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CHAT: language and politics (was CHAT: conlangs and ment...

From:From Http://Members.Aol.Com/Lassailly/Tunuframe.Html <lassailly@...>
Date:Friday, May 14, 1999, 22:37
Dans un courrier dat=E9 du 14/05/99 22:49:49  , vous avez =E9crit :

<<  In some
 cases, such as China, it is because a regime wants to impose some sense
 of homogeneity on its population, or others, like I suppose in France, wher=
 the sheer weight of history and tradition make some unwilling to change,
 I think (during the Ancien Regime and Empire, of course, their aim was eith=
 to ignore the idea of subject language communities entirely, or to impose
 French, so as to impose Frenchness in the name of "unity").
 (If anyone disagrees with any of my characterizations, I invite them to
 speak up about it) >>

No mystery about France : before the Jacobinists took power people hardly=20
spoke official French outside the r=E9gion now called Isle-de-France. Region=
Parliaments were very powerful. Regional languages were numerous and=20
different including Alsacian, Basque, Occitan, Limousin, Breton, Italian,=20
Flamish dialects. After crushing down the regional federalists, Jacobinists=20
centralized the State, divided r=E9gions in tiny square d=E9partements and r=
up local languages to unify the nation. "L'arm=E9e des ma=EEtres d'=E9cole" =
settled everywhere and the linguistic unity was successfully achieved in the=20
1920's through school and military service. It must be noted that parents=20
regarded that policy as a necessary condition for progress and national unit=
so they would not speak their own language to their children and urge them t=
do well in French at school. "Le Cheval d'Orgueil" is a beautiful and bitter=20
book in which his Breton author tells his childhood when everybody was doing=20
his best to become French and to have one's children forget the language.=20
Germany followed that example from the 1870's on. I can't even speak=20
Limousin, the very musical regional language of my family. It was very=20
prestigious and was a fine litterary language even used at the English court=20
in the 13th century.

Mathias   =20