Photo credit: Nisrine Abou Abdellah – Artistic Director
Editorial written by the editorial team of The Rotunda
HAS The RotundaOne of our main tasks is to defend the Francophonie and Francophonie in all its forms. A goal shared by the Francophone Affairs Officer of the University of Ottawa Students’ Union, which has included recognition of the diversity of the Francophonie in its mission since the recent General Assembly. In a national context in which French is constantly in decline, a way must be found for all French speakers to find their place in this struggle.
For most of us, speaking French is an evolving identity that emerges in an environment where French goes hand in hand with multiple languages. However, speaking French in Canada also means facing a challenge prioritization The way of speaking French and the desire to protect the language sometimes seem to lean towards glotophobia.
According to Philippe Blanchet in Podcast “Is there only one way to “speak” French well?” Glottophobia refers to “that attitude that consists of discriminating against people by the language they speak or the way they speak , take it as an arbitrary and therefore unfair excuse. whose language.” They speak. So be careful: if you receive a lot of criticism about the way you express yourself in French, or if you hear politicians advocating integration rather than welcoming French-speaking newcomers, this could be glotophobia.
Standardization: a form of exclusion?
Language is the result of institutionalization, but also of change linked to the different uses of its speakers depending on where they live and the environment. Be living languageTherefore, French must be recognized and accepted in its various forms of expression.
However, the question remains: who evaluate What is “good French” and what is not? The standardization of the language excludes anyone who does not meet the criteria of “standard” French. This presents a paradox because you can speak French and have spoken French all your life and still speak French Comments that relate to our idioms, our accent or the words we use.
To make matters worse, standardization often forces us to reject part of our identity. The French we speak comes from our history, our relationships and is also part of our culture.
This exclusion can also increase linguistic uncertainty. Maybe we no longer want to speak our language for fear of criticism, comments or reprisals. In such a situation, why would French speakers want to defend a language from which they feel excluded?
Lose the essence of language?
For many Quebec politicianBy standardizing French or ensuring very strict rules for how we express ourselves, we can protect the essence of the language. This perspective not only turns the fight for Francophonie into a political struggle, but also leads to a rejection of the evolving nature of our language.
It is also forgetting, as mentioned in the Podcast “Is the French language complicated? » that even symbolic figures like Molière speak several dialects without this preventing the language from spreading. Therefore, it is entirely possible to recognize French-speaking dialects across the country without risking losing French. Furthermore, this must be recognized Diversity in our expression would emphasize the liveliness of our language.
Nor can we discuss the fear of losing the essence of language in the Canadian context without talking about the influence of English. In fact, Shakespeare’s language is the big villain in many conversations between French speakers. We are told to always watch out for anglicisms and certain expressions, and we fear that any flexibility will contribute to the decline of the French-speaking population in Canada.
This insistence not only produces the opposite of the expected effect, but also distances us from what was supposed to bring us together: building a new Canadian Francophonie.
What does inclusion look like?
The French-Canadian community should emphasize the inclusion of Francophones and Francophiles from all provinces all countries of the world. We must therefore move away from standardization aimed at standardizing French and instead move towards real inclusion.
Instead of calling for a drastic change in grammar standards or rules about syntax, we should focus on increasing the presence of teachers in classrooms who speak all styles and dialects of French. We need to allow high school students and then university students to see the way they speak. This also includes greater representation in the media, on television, in podcasts or books.
For one member of our team, reading Michel Tremblay’s book Les belles-sœurs, written in Joal, led her to accept the different forms of spoken Quebecois language and free herself from the pressure to change her French. This representation could therefore make it possible to avoid a devaluation of the various expressions of French and to involve each of its members in the construction of the Francophonie in Canada.
It may be time to fight for institutional recognition of certain words that are an integral part of the various Canadian French-speaking dialects for inclusion in the dictionary.
In order to combat the decline of French, one must ultimately question standardization. We must recognize that the future of Francophonie in Canada requires, above all, a co-construction of the French language!
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