French Losing Ground In Ontario


French losing ground in Ontario, despite boost from immigrants

By Yanik Dumont Baron, September 27, 2005:

Officials from the Office of Francophone Affairs spent more than a year studying responses on the 2001 census form. They conclude that the assimilation of Franco-Ontarians continues in Canada's largest province. There may be more of them in absolute numbers, but their proportion of the overall population is diminishing.

In addition, the rate of "conserving the French language" continues to slip. In 2001, the language of Molière was spoken in 56.5 per cent of homes in which at least one of the adults spoke French as a mother tongue. The rate was 59 per cent five years earlier, in 1996.

The study reveals that French skills transfer less well to children if their father is the only one speaking the language at home. If their mother's native language is French, one-third of children will learn the language -- that is to say, twice as many as those with a father who speaks to them in French.

"It is perhaps that young people don't see the added value of studying French in school," Meilleur told CBC Unlocked. (...)

The data analysis shows that French is losing influence in the more remote areas, notably in Northern Ontario, to the benefit of large urban areas, like Toronto and regions hugging the Quebec border.

In multilingual cities, the French-speaking population is geographically diluted, another factor contributing to the erosion of the number of French speakers. The study pinpoints areas in which services to the French-speaking population need to be strengthened.


The number of Franco-Ontarians originally from Africa increased by 40 per cent in five years, to more than 58,000. These new Canadians are twice as likely as non-African francophones to have a university diploma. Despite this, their wages are typically lower by $6,000 a year.


The Statistics Canada census also shows that:

Two thirds of Franco-Ontarians were born in the province.
Among the 40,000 born elsewhere, 3/5 came from Quebec.
Half of the 549,000 Franco-Ontarians live in Eastern Ontario.
One-third of French-speaking people in the Toronto area are from racial minorities.
Elderly Franco-Ontarians are poorly served by governments compared to the general population.


Language Fairness National Inc. © 2004 - 2005 All rights reserved.


Germany Snubs French Language Pride


By Toby Helm in Berlin, 19 Jun 2001:

A GERMAN education minister has delivered a blow to Gallic pride and risked a diplomatic rift with Paris by floating plans to cut back French teaching in schools in favour of English.
The scheme, proposed by Klaus Böger, Berlin's education minister, has already ruffled French feathers ahead of a visit to Berlin next week by President Jacques Chirac and prompted fears of a "diplomatic row". One official inside the Berlin regional government said: "We all know how sensitive the French are over their language."
A spokesman said: "He [Mr Böger] wants English to be as important as writing and mathematics. We are not saying all French teaching will go. This is not the intention, but it could be the result." Of 279 primary schools in the Berlin region that offer foreign languages to eight- and nine-year-olds, only 39 currently give children the chance to learn French.

French Faces Uncertain Future in Canada


Pierre S. Pettigrew, The New Politics of Confidence, Stoddart, 1999, review by Howard Cukoff:

an independent Quebec would face a decline of prestige and presence in our (forgive me) global economy. Quebec would lose its geographical bridge to the once and future burgeoning Pacific Rim. Pettigrew is also correct to point out an often-overlooked matter. Quebec carries on an extensive interprovincial trade which would almost certainly be disrupted in the wake of secession.


Pettigrew holds that the federal system is flexible and adaptive, qualities which effectively position the country to compete in contemporary market conditions. Flexibility is enhanced by the constant squabbling between federal and provincial jurisdictions, since the levels of government compete to provide better services and a better economic climate. These advantages would be lost in the centralized model of government an independent Quebec would follow. As examples, Pettigrew mentions the bureaucratic bungling in Quebec’s manpower training department, which the province wrested from federal control a few years ago, and the short shrift municipalities get in Quebec. Pettigrew maintains that the Quebec government is inept at regional development and has been unable to arrest the decades-long decline of the city of Montreal.

As Pettigrew sees it, the sovereigntist movement is parochial and out-of-step with economic reality. Nationalism is about much more than economics, needless to say. The French fact in Canada has entered a demographic crisis. The proportion of francophones in the country is declining, and political power (in a democracy, at least) follows the demographic trend. The insecurity of francophones both in Quebec and in the Rest of Canada (where the cultural assimilation of francophone communities is a critical danger) – of which the sovereigntist movement is one expression – is real, the future of the French language and culture is not assured.

Quebec Short On Francophone Immigrants

On world-news.dxinginfo.com, october 23, 2008:

Quebec Immigration Minister Yolande James says the government won't require that candidates for immigration understand the French language before arriving in the largely French-speaking province. Mrs. James says the government will encourage them to learn Quebec's official language before arriving, but the potential numbers of francophone immigrants is too small to allow the government to achieve its immigration targets. The government wants to increase numbers of immigrants arriving yearly from 45,000 to 55,000 by 2010. Sixty-per cent of immigrants to the province are now estimated to understand French.

British Schools Booming Worldwide

Found in the The Independent, Thursday, 23 October 2008:


The Empire may be long gone, but there is one remnant of Britain's colonial past on which the sun never sets. British schools abroad are booming. Last year, more than 1,200 opened across the world. Older, more established British international schools are vastly over-subscribed, with many embarking on building projects to meet the growing demand for places.




The British International School, Cairo is one school that has expanded over the past few years. Founded in 1976, it was originally established to educate the expat British and Anglo-Egyptian communities. Today, its students come from a range of cultural backgrounds. One half are Egyptian, the remainder are a mixture of 40 nationalities from various expat communities.


Such is the demand for places, the school has moved from its campus in central Cairo, to a new 55 square-metre site 30km west of the city. The demand for places in the past few years has been extraordinary, according to the principal Simon O'Grady. "One of the reasons we decided to move was to escape the air pollution in Cairo," he says. "But it's mainly a question of space. The school has expanded phenomenally over the past few years."


The growth in demand has been particularly noticeable in the past 10 years, says O'Grady. In September 2007 the school had 600 students. This September numbers reached 755. Because the new campus is close to the telecommunications belt that has developed to the west of the city, it is likely to attract more students in the coming years.


Although traditionally British schools were set up in areas where Britain had colonial links, nowadays schools are mushrooming in all corners of the world – and one of the main areas of expansion is in Asia.


Jerudong International School in Brunei, South-east Asia, typifies the modern British school abroad. Founded in 1997, its student numbers have swelled to 1,300 and today 70 per cent of students are Asian.


Jerudong is one of an estimated 2,000 schools abroad offering a British curriculum, including GCSE and A-levels, and this is the key to the school's appeal, says its principal John Price. Like most international schools, the majority of the teachers are British. "Results do matter," he says. "Yes, parents are attracted by the school's emphasis on extra-curricular activities, but ultimately it's the high academic standard that appeals. Attending a school such as ours is seen as a passage to higher education. Most of our students go on to third-level study in the UK or further a field."


Some of Britain's best known independent schools are cashing in on the appeal of the British brand. Harrow and Dulwich College were the first to make the foray into international education in the 1990s, opening schools in Asia. Repton, Shrewsbury and Wellington have followed suit. The system is known as "franchising" – the school's name is franchised to independent parties who finance the new schools and pay the home school a fee.


Haileybury is one of the most recent schools to launch a partner school abroad. Its first franchise school, Haileybury-Almaty, has just opened in Kazakhstan. Why Kazakhstan? Alister Bartholomew, director of educational development, explains that the school has a long tradition of educating Kazakhs.


"Haileybury educates the highest proportion of Kazakhstan students of any school in the UK, so when Haileybury began looking for a partner school, Kazakhstan was the obvious choice," he says. Haileybury-Almaty opened this September and is already over-subscribed. Like most franchise schools, the school is financed independently, but controlled academically by the home school. The use of the Haileybury uniform, logos and house names, ensures that a little piece of Hertfordshire is alive and well in the heart of central Asia.


It's a system that benefits both parties, says Bartholomew. "Haileybury is paid a fee which it can invest in its own school; Kazakhs can educate their children through the British system without sending them away to the UK. Kazakhstan is very much a family-based society, so this is a major advantage for them. It also costs half as much as sending their children to school in the UK."


The exporting of British schooling, however, is not without problems. Questions have been asked about standards and quality. Just this month the Department for Children, Schools and Families announced that schools abroad advertising a British education are to be inspected by an independent body and monitored by Ofsted. Schools will be offered accreditation against standards similar to independent schools operating in Britain.


