Contemporary French Civilization

Global France, Global French: beyond the monolingual

Contemporary French Civilization (2017), 42, (1), 13–29.

Abstract

The article considers the theme of “Global France, Global French” in the frame of current debates on monolingualism and multilingualism. It explores questions of language use in contemporary France, and focuses on the linguaphobia evident in a number of contemporary ideological, political, social, and cultural contexts. The study suggests that the study of France and French in a global frame requires greater attention to questions of multilingualism and of the contact of the French language and francophone cultures with other linguistic zones. The phenomenon of the “translingual” or “exophonic” writer is presented as a key example of such shifts, and the article concludes with a study of the academician François Cheng, whose writing may be seen as a “translation zone” situated between French and Chinese cultures. The relationship between Cheng and the earlier twentieth-century author Victor Segalen reveals the extent to which the sociolinguistic situations evoked at the opening of the article cannot be limited to the contemporary, and underlines the extent to which an understanding of “Global France, Global French” requires the elaboration of new models of literary, cultural, and historical analysis that are contained neither by the present, nor by the boundaries of a single language or nation.1

L’article considère le thème de “la France globale, le français global” dans le cadre des débats actuels sur le monolingualisme et le multilinguisme. Il explore des questions de l’utilisation des langues dans la France contemporaine, et se concentre sur la glottophobie évidente dans un certain nombre de contextes idéologiques, politiques, sociaux et culturels contemporains. L’étude suggère que pour étudier la France et le français dans un cadre global, il faut une plus grande attention aux questions du multilinguisme et du contact de la langue française (et des cultures francophones) avec d’autres zones linguistiques. Le phénomène de l’écrivain “translingue” ou “exophone” se présente comme un des exemples-clés de ces transformations, et l’article se termine par une étude de l’académicien François Cheng, dont l’écriture peut être considérée comme une “zone de traduction” située entre les cultures françaises et chinoises. La relation entre Cheng et l’auteur du début du vingtième siècle Victor Segalen révèle la mesure dans laquelle les situations sociolinguistiques évoquées au début de l’article ne peuvent se limiter à l’époque contemporaine, et souligne comment comprendre “la France globale, le français global” nécessite l’élaboration de nouveaux modèles d’analyse littéraire, culturelle et historique qui ne sont contenus ni par le présent, ni par les limites d’une langue ou d’une nation unique.

This article was published open access under a CC BY license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Global France, Global French: beyond the monolingual

Abstract

The article considers the theme of “Global France, Global French” in the frame of current debates on monolingualism and multilingualism. It explores questions of language use in contemporary France, and focuses on the linguaphobia evident in a number of contemporary ideological, political, social, and cultural contexts. The study suggests that the study of France and French in a global frame requires greater attention to questions of multilingualism and of the contact of the French language and francophone cultures with other linguistic zones. The phenomenon of the “translingual” or “exophonic” writer is presented as a key example of such shifts, and the article concludes with a study of the academician François Cheng, whose writing may be seen as a “translation zone” situated between French and Chinese cultures. The relationship between Cheng and the earlier twentieth-century author Victor Segalen reveals the extent to which the sociolinguistic situations evoked at the opening of the article cannot be limited to the contemporary, and underlines the extent to which an understanding of “Global France, Global French” requires the elaboration of new models of literary, cultural, and historical analysis that are contained neither by the present, nor by the boundaries of a single language or nation.1

L’article considère le thème de “la France globale, le français global” dans le cadre des débats actuels sur le monolingualisme et le multilinguisme. Il explore des questions de l’utilisation des langues dans la France contemporaine, et se concentre sur la glottophobie évidente dans un certain nombre de contextes idéologiques, politiques, sociaux et culturels contemporains. L’étude suggère que pour étudier la France et le français dans un cadre global, il faut une plus grande attention aux questions du multilinguisme et du contact de la langue française (et des cultures francophones) avec d’autres zones linguistiques. Le phénomène de l’écrivain “translingue” ou “exophone” se présente comme un des exemples-clés de ces transformations, et l’article se termine par une étude de l’académicien François Cheng, dont l’écriture peut être considérée comme une “zone de traduction” située entre les cultures françaises et chinoises. La relation entre Cheng et l’auteur du début du vingtième siècle Victor Segalen révèle la mesure dans laquelle les situations sociolinguistiques évoquées au début de l’article ne peuvent se limiter à l’époque contemporaine, et souligne comment comprendre “la France globale, le français global” nécessite l’élaboration de nouveaux modèles d’analyse littéraire, culturelle et historique qui ne sont contenus ni par le présent, ni par les limites d’une langue ou d’une nation unique.

