Quebec Studies

The Other Acadiens: Language Policy and the Future of French in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island

Quebec Studies (1985), 3, (1), 82–100.

Abstract

The Other Acadiens: Language Policy and the Future of French In Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island Robert M. Gill Since the 1760s, the survival of Acadian communities in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island has been problematic. For over two hundred years, the Acadians' language and culture survived in the face of government hostility. Today, while government language policies seem to favor the preservation of French as a living language and while French-language educa­ tion is available in both provinces, the language's long-range viability remains in question. The prospects of VAcadie outside New Brunswick should be of interest not only to students of French Canada, but to all concerned with Québec and Canadian politics. The dis­ appearance of French from this region would render much of the federal government's language policy superfluous while confirming the argument of Québec nationalists that FrenchCanadian culture is dead outside Québec and the "bilingual belt" along its borders. On the other hand, the survival of French in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island would strength­ en the federalist position. This study considers language policies and legislation, both past and present, in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island and their implications for the future of the French language in these provinces. It begins with a brief consideration of the history of French prior to 1968, and then considers changes in the language's legal position in government and education since that year. It concludes with a consideration of the prob­ able future of VAcadie outside New Brunswick.

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Author details

Gill, Robert