Conference: Languages of France

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Fri Feb 17 15:16:25 UTC 2006

Forwarded from Linguist-list:

Languages of France

Date: 11-Sep-2006 - 13-Sep-2006
Location: Liverpool, United Kingdom
Contact Person: Robert Blackwood
Meeting Email:
Web Site:

Call Deadline: 31-Mar-2006

Meeting Description:

This conference will aim to provide an overview of current research on the
linguistic diversity of the 96 dpartements of France, within both an
historical and contemporary framework.

Despite the desire for linguistic unity that underpins the Republican myth
of France as a monolingual State, despite the aggressive assimilation
policies pursued since the Revolution, and despite the 1992 change to the
Constitution, making French the official language of the Republic, a
number of languages continue to survive, and in some cases thrive, from
Boulogne-sur-Mer to Bonifacio, from Strasbourg to St Brieuc. France is
home not only to a significant number of regional heritage languages, but
also to a host of migrant languages, both from European neighbours and
from beyond the continent. At the same time, languages, such as verlan and
its descendents, are developed by the young or the disaffected, whilst
French finds itself in productive contact with numerous other languages,
both as a donor and as a recipient. Moreover, European bureaucrats are
creating a new French at the hub of the European Union in Strasbourg. On a
number of levels, French itself is thus transformed, with other languages
challenging its hegemony, creating, as some see it, a siege mentality
amongst those who seek to police linguistic matters. Given these languages
of France and the porosity of the country's linguistic borders, the
question of French identity in the twenty-first century must be understood
in a number of new ways.

Initial abstracts, in either French or English, for papers (to last twenty
minutes) are invited on themes including, but not limited to:

- the regional heritage languages: past, present and future
- community languages in France: from Rroma to Berber and
- language policy
- languages in contact: trends in morphology
- language and the media
- language and Republicanism
- Anglicisation and globalisation
- La Francophonie and supranational institutions
- language and identity
- the linguistic boundaries of French
- youth-speak and other variants

Confirmed keynote speakers are Dr Alexandra Jaffe (California State
University, Long Beach), Dr Mari Jones (Peterhouse, Cambridge) and
Professor Gabrielle Parker (Middlesex). Proposals for papers, accompanied
by a short abstract, should be sent by e-mail to the conference organiser,
Robert Blackwood ( by 31 March 2006. A
provisional programme will appear by 31 May 2006.

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