstable, fragmentary and elective. Globalization has hastened the desire of more people, both groups and individuals, to differentiate themselves from one another to claim a distinct place in the world, and language has long been an obvious means to do so. In Canada the Quebecers tried outlawing signs and other public expressions in anything but French. Basque separatists have been murdering Spaniards in the name of political, linguistic and cultural independence, just as Franco imprisoned anyone who spoke Basque or Catalan. In Belgium the split between French and Dutch speakers has divided the country for ages.

Pretty thought-provoking stuff.

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