This article was published open access under a CC BY license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Bertaud, Madeleine. “François Cheng, poète français.” Revue de littérature comparée, vol. 322, 2007, pp. 153–164. François Cheng, poète français Revue de littérature comparée 322 153 164 Google Scholar

Bertaud, Madeleine. François Cheng: Un cheminement vers la vie ouverte. Hermann, 2009. François Cheng: Un cheminement vers la vie ouverte Google Scholar

Bertaud, Madeleine, and Cheng Pei, editors. François Cheng à la croisée de la Chine et de l’Occident. Droz, 2014. François Cheng à la croisée de la Chine et de l’Occident Google Scholar

Blanchet, Philippe. Discriminations: Contre la glottophobie. Textuel, 2016. Discriminations: Contre la glottophobie Google Scholar

Celayo, Armando, and David Shook. “In darkness we meet: A conversation with Junot Díaz.” World Literature Today, Mar.–Apr. 2008, pp. 12–17. In darkness we meet: A conversation with Junot Díaz World Literature Today 12 17 Google Scholar

Cheng, François. “Discours de réception de François Cheng.” 28 June 2016, http://www.academie-francaise.fr/discours-de-reception-de-francois-cheng. Discours de réception de François Cheng Google Scholar

Cheng, François. Entretiens avec Françoise Siri. Albin Michel, 2015. Entretiens avec Françoise Siri Google Scholar

Cheng, François. Le Dialogue. Desclée de Brouwer, 2002. Le Dialogue Google Scholar

Cheng, François. L’Un vers l’autre: En voyage avec Victor Segalen. Albin Michel, 2008. L’Un vers l’autre: En voyage avec Victor Segalen Google Scholar

Comiti, Jean-Marie. La Langue corse entre chien et loup. L’Harmattan, 2005. La Langue corse entre chien et loup Google Scholar

Dubois, Laurent, and Achille Mbembe. “Nous sommes tous francophones.” French Politics, Culture and Society, vol. 32, no. 2, 2014, pp. 40–48. Nous sommes tous francophones French Politics, Culture and Society 32 40 48 Google Scholar

Ellis, Elizabeth. “Monolingualism: The unmarked case.” Estudios de sociolingüística: Linguas, sociedades e culturas, vol. 7, no. 2, 2006, pp. 173–196. Monolingualism: The unmarked case Estudios de sociolingüística: Linguas, sociedades e culturas 7 173 196 Google Scholar

Forsdick, Charles. “French literature as world literature: Reading the translingual text.” Cambridge Companion to French Literature, edited by John Lyons, Cambridge UP, 2015, pp. 204–221. French literature as world literature: Reading the translingual text Cambridge Companion to French Literature 204 221 Google Scholar

Forsdick, Charles. “From the ‘aesthetics of diversity’ to the ‘poetics of relating’: Segalen, Glissant and the genealogies of francophone postcolonial thought.” Paragraph, vol. 37, no. 2, 2014, pp. 160–177. From the ‘aesthetics of diversity’ to the ‘poetics of relating’: Segalen, Glissant and the genealogies of francophone postcolonial thought Paragraph 37 160 177 Google Scholar

Glissant, Édouard. “The French language in the face of creolization.” French Civilization and its Discontents: Nationalism, Colonialism, Race, edited by Georges Van Den Abbeele, Lexington Books, 2003, pp. 105–114. The French language in the face of creolization French Civilization and its Discontents: Nationalism, Colonialism, Race 105 114 Google Scholar

Gordon, Sam. “Eavesdropping on multicultural Paris.” In Other Words, vol. 45, 2015, pp. 103–107. Eavesdropping on multicultural Paris In Other Words 45 103 107 Google Scholar

Gramling, David. The Invention of Monolingualism. Bloomsbury Academic, 2016. The Invention of Monolingualism Google Scholar