The move has been welcomed by the Council of British International Schools, the main association for British schools abroad. Its own schools have been undergoing inspections by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) since 2000 and its director Roger Fry believes that the Department's decision to introduce the inspection scheme is a sign that the Government is realising the important role played by British international schools to the economy.


Fry points, in particular, to the importance of international students to the UK's tertiary sector. In addition to the fact that British universities need to attract overseas students for financial reasons, many international students – particularly from Asia – are keen to study subjects that British students are shunning, such as engineering, maths and sciences. At a time when some university departments are shutting down, Fry believes that these students should be seen as an important resource.


Whether the introduction of an inspection and certification system for British schools abroad will have any effect on the quantity or quality of international schools remains to be seen. But in a globalised world, where English is increasingly the international language of commerce, the future of British education abroad appears bright.


By Suzanne Lynch


Flemings Take to Learning English Instead of French

An excerpt from Education in a federal system: A
case-study of Belgium,
by Caroline Varin, University of Pennsylvania, year 2006:
Most television channels in the Flemish Brabant show English shows,
but usually use subtitles instead of dubbing the voices. This has helped immerse the youth in the Anglo-Saxon culture and facilitated the learning of English. Moreover, the Flemish population has traditionally learnt French as a second language. The Flemish have recently taken to learning English as a second language, as opposed to French, and have developed strong ties with the Anglo-Saxon world, leaving them with a comparative advantage in international business and politics. In a bilingual country, speaking both languages is practically a guarantee of findingemployment, a fact that is evident in the rates of unemployment in Flanders and in Walloon which will be discussed later.

Weaknesses of the Francophone system

There is a panoply of literature speculating on the reasons for the disparity between the results of the Flemish Community and the Walloon-Brussels Community. These mostly focus on the weaknesses of the Francophone education system, particularly the inequity of the schools, the nefarious impact of the ‘redoublement’ and the hierarchic set-up of the schooling institutions. With regards to the influence of the French, it is evident that the French educational system is intrinsically weak, particularly in Reading Comprehension where it ranks 18th out of all OECD countries, but also in mathematics and sciences.


Rwanda: France Should Pay for the Teaching of English in African Schools

Ngango Rukara, Kigali,The New Times, 21 October 2008:

When the Government of Rwanda announced the new language policy, emphasizing the use of the English language as a medium of instruction in schools, some observers were quick to associate the decision with the soured diplomatic relations between Rwanda and France that stem from France's prominent role in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.

Writing in the Saturday Nation of October 18, 2008, Peter Mwaura claimed, that:"It would appear that Rwanda was quick to drop the French language because of its long standing and bitter dispute with France arising out of the 1994 genocide...".

But if Mr. Mwaura thought that Rwanda's new language policy was motivated by the bad blood between the two countries, he needs to take an another look. He needs look no further than France itself.

French Education minister Mr. Xavier Darcos has declared that schools in France would henceforth offer extra lessons in English, during holidays, to allow the young French generation to master the language.

Reason? Mr. Darcos says inability to speak the English language is a "handicap" since all international business is conducted in English. Sounds familiar?

The French minister also observed that owing to globalization "very few people outside France will be able to speak French in the future".

And the French minister wasn't done. To demonstrate that he was dead serious and that times have truly changed, Mr. Darcos announced that he was availing a budget to enable all French students study English, including kids from wealthy families whose parents have been paying for their English lessons abroad.

"I am offering them (English lessons) to everyone right here", vowed the French minister.

For those who quickly concluded that Rwanda's new, language policy was her way of getting back at France, Mr. Xavier Darcos' declaration and the new French government policy regarding the English language, are a clear signal that politics have nothing to do with it.

It probably further shows that Rwanda is way ahead of her own time. Otherwise, how do you explain the fact that Mr. Xavier Darcos sounded like he was reading from our own Théoneste Mutsindashyaka's script with regard to the importance of the English language, and the fact that French is increasingly becoming irrelevant in world affairs?

Now that France is doing the right thing at home, how about the millions of Africans, she has through her colonial policy and history, made to believe that you can't get anywhere in life if you don't speak French?

When you come to think of it, the French government should in all fairness take the responsibility to undo the years of a gross misguided education in her African colonies and pay for an entirely new English language curriculum in her former colonies. After all, they are now doing it at home (in France) and what is good for the French kids is good for African kids.

The Government of France should have used the 'Francophonie Summit' in Quebec City, Canada last week, to apologize to the French-speaking Africans whom they have, over the years, convinced to love the French language more than the French themselves.

Remember the late President Leopold Senghor of Senegal who in the 1970s declared that the worst threat against the "civilizing" French language and culture was the United States, precisely because the US was the single country with the largest number of English speakers? How the world has changed since!

One of Senghor's own successors, President Abdullah Wade last week spoke to reporters in English at, of all events, the 'Francophonie Summit' in Quebec, thereby vindicating those who have already figured out that French is, after all, nothing more than another local vernacular language on the European continent.

Leopold Senghor must be turning in his grave; only that this time round he wouldn't blame the demise of his beloved French language on the ever-present "Anglo-Saxon conspiracy".

He would have to confront a French minister of education who has no difficulty articulating the fact that the French language has no future in the new world order of globalization.

Indeed Mr. Xavier Darcos, the French Education minister, if for nothing else, has proved that it is never too late to learn how to sing, as the French wake up to smell the coffee.

Anglophone police at French summit

ANDREW CHUNG in thestar.com, oct 20, 2008 04:30 AM:

QUEBEC CITY–Just outside the Hilton hotel, part of the official site of the summit of la Francophonie, two RCMP officers stood chatting with each other in English. A woman walked up and asked in French whether they could tell her which shuttle to take.

"I think it's that way," one officer replied in English, and pointed down the road.

The woman looked confused, then started again in halting English. "That way?" she asked.

The officer, who later asked that his name not be used in this article, went to find a French-speaking counterpart for help.

It's a curious development in Quebec City – where representatives from 55 French-speaking countries and hordes of francophone media descended for the summit, the raison-d'être of which is the French language – that if attendees try to speak to police, there's a good chance they won't understand what the officer says.

After being deplored in many corners – the president of the Mouvement national des Québécoises et Québécois called it "scandalous and shameful" – the RCMP is now the subject of a complaint with the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages.

Impératif français, a Gatineau, Que.-based group that promotes the use of French, made the complaint. Jean-Paul Perreault, the group's president, told The Canadian Press the situation was insulting to the population and dignitaries who expected to communicate in the language of Molière but were forced to speak the language of Shakespeare.

"We know it's a sensitive matter," said RCMP spokesperson Luc Bessette in an interview, adding not enough francophone or bilingual officers were available.


French Fluency a Privilege of the Few in West Africa

Keynote address at the 42nd Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society:

The maintenance of a highly selective school system with important rates of dropouts, combined with low rates of scholarization, just helped keep the European colonial languages as the privilege of a chosen few. School children developed greater competence in the regional lingua franca than in the European language, which they often do not get to practice outside the school environment until after they graduate from high school, if they go that far. The only exceptions are apparently places such as Libreville (Gabon) and Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), where no indigenous language has emerged as the dominant vernacular. According to Van den Avenne (1998), Abidjan breaks down into neighborhoods where Dioula prevails as the vernacular and those where either French or le français populaire ivoirien functions as the vernacular.
In the rest of Black Africa, an indigenous language has typically emerged as the urban vernacular and regional lingua franca for the masses of the population, i.e., the overwhelming majorities of the national populations.

7 April 2006
Language Endangerment: An Embarrassment for Linguistics
Salikoko S. Mufwene
University of Chicago

English Victory Over French in Cambodia

Wie lernen kambodschanische Jugendliche Englisch? Einflüsse auf das Erlernen ... By Hendrik Heinze, Diplom-Kulturwissenschaftler Hendrik:

Wie lernen kambodschanische Jugendliche Englisch? Einflüsse auf das Erlernen einer Fremdsprache
By Hendrik Heinze, Diplom-Kulturwissenschaftler Hendrik Heinze
Published by GRIN Verlag, 2007
ISBN 3638728587, 9783638728584
164 pages

The Toubon Laws: Language Protection At Its Unpopular Worst

French language protection as advocated by the likes of Chirac always was a thing of the undemocratic elites. The Toubon laws never had a basis in French public opinion. Language and Nationalism in Europe by Stephen Barbour, Cathie Carmichael:

Language and Nationalism in Europe
By Stephen Barbour, Cathie Carmichael
Contributor Stephen Barbour, Cathie Carmichael
Published by Oxford University Press, 2000
ISBN 0198236719, 9780198236719
319 pages

Chinese Displacing French in Japan

LA Times, Monday, March 29, 2004:

Chinese studies are booming throughout Asia. At the largest chain of private language schools in Japan, enrollment in Chinese in 2003 was double that in 2002 – displacing French as the second most popular [foreign] language after English.

