European Journal of Language Policy

Official languages in the armed forces of multilingual countries: A comparative study

European Journal of Language Policy (2010), 2, (1), 91–110.

Abstract

Conducted between November 2008 and August 2009, this study examines for the first time the issue of official languages within the armed forces of Belgium, Canada, Finland, Ireland and Switzerland. It discusses the use of an official language as a language of work within a multilingual military and compares this to what is found within the Canadian Forces. It also examines if there are any factors that are key to more than one official language being used successfully within a military organisation. This includes a thorough examination of all relevant legislation and policy within each country, as well as cultural differences, and indicates areas for future study.

Cette étude, qui a eu lieu entre novembre 2008 et août 2009, examine pour la première fois la question des langues officielles (LO) au sein des forces armées de la Belgique, du Canada, de la Finlande, de l'Irlande et de la Suisse. Elle discute l'utilisation de la LO comme langue de travail dans un milieu militaire multilingue et compare ceci avec ce qui existe actuellement au sein des Forces canadiennes. Elle examine également s'il existe des facteurs qui contribuent au succès de l'utilisation de plus d'une LO au sein d'une organisation militaire. Ceci comprend une étude approfondie de l'ensemble de la législation et des politiques propres à chaque pays, aussi bien que les différences culturelles, et expose les domaines propices à être étudiés dans le futur.

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Author details

de Fourestier, Jeffrey