Hargreaves, Alec, Charles Forsdick, and David Murphy, editors. Transnational French Studies: Postcolonialism and Littérature-monde. Liverpool UP, 2010. Transnational French Studies: Postcolonialism and Littérature-monde Google Scholar

Kelly, Michael. “Le Regard de l’étranger: What French cultural studies brings to French cultural history.” French Cultural Studies, vol. 25, no. 3/4, 2014, pp. 253–261. Le Regard de l’étranger: What French cultural studies brings to French cultural history Le Regard de l’étranger 25 253 261 Google Scholar

Kilito, Abdelfattah. Je parle toutes les langues, mais en arabe. Actes Sud, 2013. Je parle toutes les langues, mais en arabe Google Scholar

King, Gemma. “Code-switching as power strategy in Maïwenn’s Polisse (2011).” Australian Journal of French Studies, vol. 52, no. 2, 2015, pp. 162–173. Code-switching as power strategy in Maïwenn’s Polisse (2011) Polisse 52 162 173 Google Scholar

Kinoshita, Sharon. “Worlding medieval French literature.” French Global: A New Approach to Literary History, edited by Christie McDonald and Susan Rubin Suleiman, UP, 2010, pp. 3–20. Worlding medieval French literature French Global: A New Approach to Literary History 3 20 Google Scholar

Kramsch, Claire. “The traffic in meaning.” Asia Pacific Journal of Education, vol. 5, 2006, pp. 99–104. The traffic in meaning Asia Pacific Journal of Education 5 99 104 Google Scholar

McDonald, Christie, and Susan Rubin Suleiman, editors. French Global: A New Approach to Literary History. Columbia UP, 2010. French Global: A New Approach to Literary History Google Scholar

McKinney, Carolyn. Language and Power in Post-colonial Schooling: Ideologies in Practice. Routledge, 2016. Language and Power in Post-colonial Schooling: Ideologies in Practice Google Scholar

Magnan-Park, Anne. “François Cheng’s poetics of the breath between.” Translation Review, vol. 88, no. 1, 2014, pp. 26–36. François Cheng’s poetics of the breath between Translation Review 88 26 36 Google Scholar

Makine, Andreï. Cette France qu’on oublie d’aimer. Flammarion, 2006. Cette France qu’on oublie d’aimer Google Scholar

Marácz, László, and Mireille Rosello, editors. Multilingual Europe, Multilingual Europeans. Rodopi, 2012. Multilingual Europe, Multilingual Europeans Google Scholar

Maylaerts, Reine. “Multilingualism as a challenge for translation studies.” Routledge Handbook of Translation Studies, edited by Carmen Millán and Francesca Bartrina, Routledge, 2013, pp. 519–533. Multilingualism as a challenge for translation studies Routledge Handbook of Translation Studies 519 533 Google Scholar

Miské, Karim. Arab Jazz. Hamy, 2012. Arab Jazz Google Scholar

Mouttapa, Jean. “Avant-propos de l’éditeur.” In François Cheng, L’Un vers l’autre: En voyage avec Victor Segalen. Albin Michel, 2008, pp. 7–11. Avant-propos de l’éditeur L’Un vers l’autre: En voyage avec Victor Segalen 7 11 Google Scholar

Murphy, David. “De-centring French Studies: Towards a postcolonial theory of francophone cultures.” French Cultural Studies, vol. 13, 2002, pp. 165–185. De-centring French Studies: Towards a postcolonial theory of francophone cultures French Cultural Studies 13 165 185 Google Scholar

Pennycook, Alastair. Language and Mobility: Unexpected Places. Multilingual Matters, 2012. Language and Mobility: Unexpected Places Google Scholar

Pennycook, Alastair, and Emi Otsuji. Metrolingualism: Language in the City. Routledge, 2015. Metrolingualism: Language in the City Google Scholar

Phipps, Alison. “Unmoored: Language pain, porosity, and poisonwood.” Critical Multilingualism Studies, vol. 1, no. 2, 2013, pp. 96–118. Unmoored: Language pain, porosity, and poisonwood Critical Multilingualism Studies 1 96 118 Google Scholar

