‘Regional’ languages recognised as ‘part of France’s heritage’

Siegel, Jason F. siegeljf at indiana.edu
Wed Jul 23 14:14:21 UTC 2008

‘Regional’ languages recognised as ‘part of France’s heritage’

Brussel - Bruxelles, Tuesday, 22 July 2008 by Davyth Hicks
The clause that “Regional languages are part of France’s heritage” will 
be included in Article 75 of France’s Constitution following a vote in 
the Senate yesterday. The Senate’s decision followed a second vote last 
week in the National Assembly calling for the introduction of the 
clause. The move has been given a qualified welcome by ‘regional’ 
language supporters, with the NGO EBLUL calling for France to go the 
extra mile and ratify the European Charter for Regional or Minority 

As reported on Eurolang, recognition was previously voted down by the 
Senate in June following a vitriolic response from the French Academy, 
which had called for the withdrawal of the proposed clause because 
recognition of ‘regional’ languages would, it said, "undermine national 
identity". This provoked a huge outcry from language supporters, many 
of whom have seen their languages become endangered because of an 
ongoing French state policy of eradication.

Marc le Fur, the Breton UMP deputy who pressed for the clause, 
expressed his “great satisfaction” yesterday on the Senate’s decision.

In a press release EBLUL President, Neasa Ní Chinnéide, while welcoming 
the move, added that, “EBLUL stresses that the regional languages of 
France also belong to a European heritage and the heritage of humanity. 
It is hoped that this recognition will reinforce the European policy of 
meaningful linguistic diversity on the continent. On this point, EBLUL 
also expects that France, which currently holds the Presidency of the 
European Union, ratifies the European Charter for Regional or Minority 
Languages, which would give its languages a concrete and pragmatic 
European framework, for their development.

The statement continued that, “EBLUL believes it is high time that 
France puts an end to its policy of destruction of its autochthonous 
languages that has undermined its credibility both in Europe and 
internationally, and that concrete measures be taken quickly to 
translate this recognition into realities.”

The President of the Academy of the Basque Language, Andres Urrutia, 
hailed the reform as an "important and significant", but adding that 
this is only a "first step
 It is not enough to recognize the heritage 
of the Basque language, it more important that this heritage is alive,” 
he said. (Eurolang 2008)
Jason F. Siegel
Ph.D. Student, Linguistics & French Linguistics
Department of French & Italian
Ballantine Hall 642
1020 East Kirkwood Avenue
Indiana University
Bloomington, IN 47405-7103
siegeljf at indiana.edu

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