"English won. And didn’t even try."

A quote by Douglas Nerad:

"It’s been my experience that when you become defensive of a position to the point of fanaticism then you’ve already lost. It’s just a matter of time before you realize it. France passed the Toubon Law in 1994 which codifies French as the General Custer of institutional languages. The French even have their Académie française which dictates the use of the language, commanding the use of “courriel” instead of “email”.

French lost. English won. And didn’t even try. It’s nothing to cry about just like English speakers generally don’t celebrate their ascendency."

Australia: French Cannot Survive

By Gerard Noonan, Education Editor, October 22 2002:

Tiffany Smith, 17, says she studies French "for the pleasure of it" but recognises many students do not choose languages because they are mainly concerned about selecting subjects that will help them get a job.
"How can French survive when the students ... want to do information technology or software design?" she said.
This year, 1290 students will sit their French exams, 400 fewer than a decade ago.
The fastest gainer is Chinese - 850 students who speak Chinese at home will sit the exam this year.
In the early 1990s, fewer than 300 speakers took the subject.

English is supplanting French as the favorite second language of the Bernese

In sacred-destinations.com:

Bern (or Berne, the official English spelling) is the capital of Switzerland. It is a smallish city with a population of about 130,000, surrounded on three sides by the meandering River Aare. Bern has long been a firmly Protestant city. The main language spoken is Swiss-German. English is supplanting French as the favorite second language of the Bernese (...).

English Supplanting French At U.N., Journalists Say

UN wire, Friday, February 15, 2002:

Journalists at the U.N. Geneva office have submitted a petition to spokeswoman Marie Heuze denouncing the "marginal" status of the French language there, Le Temps reported yesterday. The petitioners say the use of English is "penalizing significant contingents of Chinese, African, Arab and Eastern European journalists, who have often mastered only French as a working language."

French and English are the world body's two official working languages, but 90 percent of documents produced at the Geneva office are composed in English, and French translations are often slow in coming, according to Le Temps. Vladimir Petrovsky, the U.N. director general in Geneva, does not speak French after 10 years on the job, the Geneva daily reported, adding that French-speaking U.N. employees have taken to writing in English in the interest of their careers.

According to Le Temps, a French U.N. diplomat, upon arriving at a recent World Health Organization seminar in Lyons, France, discovered the working languages were English and Russian (Pierre Hazan, Le Temps, Feb. 14, UN Wire translation).

Tiberge: "French literature today does not exist, nor does poetry"

Noted blogger Lawrence Auster Tiberge on the decline of French, December 03, 2005:

As for the French language, of course it was richer, clearer and more full-bodied (if I may compare it to wine) in the centuries of the monarchy and into the nineteenth century. Learning to read French literature was one of the joys of my life, and I was so impressed precisely by that “clarté” you speak of. The language has declined terribly in the latter half of the 20th century. Reading these French websites is often an agony. The slang, the acronyms, the horrible spelling, and the tendency to get entangled in specious “raisonnements” are all indicators of the collapse of their culture. French literature today does not exist, nor does poetry. And those who do attempt to write well are under the spell of political correctness, so they speak without saying anything. French magazines and newspapers are boring and often written in short elliptical phrases for those who can’t stand long sentences.
I believe the rise of totalitarian ideologies in the 19th century had something to do with all this. French writers and philosophers were suddenly dealing with terrifying ideas that had dreadful consequences and they could not cope. They tried to be more intelligent, more piercing than they were capable of and the result is boring and contradictory garbage that young people loved and quoted as if it were Gospel. I tried to read Sartre and couldn’t follow it. But he’s clear compared to others. The mutation of their culture meant the end of their language as well. Without great writers, you won’t have a great language.

Also, they are in such fierce competition with us that they twist whatever they say to ensure it does not sound too much like what an American would say. Recently on CNN Dominique de Villepin said that the riots were not real riots because nobody was killed, unlike American riots where people were killed (in 1992). He said the rioters were between the ages of 12 and 20, so it was a completely different type of event. What he was saying was that France’s riots are superior to America’s riots. When you think like this, how can you speak clearly?

Actually, Auster Tiberge could have pointed out that people did die in the 2005 French riots. So did one native Frenchman make the mistake of going out of the building he lived in to try and do some damage control when he was beaten up by youth and subsequently died of his injuries. All such incidents were initially reported, yet French and liberal media were not too keen to call the French government on its lie when it later claimed in interviews with foreign media that what it called "civil unrests" didn't cause any fatalities.
Don't believe me? Here you are, courtesy of the Beeb 

Ten policemen were injured by shots and stones when they confronted 200 rioters in the Paris suburb of Grigny, with two policemen seriously hurt.

President Jacques Chirac has said restoring order is his top priority.

Meanwhile a man who fell into a coma after being beaten last week is thought to be the first fatality of the unrest.

Jean-Jacques Le Chenadec, 61, was reportedly struck by a hooded man in the street after he and a neighbour went to inspect damage to bins near their apartment block in the town of Stains, in the Seine-Saint-Denis region outside Paris.

In the New York Times:

France's growing urban unrest claimed its first life today and Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin later indicated on French television that the government was near a decision to allow local officials to impose curfews.

The dead man, Jean-Jacques Le Chenadec, 61, had been in a coma since he was attacked by a hooded youth last week while talking with a neighbor about their cars near a working-class housing development in the Parisian suburb of Stains.

First Lady Carla Bruni Heaps Scorn On French Obsession With Language

The Times Of India, 20 Jan 2008:

"I like to be Italian. I like the Italian temperament and I like Italian food. French people are in a bad mood for some reason, and the Italian people are in a good mood.

"French people are always negative. They're also crazy about their own language, so every time there's something that's not in French, they get so mad about it," the 'Daily Mail' quoted Bruni as saying.

When asked if the famously elegant Paris was a nicer city than London, she said: "I don't think so. I've really been surprised at how beautiful London is.

"And in London you don't feel the pollution because there are so many parks. In Paris, I live on the edge of the city because it's the only place where you have green spaces. In the middle of Paris, it's really hard, really unbearable."


In France, the French language is being reduced to a local dialect.

BBC's Caroline Wyatt, 08 Feb 07:

A group of trades unions and language lobbyists say the French language is being reduced to a local dialect.
"We can no longer tolerate this," said Albert Salon, president of the French-speaking campaigning group, Forum Francophone International.

"We are not against influences of one language by another, or the occasional borrowing of words, but now there is a wholesale substitution of the French language for English."

He said in many companies it had become standard practice for native French speakers to use English even among themselves and French scientists were forced to publish their research, in English, in leading US journals.

"We have nothing against the Brits or the Americans," Mr Salon said.

"But we simply cannot accept that our language is reduced to a local dialect"
But Pierre Kosciusko-Morizet, CEO and founder of French site Priceminister.com, accepts that having English as a global business language enables him to converse with foreign colleagues in a common tongue.

"Some things are facts and you can't fight against them," Mr Kosciusko-Morizet said.

"We can promote French but I don't see very efficient ways of fighting English. English didn't become the global language of business by fighting other languages," he added.

Author David Sedaris Doesn't Like Living In France

By ANDREW DANSBY, Houston Chronicle 2008:

Question: So do you still like living in France?
Sedaris: Oh, I don't know. I applied for citizenship in England. I just found that France as I get older makes me crabby. (...)
In France people are more selfish. ``I'm the center of the universe. I'm going to stand in front of the turnstile of the subway and call a friend because I feel lonely and you need to go around me.'' Or ``I'm going to allow my dog to defecate in the doorway of your store, and he's an animal, and you need to understand that.''

'Bonjour' campaign promotes French, wastes money:

CBS News:

A new Quebec-funded ad campaign that encourages people to speak more French is getting bad reviews from some English-speaking Montrealers.