Piller, Ingrid. Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice: An Introduction to Applied Sociolinguistics. Oxford UP, 2016. Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice: An Introduction to Applied Sociolinguistics Google Scholar

Quaghebeur, Marc. “Pour un enseignement pluriel et foncier des littératures francophones.” Francophonies d’Europe, du Maghreb et du Machrek: Littératures et libertés, edited by Marc Quaghebeur, Peter Lang, 2013, pp. 185–208. Pour un enseignement pluriel et foncier des littératures francophones Francophonies d’Europe, du Maghreb et du Machrek: Littératures et libertés 185 208 Google Scholar

Smith, Maya Angela. “Who is a legitimate French speaker? The Senegalese in Paris and the crossing of linguistic and social borders.” French Cultural Studies, vol. 26, no. 3, 2015, pp. 317–329. Who is a legitimate French speaker? The Senegalese in Paris and the crossing of linguistic and social borders French Cultural Studies 26 317 329 Google Scholar

Taylor-Batty, Juliette. Multilingualism in Modernist Fiction. Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. Multilingualism in Modernist Fiction Google Scholar

Weill, Nicolas. “Aux États-Unis, des études françaises de plus en plus coloniales.” Le Monde, 19 Aug. 2015. www.lemonde.fr. Aux États-Unis, des études françaises de plus en plus coloniales Le Monde Google Scholar

Yildiz, Yasemin. Beyond the Mother Tongue: The Post-Monolingual Condition. Fordham UP, 2012. Beyond the Mother Tongue: The Post-Monolingual Condition Google Scholar

Young, Robert J. C. “Littérature anglaise ou littératures en langue anglaise.” Le Post-colonial comparé: Anglophonie, Francophonie, edited by Claire Joubert and Émilienne Baneth-Nouailhetas, Presses Universitaires de Vincennes, 2014, pp. 45–59. Littérature anglaise ou littératures en langue anglaise Le Post-colonial comparé: Anglophonie, Francophonie 45 59 Google Scholar

Zhang, Yinde. “François Cheng ou dire la Chine en français.” Revue de littérature comparée, vol. 322, 2007, pp. 141–152. François Cheng ou dire la Chine en français Revue de littérature comparée 322 141 152 Google Scholar

Zhang, Yinde. Littérature comparée et perspectives chinoises. L’Harmattan, 2008. Littérature comparée et perspectives chinoises Google Scholar

Bertaud, Madeleine. “François Cheng, poète français.” Revue de littérature comparée, vol. 322, 2007, pp. 153–164. François Cheng, poète français Revue de littérature comparée 322 153 164 Google Scholar

Bertaud, Madeleine. François Cheng: Un cheminement vers la vie ouverte. Hermann, 2009. François Cheng: Un cheminement vers la vie ouverte Google Scholar

Bertaud, Madeleine, and Cheng Pei, editors. François Cheng à la croisée de la Chine et de l’Occident. Droz, 2014. François Cheng à la croisée de la Chine et de l’Occident Google Scholar

Blanchet, Philippe. Discriminations: Contre la glottophobie. Textuel, 2016. Discriminations: Contre la glottophobie Google Scholar

Celayo, Armando, and David Shook. “In darkness we meet: A conversation with Junot Díaz.” World Literature Today, Mar.–Apr. 2008, pp. 12–17. In darkness we meet: A conversation with Junot Díaz World Literature Today 12 17 Google Scholar

Cheng, François. “Discours de réception de François Cheng.” 28 June 2016, http://www.academie-francaise.fr/discours-de-reception-de-francois-cheng. Discours de réception de François Cheng Google Scholar

Cheng, François. Entretiens avec Françoise Siri. Albin Michel, 2015. Entretiens avec Françoise Siri Google Scholar

Cheng, François. Le Dialogue. Desclée de Brouwer, 2002. Le Dialogue Google Scholar

Cheng, François. L’Un vers l’autre: En voyage avec Victor Segalen. Albin Michel, 2008. L’Un vers l’autre: En voyage avec Victor Segalen Google Scholar

Comiti, Jean-Marie. La Langue corse entre chien et loup. L’Harmattan, 2005. La Langue corse entre chien et loup Google Scholar

Dubois, Laurent, and Achille Mbembe. “Nous sommes tous francophones.” French Politics, Culture and Society, vol. 32, no. 2, 2014, pp. 40–48. Nous sommes tous francophones French Politics, Culture and Society 32 40 48 Google Scholar

Ellis, Elizabeth. “Monolingualism: The unmarked case.” Estudios de sociolingüística: Linguas, sociedades e culturas, vol. 7, no. 2, 2006, pp. 173–196. Monolingualism: The unmarked case Estudios de sociolingüística: Linguas, sociedades e culturas 7 173 196 Google Scholar

Forsdick, Charles. “French literature as world literature: Reading the translingual text.” Cambridge Companion to French Literature, edited by John Lyons, Cambridge UP, 2015, pp. 204–221. French literature as world literature: Reading the translingual text Cambridge Companion to French Literature 204 221 Google Scholar

Forsdick, Charles. “From the ‘aesthetics of diversity’ to the ‘poetics of relating’: Segalen, Glissant and the genealogies of francophone postcolonial thought.” Paragraph, vol. 37, no. 2, 2014, pp. 160–177. From the ‘aesthetics of diversity’ to the ‘poetics of relating’: Segalen, Glissant and the genealogies of francophone postcolonial thought Paragraph 37 160 177 Google Scholar

Glissant, Édouard. “The French language in the face of creolization.” French Civilization and its Discontents: Nationalism, Colonialism, Race, edited by Georges Van Den Abbeele, Lexington Books, 2003, pp. 105–114. The French language in the face of creolization French Civilization and its Discontents: Nationalism, Colonialism, Race 105 114 Google Scholar

Gordon, Sam. “Eavesdropping on multicultural Paris.” In Other Words, vol. 45, 2015, pp. 103–107. Eavesdropping on multicultural Paris In Other Words 45 103 107 Google Scholar

Gramling, David. The Invention of Monolingualism. Bloomsbury Academic, 2016. The Invention of Monolingualism Google Scholar

Hargreaves, Alec, Charles Forsdick, and David Murphy, editors. Transnational French Studies: Postcolonialism and Littérature-monde. Liverpool UP, 2010. Transnational French Studies: Postcolonialism and Littérature-monde Google Scholar

Kelly, Michael. “Le Regard de l’étranger: What French cultural studies brings to French cultural history.” French Cultural Studies, vol. 25, no. 3/4, 2014, pp. 253–261. Le Regard de l’étranger: What French cultural studies brings to French cultural history Le Regard de l’étranger 25 253 261 Google Scholar

Kilito, Abdelfattah. Je parle toutes les langues, mais en arabe. Actes Sud, 2013. Je parle toutes les langues, mais en arabe Google Scholar

King, Gemma. “Code-switching as power strategy in Maïwenn’s Polisse (2011).” Australian Journal of French Studies, vol. 52, no. 2, 2015, pp. 162–173. Code-switching as power strategy in Maïwenn’s Polisse (2011) Polisse 52 162 173 Google Scholar

Kinoshita, Sharon. “Worlding medieval French literature.” French Global: A New Approach to Literary History, edited by Christie McDonald and Susan Rubin Suleiman, UP, 2010, pp. 3–20. Worlding medieval French literature French Global: A New Approach to Literary History 3 20 Google Scholar

Kramsch, Claire. “The traffic in meaning.” Asia Pacific Journal of Education, vol. 5, 2006, pp. 99–104. The traffic in meaning Asia Pacific Journal of Education 5 99 104 Google Scholar

McDonald, Christie, and Susan Rubin Suleiman, editors. French Global: A New Approach to Literary History. Columbia UP, 2010. French Global: A New Approach to Literary History Google Scholar

McKinney, Carolyn. Language and Power in Post-colonial Schooling: Ideologies in Practice. Routledge, 2016. Language and Power in Post-colonial Schooling: Ideologies in Practice Google Scholar

Magnan-Park, Anne. “François Cheng’s poetics of the breath between.” Translation Review, vol. 88, no. 1, 2014, pp. 26–36. François Cheng’s poetics of the breath between Translation Review 88 26 36 Google Scholar

Makine, Andreï. Cette France qu’on oublie d’aimer. Flammarion, 2006. Cette France qu’on oublie d’aimer Google Scholar