The $1.5-million "Bonjour" campaign urges Quebecers to greet each other in French.

The radio version tells listeners that "Bonjour is the best beginning" for every conversation.

Montrealers don't need to hear that, especially when the province has bigger problems at hand, said Ted Duskes, who runs a technology equipment business.

"Don't spend all these kinds of money when you don't have the money to spend," he told CBC News. "You have people lining up in the halls in the emergency rooms, and you haven't got nurses. It's frustrating."

The campaign comes after months of public debate over the vitality of French in Montreal.

Recent provincial studies suggest French is losing favour as the main language of commerce on the island of Montreal, especially among small businesses.

The majority of Quebec francophones feel the French language is threatened in Quebec, but the ad campaign misses the mark, said Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Association for Canadian Studies.

"In terms of outcomes, in terms of the degree to which non-francophones are going to say 'bonjour' more, or use more French in retail outlets of downtown Montreal, I doubt this will have any meaningful impact," he said.

Rwanda: the switch will have a ripple effect

By PETER MWAURA posted Friday, October 17 2008 at 17:19, in the Daily Nation:

Last week, Rwanda officially dropped French and adopted English as the official language of communication and teaching.

The country’s nursery schoolchildren will no longer sing Il y a Sept Jours à Semaine; they will sing There Are Seven Days in a Week and London Bridge is Falling Down.

Information technology students will stop referring to the computer as ordinateur and the mouse as un souris.

The transformation is more than linguistic. It has the potential of creating ripples throughout the region.


The switch will have a ripple effect on neighbouring Burundi, now the only member of the East Africa Community still Francophone. It is probably just a question of time before Burundi also says adieu to French so as to take full advantage of its being a member of an English-speaking trading bloc.

The effect could spread to eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, which borders Rwanda in the west.

And in the long run, the ripples could reach even Dakar, the Senegalese capital that has traditionally been Africa’s “little Paris”. Senegal and a growing number of Francophone countries in West Africa are increasingly looking up to the English-speaking world, particularly the United States.

The French built their colonial (and linguistic) empire in Africa on a premise increasingly proving untenable in today’s world. They defined their power in the international arena around the idea of spreading civilisation — mission civilisatrice — that became the official reason for carving out territories in Africa.

Thus, they sought to increase their influence abroad by spreading the French culture.

In West Africa, where they had most of their colonies, they sought to bring up Africans to be French and the colonies as an “integral part of the mother country”.


Rwanda is a member of the Francophonie, so why has it ditched French? The official reason given is business.

Trade and Industry minister Vincent Karega dismisses French as a language spoken “in France, some parts of West Africa, parts of Canada and Switzerland”, while English “has emerged as a backbone for growth and development around the globe.”


Kigali accused France of participating in the genocide, expelled the French ambassador and closed down the French cultural centre, international school and Radio France Internationale (RFI).

However, the potential consequences and spin-offs of the diplomatic tiff go beyond the Great Lakes country’s borders.


Because we have so many French teachers

Ron Matus, St Petersburg Times, Wed, 10/15/2008:

When education guru Willard Daggett gives speeches, he often cracks this joke: Why are 1.4-million American kids learning French when India and China are reshaping the world? The punch line: Because we have so many French teachers.

Mandarin Chinese is spoken by more than 1-billion people. Yet just a few years ago, it wasn't even an afterthought in U.S. schools.

A national survey in 2000 by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages estimated that 5,000 students were learning Chinese -- barely a blip compared to the 4.8-million learning Spanish, and barely more than the 3,300 learning an American Indian tongue.

Today, an informed guess pegs the figure at 50,000, making Chinese far and away the fastest-growing language taught.

"The growth has been substantial," said Steve Ackley, spokesman for the foreign languages council. "Everyone realizes this is a country with whom we are going to have to deal on a business and social and cultural level in the future."

The demand has been so great that it's outstripping the ability of schools to find good teachers.

"Better to use a language that is widely spoken across the globe"

Felly Kimenyi , Gasabo, for The New Times (Kigali)
15 October 2008:

President Paul Kagame yesterday stressed the urgency in the process of using English as a medium of education in all Rwandan schools, saying it is a choice Rwandans have to make if they need development.

He said this while visiting Ecole Primaire d'Application de Kimihurura (EPAK), a primary school located in Kimihurura, Gasabo District.

"The kind of education we want for our children is that which is in line with the vision in place for the development of our country we have to prioritise the language that will make them competent when they get on the labour market after completing school," the President said while meeting the teaching staff of the school.

He said that it is better to use a language that is widely spoken across the globe as Rwanda tries to reach as many countries for business opportunities.

"For example, in our region apart from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a French speaker going to the other countries would have to use the services of an interpreter," he said.

He added that even in Europe, of the more than 20 States that make up the continent, there are not more than three where the French language is spoken.

"In the rest of the countries, no one will have time for you if you speak French," Kagame pointed out.

A cabinet meeting last week directed the Ministry of Education to expedite the programme that will make English the medium of education in all government-funded schools right from primary level to institutions of higher learning.

According to minutes of the meeting, the major reason for this is to make Rwanda more competitive in both the East African Community and the International Community at large.

"We have to make a choice on language depending on which languages the countries we stand to benefit from most use," said Kagame.

The President also emphasized that the major reason is not to just master the English language but the knowledge to be gained in other disciplines like sciences.

A wholesale realignment away from French influence

As you should know, Rwanda is the first black African country to attempt a switch from French to English. This is nothing short of revolution, and media outlets run story after story about it. Here is another one:

Chris McGreal, Africa correspondent
The Guardian, Tuesday October 14 2008

The Rwandan government is to switch the country's entire education system from French to English in one of the most dramatic steps to date in its move away from Francophone influence.

Officially the change is to reposition Rwanda as a member of the East African Community, an organisation made up mostly of English-speaking countries such as neighbours Uganda and Tanzania.

However, the shift to education solely in English is part of a wholesale realignment away from French influence that includes applying to join the Commonwealth - if accepted Rwanda would be only the second member, after Mozambique, that has not been a British colony - and establishing a cricket board.

Underpinning the move is a long and bitter dispute with France born of its support for the Hutu regime that oversaw the 1994 genocide of 800,000 Tutsis, which has seen the French ambassador expelled and the closure of the French cultural centre, international school and radio station.

However, what amounts to an attempt to expel the French language too, consigning it to a few hours a week in schools and increasingly forcing it out of the workings of government, will be badly received in Paris where protection of the language is at the heart of what critics describe as the French obsession with maintaining influence in Africa and which led it to back the Hutu extremist government.

No timetable has been set to implement the policy, which will face a number of challenges, including finding sufficient teachers who speak English. The cabinet also decided that all public service workers will receive English instruction.

English was made an official language in Rwanda, alongside French and the indigenous Kinyarwanda, after the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) overthrew the Hutu regime and took power in 1994.

The RPF leadership, dominated by Tutsis raised in exile in Anglophone countries, generally speaks English and not French. Rwanda's minister of education, Daphrosa Gahakwa, grew up in Uganda where she took her O levels. She studied her PhD in genetic engineering at the University of East Anglia.

English has also become fashionable even among French-speaking young people in the cities, particularly Tutsis, as a means of rejecting Francophone influence and its association with the Hutu regime responsible for the genocide.

At present the first three years of primary school is in Kinyarwanda after which pupils may choose English or French. The French option is to be dropped.

Instruction at Kigali's elite Institute of Science and Technology is already in English and it is increasingly the language of instruction in the national university.

The drive towards English is in part financial. Close trading ties not only with other east African nations such as Uganda and Kenya but also with South Africa, which has provided investment for luxury hotels and shopping malls, have helped drive an economic boom in Rwanda.

The Rwandan trade and industry minister, Vincent Karega, told Kigali's New Times newspaper that the country is looking beyond the Francophone world.

"French is spoken only in France, some parts of west Africa, parts of Canada and Switzerland," he said. "English has emerged as a backbone for growth and development not only in the region but around the globe."

There is little doubt that a deep loathing of all things French is also an important factor for some of Rwanda's leaders.

The latest salvo against French influence comes weeks after the Rwandan government accused more than 30 French politicians, officials and military officers of complicity in the genocide, including the late president, François Mitterrand, and called for their prosecution.

A two-year investigation by an official commission alleged that French forces in Rwanda committed crimes against humanity and protected those who organised the genocide, helping them to flee the country and escape justice.

The Rwandan inquiry followed allegations by France's leading anti-terrorism judge, Jean-Louis Bruguière, that in effect accused Rwanda's Tutsi president, Paul Kagame, of bringing mass murder on his own people by allegedly ordering the 1994 assassination of the then president, Juvenal Habyarimana, which marked the start of the genocide.

The judge could not indict Kagame as head of state but he issued international arrest warrants for nine of his closest aides and advised the tribunal trying those behind the genocide to pursue Kagame.


France's claim that Rwanda was a French-speaking nation was always somewhat disingenuous given that 80% of the population spoke only Kinyarwanda fluently. But there was no doubt about France's influence over the former Belgian colony.

It remains strong in other Francophone countries in Africa from the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west and central African nations where the national currencies are underpinned by French financial support.


There is little doubt English is encroaching on French influence, not only because it is the language of business in Europe but because of the economic power of South Africa

"we're not getting anything out of French"

STEPHANIE NOLEN From Friday's Globe and Mail
October 16, 2008 at 8:08 PM EDT

KIGALI — In Bourbon Coffee, Kigali's hippest gathering spot, well-dressed young Rwandans lounge on the comfy couches, eat burgers and chat. They speak in Kinyarwanda, they speak in French, but more and more these days, when they call out to friends, when they order lunch, when they flirt – they speak in English.

It's all about English in Rwanda these days: Land at the airport, and the immigration staff say “Welcome to Kigali!” Grab a taxi, and the driver says, “Where to?” The road signs are in English, the government ministries that dot the hills around the capital are labelled in English, the beer billboards and cellphone ads and condom commercials are in English. One of the most popular newspapers in town, and some of the most successful radio stations, are English.

And that's all a little surprising, since Rwanda was colonized by French-speaking Belgians, is a long-standing member of the Francophonie and runs its schools in French.

Or rather, it did until last week, when Kigali announced that, after the first few years in Kinyarwanda, students would be taught in English – sealing the decision that English, not French, would be the language of the country's future. t's a bold move – perhaps the first time that a country ever switched languages (and all of the cultural and political associations that go with them) overnight.

The change had been brewing for a while, and it has its roots in Rwanda's tragic recent history. Around 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were murdered by Hutu extremists and their supporters in the 1994 genocide, which was ended after 100 days by a Tutsi-dominated rebel force led by Paul Kagame.

He quickly took office as the new president, and surrounded himself with advisers and ministers who are, like him, Tutsis whose families had fled previous episodes of ethnic-based slaughter to the neighbouring countries of Uganda and Tanzania, and so grew up as English-speakers. They were profoundly angry with France, whose military had trained and armed the Interahamwe, as the Hutu militia was known, who carried out the genocide.

Just three months after the end of the genocide, they made English an official language – even though very few people in Rwanda then spoke it. It joined Kinyarwanda, which remains the mother tongue of Rwandans of all classes, and French, introduced by the Belgians 90 years earlier.

But hundreds of thousands of Tutsi refugees came home in the years that followed, and many took up new positions of influence in the public sector or business. French-speaking Rwandans began to learn English; private English tutorial companies sprang up all over Kigali and the other major cities. Then the country's leading technical institute announced that English would be its primary language. Rwanda joined the East African Community – a zone of political and trade co-operation that includes English-speaking Kenya and Uganda – and applied to join the Commonwealth.

The decision about the country's schools is simply the latest, most decisive and formal step.

“Look at the advantages of Rwanda being strong in English,” enthused Yisa Claver, director of policy in the Education Ministry. “English is now the business language. Rwanda is trying to be a knowledge-based economy. English is the language of research. We're trying to be a regional hub of ICT [information and communications technology] and English is the language of ICT. Rwanda is now in the East African Community, where the official language is English. Rwanda is trying to have a service industry as a priority – we don't have diamonds and minerals and all those things, we want tourism and all those guys speak English ... China! The World Bank! The UN! Their first language is English. For God's sake, this is a noble decision.”

Many tech-and-media-savvy young Rwandans had already decided that their future lies in English. “I grew up speaking French,” said Jean-Pierre Niyitanga, 25, who manages a media training project. His parents still speak to him in Kinyarwanda. But these days, he goes by J.P. and when he chats at Bourbon Coffee, it's in English. “Of course,” he said.

Yet many people detect more than practical motives for the language shift.

“I think it's politics,” said Hajji Sadiq, a Kigali tax consultant in his 50s. Far more people speak English than French, and there would be no reason to make the abrupt official change if a larger point were not being made, he said.

The French Cultural Centre in Rwanda has been shuttered and abandoned – like the French embassy – since relations with the country were severed in 2006, amid competing allegations about France's role in the genocide and a move by France to indict Mr. Kagame for the murder of the previous president.

“Some people will believe this is a continuation of the deterioration of the relationship between France and Rwanda, that Rwanda is ‘doing whatever it can to humiliate France,'” acknowledged Jean-Baptiste Rusine, the director of the language department at the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology.

Mr. Claver, of the Education Ministry, firmly denied that. “English is not the end result – it's an instrument to get better business, and if French would do this for us we'd [be teaching in French] – but we're not getting anything out of French.”

Across from Mr. Claver's office at the ministry sits a room full of British and American advisers from the World Bank and Britain's aid agency, who are helping to rewrite Rwanda's curriculum.

Regardless of motives, the language shift will be complex and costly. “The number one challenge is the number of qualified English language trainers. Who is going to train the pedagogic and educational population?” Prof. Rusine asked, speaking excellent English in an accent with hints of Inspector Clouseau. “What of our professors of social or applied sciences – they've got PhDs, yet although they can communicate in English, they will have great difficulty to teach in it. So the policy is there but in practice the shift may come gradually.”

Officially French will continue to be taught as a school subject but will no longer be a medium of instruction; in practice, only a small number of teachers can now teach in English. Prof. Rusine also noted that the great majority of Rwandans are subsistence farmers who are literate only in Kinyarwanda, if anything, and speak neither colonial language. “They will only start to notice the shift in a year or two, since education is now free and even the peasant's son or daughter will start to speak English.”

Mr. Sadiq, the businessman, who learned French at school and knows no English, said he would like to learn, so he can deal with the foreigners pouring in here – but he fears the policy switch is going to produce a nation that speaks neither language well, adding parallel English and French instruction would have been a better approach.

But Mr. Claver said that is simply not feasible for Rwanda.

“Maybe you Canadians don't see the need [to switch from one to the other],” he said. “But it's very expensive to have both.”

Rwanda Switch to English: "The main reason is business"

The rather pompous Marcel Berlins has this to say in the Guardian:

Rwanda is a small and not especially influential country, but it has made a decision which, I fear, may have consequences disproportionate to its size and importance. It has officially ditched French and adopted English as its language of international communication, and as the language taught in its schools. (...) The main reason is business, as was made clear by Rwanda's trade and industry minister, in dismissive terms: "French is spoken only in France, some parts of West Africa, parts of Canada and Switzerland." By contrast, "English has emerged as a backbone for growth and development not only in the region but around the globe."

Last year, Rwanda became a member of the East African Community, joining Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi, only the last of which remains Francophone. But how long before it too succumbs to the lure of English? Next year, Rwanda is expected to be admitted to the Commonwealth. Algeria and Madagascar have made overtures to join. They haven't done so because they love English culture or want to play cricket. Theirs is a calculated business decision to enter a club which will offer them the best opportunities, and if that club speaks English, they'll learn the language.

It gives me no pleasure to see a magnificent culture and the most wonderful language in the world cast aside for the sake of a few more bucks, but the trend is inevitable. Even when the world goes astray, as now, the discussions of its chaos are carried out in English. President Sarkozy managed to get a lot of French heard, but that was only because France is the current holder of the EU presidency. Any European crisis next year, when the Czechs and Swedes are in charge, is likely to be discussed primarily in English.

200 million Francophones?

Justitia & Veritas:

Contrairement à une propagande bien orchestrée, le nombre de francophones n’atteint point le chiffre de 200.000.000, voire plus, encore mentionné dans la presse en mars dernier…
A qui profite le mensonge ?