Marácz, László, and Mireille Rosello, editors. Multilingual Europe, Multilingual Europeans. Rodopi, 2012. Multilingual Europe, Multilingual Europeans Google Scholar

Maylaerts, Reine. “Multilingualism as a challenge for translation studies.” Routledge Handbook of Translation Studies, edited by Carmen Millán and Francesca Bartrina, Routledge, 2013, pp. 519–533. Multilingualism as a challenge for translation studies Routledge Handbook of Translation Studies 519 533 Google Scholar

Miské, Karim. Arab Jazz. Hamy, 2012. Arab Jazz Google Scholar

Mouttapa, Jean. “Avant-propos de l’éditeur.” In François Cheng, L’Un vers l’autre: En voyage avec Victor Segalen. Albin Michel, 2008, pp. 7–11. Avant-propos de l’éditeur L’Un vers l’autre: En voyage avec Victor Segalen 7 11 Google Scholar

Murphy, David. “De-centring French Studies: Towards a postcolonial theory of francophone cultures.” French Cultural Studies, vol. 13, 2002, pp. 165–185. De-centring French Studies: Towards a postcolonial theory of francophone cultures French Cultural Studies 13 165 185 Google Scholar

Pennycook, Alastair. Language and Mobility: Unexpected Places. Multilingual Matters, 2012. Language and Mobility: Unexpected Places Google Scholar

Pennycook, Alastair, and Emi Otsuji. Metrolingualism: Language in the City. Routledge, 2015. Metrolingualism: Language in the City Google Scholar

Phipps, Alison. “Unmoored: Language pain, porosity, and poisonwood.” Critical Multilingualism Studies, vol. 1, no. 2, 2013, pp. 96–118. Unmoored: Language pain, porosity, and poisonwood Critical Multilingualism Studies 1 96 118 Google Scholar

Piller, Ingrid. Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice: An Introduction to Applied Sociolinguistics. Oxford UP, 2016. Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice: An Introduction to Applied Sociolinguistics Google Scholar

Quaghebeur, Marc. “Pour un enseignement pluriel et foncier des littératures francophones.” Francophonies d’Europe, du Maghreb et du Machrek: Littératures et libertés, edited by Marc Quaghebeur, Peter Lang, 2013, pp. 185–208. Pour un enseignement pluriel et foncier des littératures francophones Francophonies d’Europe, du Maghreb et du Machrek: Littératures et libertés 185 208 Google Scholar

Smith, Maya Angela. “Who is a legitimate French speaker? The Senegalese in Paris and the crossing of linguistic and social borders.” French Cultural Studies, vol. 26, no. 3, 2015, pp. 317–329. Who is a legitimate French speaker? The Senegalese in Paris and the crossing of linguistic and social borders French Cultural Studies 26 317 329 Google Scholar

Taylor-Batty, Juliette. Multilingualism in Modernist Fiction. Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. Multilingualism in Modernist Fiction Google Scholar

Weill, Nicolas. “Aux États-Unis, des études françaises de plus en plus coloniales.” Le Monde, 19 Aug. 2015. www.lemonde.fr. Aux États-Unis, des études françaises de plus en plus coloniales Le Monde Google Scholar

Yildiz, Yasemin. Beyond the Mother Tongue: The Post-Monolingual Condition. Fordham UP, 2012. Beyond the Mother Tongue: The Post-Monolingual Condition Google Scholar

Young, Robert J. C. “Littérature anglaise ou littératures en langue anglaise.” Le Post-colonial comparé: Anglophonie, Francophonie, edited by Claire Joubert and Émilienne Baneth-Nouailhetas, Presses Universitaires de Vincennes, 2014, pp. 45–59. Littérature anglaise ou littératures en langue anglaise Le Post-colonial comparé: Anglophonie, Francophonie 45 59 Google Scholar

Zhang, Yinde. “François Cheng ou dire la Chine en français.” Revue de littérature comparée, vol. 322, 2007, pp. 141–152. François Cheng ou dire la Chine en français Revue de littérature comparée 322 141 152 Google Scholar

Zhang, Yinde. Littérature comparée et perspectives chinoises. L’Harmattan, 2008. Littérature comparée et perspectives chinoises Google Scholar


Details

Author details

Forsdick, Charles