1 B. Aulas, Le français, langue universelle, in: L’Ecole, 16, 1966/67, pp. 869-870

(p.870) “Le français, langue maternelle ... (de) 63 millions (de personnes).”

2 Marc Blanpain, Les lumières de la France, Le français dans le monde, Ed. Calmann-Lévy, 1967
(p.111) “En mettant les choses au mieux, on peut dire qu’ il n’ y a guère aujourd’hui que 75.000.000 de ‘francophones’ dans le monde entier.”

3 La France, un pays et son peuple, Gamma, 1973
(p.10) “Le français est la langue maternelle de plus de 70.000.000 de personnes.”

4 Les 10 langues les plus importantes, in: L’esperanto en marche, 3/1973, p.7
“Selon Mme J. Marx, directrice du programme de langues de l’ Institut culturel brésilien, le nombre de langues importantes (sic) est de 149, si l’on considère comme importante une langue parlée par un million de personnes au minimum. Voici les 10 plus importantes:
chinois: 605 millions ; anglais: 333 ; russe 203 ; espagnol 192 ; hindi 192 ; allemand 120 ; arabe 109 ; bengali 108 ; portugais 108 ; japonais 105.
Malgré ce qu’on a tendance à croire, le français n’appartient au groupe des langues les plus importantes!”

5 André Goosse, Le français dans le monde, LB 15/9/1980

Au Sénégal, “109.000 personnes de quatorze ans ou plus sur 1.788.000, lisent ou écrivent” le français (p.373). ... la situation du français est à la merci (sic) de l’ arabisation ou du retour à l’ authenticité.

6 Communautés françaises, Neuvième conférence internationale, LB 27/6/1987
“70 millions d’ êtres qui ont le français pour langue maternelle.”

7 A.M., Des cousins francophones en visite chez nous, LB 2/7/1987
“Ils sont soixante-dix millions qui ont le français comme langue maternelle.”

8 Ma.D., Les francophones et la Révolution, LS 8/6/1989

“Ils sont 70 millions à partager la même parenté linguistique.”

9 J. Jacques de Decker, la francophonie tient congrès, LS, 5/11/1990
“Le français n’est vraiment première langue qu’en France et au Québec, dans une partie de la Belgique, de la Suisse et du Grand-Duché. Ailleurs, il est souvent en concurrence avec des langues déjà pratiquées avant la colonisation.”

French Decline in Quotes

By Justitia & Veritas:


E.L., Le français risque de devenir une langue morte aux Pays-Bas, LB 7/6/78

J.H. Défendre le français, LB, 19/7/79
Le français et l’anglais sont les deux langues officielles de l’Alliance atlantique. On y trouve encore des diplomates bilingues, mais en fait, tout se passe en anglais.

André Goosse, Situation et avenir du français en Europe, LB 16/11/81
“Le français aurait perdu la première place en Italie, ce qui serait particulièrement regrettable.”

Luc Norin, Le français, langue des sciences et des techniques, LB 21/10/82
“D’après les premiers résultats effectués actuellement par le CNRS (et qui seront rendues publiques au prochain colloque international de Montréal), le dépouillement de 450 000 articles publiés en un an en Belgique, Canada, France, Québec, Suisse, révèle que 8 p.c. d’ entre eux seulement ont été publiés en français.”

Le français est de moins en moins parlé à la Chambre [Belge]!, LB [Libre Belgique] 15/10/84
Jean Defraigne, président de la Chambre:
“65 à 70 % des interventions sont faites en néerlandais!”

S.G., Espagne: comment meurt le français?, LS 11/3/87
“En quelques années, l’enseignement du français dans les écoles secondaires espagnoles a perdu plus de la moitié de ses élèves.”
“Dès que les premières compétences en matière d’enseignement ont été transférées de l’ Etat central vers les gouvernemùents régionaux autonomes, on a assisté à
l’introduction massive de l’enseignement des langues régionales respectives.”
En plus, l’apprentissage de l’anglais.

Eddy Pennewaert, La Turquie: laboratoire historique de la francophonie, Intermédiaire, 14/3/88
“Depuis près de deux siècles, plus de 70 journaux entièrement ou partiellement en langue française ont paru dans l’Empire ottoman et la Turquie républicaine.”
“Après 1918, la presse française de Turquie se confine progressivement aux domaines ‘culturels’. Son agonie sera irréversible, car de plus en plus de citoyens turcs seront amenés à exprimer leurs opinions dans leur langue maternelle.”
“Ce déclin de l’usage du français en Turquie sera total après la deuxième Guerre Mondiale.”

La XIIIe biennale de la langue française à Québec, LB 22/8/89
“Entre 1974 et 1980, l’usage du français dans les publications scientifiques en france aurait baissé de 69 p.c; à 48 p.c.. Au Québec, l’Institut du Cancer de Montréal et
l’Institut de recherche en énergie d’Hydro-Québec publient en anglais dans une proportion de 92 p.c..”

s.n., Revue de la dir. gén. des études, 9, nov. 1989, p.46
“Actuellement, les Italiens, les Espagnols et les Portugais préfèrent utiliser l’anglais.”

L’ Algérie ne veut plus entendre parler français, VA 28/12/90
L’arabe doit, d’ici 1992, s’imposer progressivement dans toutes les sphères de
l’économie et de l’administration.

Algérie: offensive sans précédent contre le français, AL 28/12/90
“La Ligue de la dawa ‘Appel’ islamique, regroupant les différents courants intégristes, a dénoncé mardi dans un communiqué de soutien aux députés, ce qu’elle a appelé “les partis revendiquant la prolongation de la colonisation culturelle en Algérie.”
“Plusieurs milliers de coopérants français sont en poste dans l’enseignement en Algérie.”

Voyage chez les francophones, Géo, 138, 1990
(p.93) “Le soleil ne s’est pas encore levé sur Phnom Penh que des bataillons
d’adolescents se dirigent vers le carrefour des rues 184 et 19, ex-rues Paul-Bert et Francis-Garnier. Ils garent leurs vélos et se ruent vers des salles à peine éclairées par une maigre ampoule, mais aujourd’hui ... pour apprendre l’anglais.”

Yves de Saint-Agnès, Voyage chez les francophones, Géo, 138, 1990, p.87
“Charles XVI Gustave, quant à lui, est loin de s’exprimer couramment dans la langue des ses ancêtres. Il reflète ainsi le médiocre enthousiasme éprouvé par les Suédois àl’égard d’une langue jugée bizarre et compliquée.”

P.D., Francophonie: le désert scientifique, LB 1/6/92
“Aujourd’hui, une bonne culture scientifique ne peut s’acquérir que dans des ouvrages et des revues publiés en anglais.”

French has a poor vocabulary

By Justitia & Veritas:

Le français a un vocabulaire pauvre (André Martinet (Sorbonne)) (il doit très souvent puiser dans le réservoir sémantique grec et latin pour former ses mots; de plus, le système de dérivation est inefficace). Le wallon a, par contre, un vocabulaire plus riche, EN PLUS DES emprunts à ces mêmes langues.
De plus, le rapprochement sémantique entre les différents lexèmes wallons présentés est immédiatement perçu par le locuteur wallophone. Ce n'est nullement le cas du francophone pour les correspondants en français.

French has a poor vocabulary (André Martinet (Sorbonne University - Paris)) (it must often borrow words from Greek and Latin to make new words and the derivation system is inefficient). In comparison, Walloon has a more developed vocabulary, BESIDE the words from Latin and Greek.
Moreover, the close semantic link between the different lexemes listed here can be directly observed by the Walloon speaker. This is not the case for the corresponding French words.
Let us compare:

More here


Rwanda bids adieu to French language

In the news.scotsman.com:

RWANDA, after blaming France for the 1994 genocide, has decided that French is off the agenda and that all education will be in English.
The wholesale adoption of English is the latest deliberate kick in the teeth to France, following such decisions as that by Paul Kagame, the president, to make Rwanda adopt cricket as the national sport.

For many decades, Rwanda was one of nearly 30 Francophone countries where the language of business, power and civilisation was French. The elite saw their ties to Paris as an essential link to the civilised world. Top bureaucrats and scientists graduated from France's top universities and often served terms as functionaries in the French government. All that began to change after the 1994 100-day genocide, when Rwanda's then ruling Hutu majority massacred some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

Mr Kagame, who headed the Tutsi-dominated Rwandese Patriotic Front guerrilla army which invaded to end the genocide, accused France of collaboration with the Hutu killers.

Rwanda is also adopting English because it has applied to join the Commonwealth and recently joined the five-member English-speaking East African Community.

The French embassy has closed, as have the French international school and cultural centre, and the offices of French companies in Kigali, the capital, despite efforts by Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, to mend relations.


"Of all the foreign languages in the American curriculum, the decline of French has been the most dramatic."

An excerpt from The Model Teacher-Scholar, by RENEE WALDINGER:

Of all the foreign languages in the American curriculum, the decline of French has been the most dramatic. Thirty years ago, it was the premier foreign language studied in American schools. Today its enrollments have decreased on every level of instruction all over the country. In many urban centers, French is no longer offered in middle schools, which practically guarantees a further decline at the next step, high schools, and beyond. French does not benefit from expanded development of foreign languages in elementary school (FLES); most schools can only afford to offer one language and Spanish is the choice of both parents and administrators. Political, economic, and social trends play a crucial role in these changes and there is very little the profession can do to limit their effect. But in addition French literature has lost the luster it had (...). The post-World War II generation of French writers generated much excitement in the United States. André Malraux, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Albert Camus, as well as many others, were familiar names to a wide public. Their works were translated and much discussed. The reality is that French thinkers and writers have not lost their influence in the intervening years; on the contrary, their views have had an enormous impact on criticism and philosophy, but they reach a greatly limited audience. There is also no doubt that the revelations about France's conduct during World War II have played a part in turning parents, and our prospective students, away from the study of French.

© 2000 by the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages. All Rights Reserved.

Decline of French in Africa and the Americas

Languages in a Globalising World By Jacques Maurais, Michael A. Morris:


Languages in a Globalising World
By Jacques Maurais, Michael A. Morris
Contributor Jacques Maurais, Michael A. Morris
Published by Cambridge University Press, 2003
ISBN 0521533546, 9780521533546
345 pages



On 4-ch.net:

Anonymous Linguist : 2006-10-30 00:52 ID:xDZ8L3WZ
French isnt really snooty. Just not worth the time to learn.

37 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-10-30 14:16 ID:Heaven
The French language may not be snooty, but French people sure are. It's a good thing they only speak French, otherwise those of us smart enough not to learn French would have to put up with their snootiness, too.

Switzerland: "At school we learn French then after school we unlearn French"

ParistoBeijing.blogspot.com, 3rd May, 2007, about people in Basel:

I sat with three locals who bought me beers while I ate Ross (Horse) steak and chips cooked by an expert Austrian chef. They talked of their lives in Basel, the great social structure, their dependence on the Rhine for work and of their travels in their youth. They also gave my an explanation of why they speak perfect Italian and excellent English rather than French despite the proximity - "You see the french: they make noises like frog, they eat frog, they are frog... We don't like the frog. At school we learn French then after school we unlearn French."

French Racism in Quebec

At lifeinmotion.wordpress.com, August 11, 2008;

However, I was discriminated when I was enrolled at a Quebecois school in Brossard (back then there were no Chinese people in that town). The racism was so bad at times that I decided to unlearn French when I moved to America and I still feel I can relate to those ethnic minorities who rioted in Paris and now Montreal.

More here

At the same blog:

I remember going to a “Quebecois” school in Quebec where I first learned about racial discrimination when I was younger. The difference between a “Canadian” school and a Quebecois school in Quebec is the Quebecois school generally have separatist influences, they are relatively less diverse than the Canadian schools, there is no trace of anything distinctly Canadian, and there is no assistance to students who do not speak French as a native language.

Canadian schools, on the other hand, had a diverse student body, had some programmes for non-French speaking students, and put down racism in their school by promoting multiculturalism. My early experiences were both at a Canadian and Quebecois school where I spent 2 years in each school when I was young.

The first instance of racism I experienced at a Quebec school called Ecole Samuel-De Champlain, was when I was entering the school in the morning. While I was walking to class, some French kid kept making “Ching-Chang-Chong” noises while looking at me. The kids that were around me simply ignored it as if it was normal while a handful laughed. At another instance, some French kids beat me up, trashed the things in my bookbag, and told me to “Go back to China” in French because they felt immigrants were taking his parents’ jobs or diluting the Quebecois spirit.

Then there was that second grade teacher named Sylvie. At that time she was in her late thirties, and I learned later that her husband was unemployed. I knew when I was younger I was a bit of a troublemaker, but I always thought it was strange how she would only give stern warnings to the White kids in the class while throwing me out of her class for the entire day when I did something wrong. This was strange because I did similar things to the other kids, but I got a harsher punishment and she never called me back to class once she threw me out.

I think these things were related to immigration and that’s why I get disgusted when people opposed to immigration rabidly deny that the issue has a racist element to it. I can definitely say, it has a racist element since I had the luxury of experiencing it first-hand in Quebec, Canada.

I really don’t like talking about this part of my life but it is a crude reminder of who I am. It’s also a reason why I unlearned the French language, abandoned my Catholic faith, and one of the reasons why it took several years to come to terms with myself.

My experiences in America are much better than Quebec. Although there is more ignorance than rampant racism here compared to Quebec, I want to do what I can to eliminate negative racial stereotypes and explore what it means to be Asian-American.

Little French Spoken in Mali


While the official language of administration and commerce in Mali is French, the vast majority of local life takes place in the local tongue of Bombara (and outside of Bamako, as we soon learned, very little French is spoken at all)- so we Canadians relied heavily on our Malian counterparts to guide us around, negotiate prices for us at the market, and help us avoid making an inordinate amount of faux pas those first few days

Flems Fight Against French Language

In BBC News, oct. 8th 2008:

When Fernand Herman died in 2005, his widow thought of a fitting epitaph for the former Belgian cabinet minister and Euro MP: "L'Europe est ma patrie" (Europe is my homeland).
But the funeral director warned her that the authorities of Overijse, a Flemish town, would take a dim view of a French-language grave.
Rudy Herman suggested Latin - and "Europa patria mea" passed muster.
Her husband is probably the only French-speaker buried in the cemetery who is remembered by more than a mere name and two dates.
Like many other municipalities near Brussels, Overijse takes language very seriously.
The capital is a cosmopolitan, largely French-speaking enclave within Flanders - and as its swelling population moves out, the suburbs are fighting to preserve their Flemish identity.

In Overijse, the local authorities' zeal is in evidence on the high street. In May, a local restaurant received a letter from the Overijse council, which read:

"As you know, this is a Flemish commune, whose official language is Dutch. However, we notice that your neon sign, 'Thai takeaway', is in English only. We would like to request that you change this to 'Thai meeneemrestaurant'.
"We are also asking you to greet your customers in Dutch 'Goede dag' or 'Goede avond', instead of just in French."
Many non-Dutch shopkeepers insist relations with the Overijse authorities are civil, and accusations of "linguistic cleansing" levelled by some French-speakers are overdone.
A few shops down from the Thai takeaway, a new brasserie has a distinctly Gallic feel to it.
"Moules marinieres" feature prominently on the menu, and the stereo plays songs by Edith Piaf and Charles Aznavour.
Eric Vermersch, the manager, says he uses a Dutch-speaker in his dealings with the town hall, and there is always a Flemish waiter on hand in the brasserie.
"There is a gentleman's agreement. As long as you respect others, you're OK," Mr Vermersch says. "This is nothing like Northern Ireland and Orange marches."

Bloody ethnic strife is not about to break out in Brussels' leafy suburbs - but the war of words can get nasty. Militant groups, such as the Taal Aktie Komitee (TAK), specialise in vandalising non-Dutch billboards and facilities.
One Overijse business whose owner has been resisting official requests to change its English-language sign - "textile repair shop" - is regularly spray-painted with "Nederlands" ("Dutch") graffiti.
Some shopkeepers feel under such pressure that they will only speak under condition of anonymity.
One, in Tervuren, says Belgium's government crisis has poisoned the atmosphere, and led to many Flemish people boycotting his restaurant.
"Over the past 15 months our sales have fallen by 35%," he says. "I'm from a mixed family. I grew up speaking both Dutch and French, I find it sad that it has come to this."
In another suburb, "Jeff" says local officials are encouraging people to report any non-Dutch in-store advertising, adding that he once received a letter complaining about some ads in his food shop.
"I cannot bear for people to tell me how to run my business," Jeff says. "Most of my customers are non-Dutch speakers. If I speak only Dutch, I might as well close up shop."
In fact that is exactly what Jeff is doing. He is moving to France.
Near Brussels, linguistic defensiveness is fuelled not just by historical grievances, but also fears for the future. What would happen if the flight to the suburbs turned the Flemish into a minority on their own soil?
But he insists that Flemish land is sacrosanct: "If nobody speaks Dutch in a Flemish town - that will not change our opinion: it still belongs to Flanders."
Mr Van Biesen says he understands the measures taken in some suburbs to stem an expanding wave of newcomers demanding special rights.
"If you give them one inch of ground, they will try to spread to other parts a couple of years later," he says. That lesson is not lost on neighbouring Zaventem. The town, where the Brussels airport is located, is home to a large expatriate community and immigrants from all over the world.
But Mayor Francis Vermeiren is determined to uphold Flemishness. All visitors to the town hall must bring an interpreter if they don't speak Dutch, as staff are banned from speaking another language.
"I speak English to the people from London, and 'je parle en francais' to the people from Wallonia," he says. "We respect the culture of everyone, but we ask that they respect our culture also."
Zaventem has also set a controversial Dutch language requirement for people applying to buy cheap land from the municipality.
"The point is not to keep foreigners out," Mr Vermeiren insists. "The condition is that they should have to either know or learn the language."
But some who are learning Dutch feel they could be made to feel more welcome in Zaventem. Souhaila, a 16-year-old student, says her native French is banned from the school grounds.
"If they catch us speaking French in playground they tell us to stop. If we continue we get a detention. This bothers me," she says.


The English Are Winning

In the Daily Mail, 7th June, 2008:

Our relationship with the French has often been antagonistic - but in the latest war of words, the English are winning.
France has conceded that its language is hors de combat...and it puts the blame firmly on an Anglo-Saxon invasion.
Linguist Herve Bourges, a French government adviser, says his mother tongue is in deep crisis, besieged by the rise in English speakers worldwide. Unless action is taken, French will be steamrollered into oblivion, he warned.
'English speakers have a vision of the so-called English-speaking world, but an equivalent concept does not seem to exist in France.
'Despite having 200million French speakers on earth, the idea of a French-speaking world is becoming obsolete.'

More here


The "monotony and boringness" of Le Clezio's novels

In earthtimes.org, 9th Oct, 2008:

Berlin - Top German literary critic Sigrid Loeffler called Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio "a fairly bizarre choice" for the Nobel literature prize, dismissing his work Thursday as "boring."Speaking on MDR Info radio, she declared herself surprised and shocked at the award, and suggested Le Clezio may have won simply because no other French author had been picked for so long.
Loeffler has a German-wide reputation as a sharp-tongued reviewer of contemporary books on television.
She said the "monotony and boringness" of Le Clezio's novels had always put her and most readers off.
Terming him an "anachronistic romantic," she said, "His way of thought tends to nature mysticism: quietly contemplating nature rather than any kind of sensitivity to society.
"In our times, in our literature, that is a bit off-putting."
Noting that no one from France had won a literature Nobel since 1985, she added, "I can only imagine this choice has something to do with French literature."
She said that though Le Clezio had been an author for 40 years, "each of his books came from a different publishing house. That means publishers are not terribly happy about him or the sales."

The French language risks becoming obsolete in the 21st century

in the Guardian, 2001:

The French language risks becoming obsolete in the 21st century, overwhelmed by a bastardised English which has itself been ruined by neologisms and barbarisms.
The warning came from the historian Alain Decaux, a member of of the elite Académie Française, during a debate at the Institut de France in Paris in which the French language and culture were deemed to be in a state of crisis.

"Is French going to find itself in the same situation as those American Indian languages whose memory Chateaubriand said was kept alive only by a few old parrots on the Orinoco river?" Mr Decaux asked.

"Anglo-American is taking hold in the economy, advertising, research, public services, the army, training, international institutions."

Mr Decaux recalled that French was once the language of diplomacy and European culture, but that had changed, thanks to President Georges Clemenceau's peace negotiations after the first world war.

"He wanted to pay homage to our British and American allies by allowing the treaty of Versailles to be written in both French and English," said Mr Decaux. "This first surrender can be regarded as being at the start of lots of others." Now, 90% of UN documents are in English.

Dramatic decline of French at UK universities

Richard Garner, Education Editor, in the Independent, 19 August 2008:

Figures show that German, especially, has plummeted, with only 610 students accepted on degree courses last year, compared with 2,288 a decade ago. French is the second biggest casualty, with numbers dropping by a third from 5,655 to 3,700 in 10 years.

Overall, the figures show the number of students accepted on to language courses has slumped by almost a quarter during the past decade.

The researchers, from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London and the University of Stirling, say there was a "steep decline" in the first half of this decade – with overall numbers tumbling by 20 per cent. Since then, French and German have continued to fall – although the decline has been partially offset by a rise in those studying newly-available languages such as Mandarin and Arabic.

New Brunswick: "numbers of students dropping Core French at the secondary level are astronomical"

In QUALITY LEARNING IN FRENCH SECOND LANGUAGE IN NEW BRUNSWICK, Sally Rehorick, D.A., C.A.S., Director and Professor, Joseph Dicks, Ph.D, Professor, Paula Kristmanson, Ph.D, Assistant Professor, Fiona Cogswell, M.Ed, Faculty Associate, April 2006:

2. Core French programmes as they currently
exist are not effective in reaching the target
proficiency goal.
3. Although these statistics do not specifically
address attrition rates, we know that there is still a
problem with attrition in French Immersion at the
secondary level, a fact mirrored at the national
level (Rehorick, 2004).
4. The numbers of students dropping Core French
at the secondary level are astronomical.*

* This high attrition can be attributed to students’ perception of lack of success and courses which are “boring, irrelevant and repetitious” (APEF, 2003).

The Decline of a Cultural icon

In The Decline of a Cultural Icon: France in American Perspective, by Bertram M. Gordon, Copyright © 1999:

Recent reports from both Britain and the United States show a decline in French language classes. Richard Needham, trade minister of Britain, in May 1995 stated that schools in the United Kingdom did a disservice to Britain’s students by teaching French instead of Spanish, when growing business opportunities in Latin America called for training in the latter language. According to Needham, “French is a difficult language and it’s not a language of world business. Spanish is easier and it’s a gateway into French anyway.”1 A BBC study published three years later showed French language classes with a 5 percent lead over Spanish for adult education students, a decrease from the 18 percent lead a year earlier. The reason given for this was the jump in British tourism to Spain.2 Twenty-five years ago Spanish overtook French as the most popular second language taught in U.S. schools; university enrollment in French courses dropped about 38 percent between 1968 and 1990, while Spanish rose 46 percent. By 1990, according to the Modern Language Association, 534,000 U.S. college students were studying Spanish, twice the number of those studying French. Gladys Lipton, president of the American Association of Teachers of French, reported a 25 percent decline in French studies at the U.S. university level between 1993 and 1998.3
Symbolically, de Gaulle’s death in 1970 marked the closing of an era of French iconicity in America. The last wave appears to have corresponded to the gastronomy peak in the 1970s. Since then, study of the French language in the United States has declined. An Alta Vista search on the Internet in 1998 showed English with about 77 percent of the listings by language. Japanese was about 7 percent. German, followed by French and Spanish, were all pegged at between 2 and 3 percent. Adding the French minitel to these figures, it might not be unreasonable to estimate the French proportion at roughly 5 or 6 percent—in other words, similar in proportion to the Japanese.88

1. Paul Marston, “Minister Urges Schools to Teach Spanish Not French,” Electronic Telegraph, 18 May 1995, Home News, http://www.telegraph.co.uk.

2. David Millward, “Spanish to Overtake French in Classroom,” Electronic Telegraph, 21 Sept. 1998.

3. James Brooke, “North Dakota, with German Roots, Adopts Spanish as Second Language,” New York Times, 2 Mar. 1996, 6. See also Merri Rosenberg, “Teachers Try to Renew Interest in French,” New York Times, “Westchester,” 25 Oct. 1998, sec. 14, 14.


88. Internet search on “language/nationality” retrieved on 2 Oct. 1998 using the Alta Vista search engine.