10/13/2008

"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.

19 comments:

kecke said...
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kecke said...

Dans quelques décennies l'Espagnol dévancera l'anglais aux États Unis, puisque la majorité des Américains ne parlera plus l'Anglais. L'Anglais, c'est justement Pidgin French.

El País, Miércoles, 15/10/2008
http://www.elpais.com/articulo/cultura/espanol/gana/hablantes/ahora/busca/prestigio/elpepicul/20081014elpepicul_12/Tes
El idioma español avanza imparable en EEUU, pero no la cultura española
El español avanza de forma imparable en Estados Unidos, que en el año 2050 contará con una población hispanohablante superior a los 132 millones, pero esa fuerte expansión de la lengua que reflejan las estadísticas no va acompañada de la cultura en español, "que brilla por su ausencia".

Unfrench said...

Tons of studies have shown that Spanish speaking immigrants to the US assimilate rapidly into US culture and switch to English at ever greater speed. The greatest casualty of the rise of Spanish in the US is the teaching of French as the sons and daughters of Spanish speaking immigrants take up Spanish rather than French as a second language in order to not completely lose the language of their ancestors.

Here are a few links for you:

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,959591-7,00.html

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1141/is_n15_v32/ai_18008570
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/learning-the-language/2007/12/are_latinos_learning_english_q.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/30/us/30immig.html?_r=2&ref=us&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2007/04/post_20.html

kecke said...

Whether French, Spanish or Portuguese the World of Romance Languages will flourish. Latin is the language that formed new idioms like French, Spanish or Portuguese. And more than 40 % of the English lexis has a French or Latin origin. English is nothing more than pidgin French. If there is a decline of classic French it will survive in pidgin French.

And the progress of Spanish in US will not be detained. The more the political and economical power of Latin American grows, the more the hispanic immigrants in the US will take the pride to say: Soy Latino.
And worldwide decline of English is on the way.

Unfrench said...

The US is full of people surnamed Ramírez, González or López who cannot speak a word of Spanish. Fact. As many as 100 million Hispanics may sneak into America in the next 50 years, but they will learn English and most of their descendants will forget their Spanish fluency. I am not saying it's good, but most people are too lazy to try to be bilingual unless they really need it. Hispanics need English to get places in the US, not Spanish. Plus, they love English and US culture because it is so exciting. Sorry, Spanish is far more vibrant than French, but it is no competition to English.

From the story you linked to:
""Por desgracia, el lugar cultural del español no tiene nada que ver con la estadística".
Well, that's because Spanish doesn't survive one or two generations in the US, except in areas of New Mexico or Arizona that are close to the border and were never English speaking anyway.

There are plenty of Spanish speakers in the US. They are mostly first-generation immigrants. Their kids speak perfect English, live in English and use Spanish only to talk to their parents.

Case closed.

Unfrench said...

"The more the political and economical power of Latin American grows"
Most of so called US Hispanics do not speak a word of Spanish.

"English is nothing more than pidgin French."
No, English originates from an Anglo-Saxon creole strongly influenced by Old Norse, Old Norman and Middle French. You are not much of a linguist, are you?

"If there is a decline of classic French it will survive in pidgin French."
English has borrowed pretty much every French word that is of real use. But this is precisely what makes English a superior lingua franca: it borrows the words it needs wherever they come from and whenever it needs them. It can replace French advantageously because it has all the concepts that exist in French, plus many more that are sorely absent from French dictionaries.

"And worldwide decline of English is on the way."
I wouldn't be so sure seeing as you can't stop yourself from posting in English, Senor Angloparlante.

kecke said...

QUEBEC, 16 octobre (Xinhua) -- Environ 200 millions de personnes parlent français dans le monde, selon un rapport publié le 20 mars 2007 par l'Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).

La Francophonie compte 128 millions de francophones "réels" capables de parler couramment le français, et 72 millions de " partiels", précise ce rapport.

En nombre de locuteurs, le français se situe au 9e rang, derrière le chinois, l'anglais, l'indi, l'espagnol, le russe, l'arabe, le bengali et le portugais.

Le français a le statut de langue officielle, seul ou avec d'autres langues, dans 32 états et gouvernements membres de l'OIF qui rassemble 53 Etats ou gouvernements membres, deux associés et 13 observateurs.

Le français fait partie des six langues officielles de l'Organisation des Nations Unies (avec l'anglais, le chinois, l'espagnol, le russe et l'arabe) et de l'Union africaine.

Le français est, avec l'anglais, l'une des deux seules langues parlées sur les cinq continents.

Environ 83 millions de personnes apprennent le français. C'est la langue la plus enseignée après l'anglais.

Les dix pays où l'on trouve le plus de francophones sont la France (63 millions), la Ré publique démocratique du Congo (24,3), l'Algérie(16, non membre de l'OIF), la C?te d'Ivoire (12,7),le Canada (11,5), le Maroc (10,1), le Cameroun (7,3), la Tunisie (6,3), la Belgique (6,3) et la Roumanie (6).

Le continent africain affiche le nombre le plus important de francophones, avec un taux de pr ès de 10% de sa population globale.

Dans l'Union européenne, le français, en tant que langue maternelle, est en 2e position pour le nombre de locuteurs (16%), après l'allemand (23,3%).

Le français est la 3e langue du Web avec 5% de pages Internet, après l'anglais (45%) et l'allemand (7%).

(http://www.french.xinhuanet.com/french/2008-10/16/content_741167.htm)

Unfrench said...

These numbers are grossly inflated. Take the Répulique Démocratique du Congo: its current population is estimated at 62,600,000. Only a small minority speaks French to a degree of fluency. The figure of 24,3 millions of French speakers in Congo is pure hogwash. So are most other numbers in your little copy-and-paste job. La Francophonie is all about funding and spreading cheap propaganda. This text of yours is just another instance of such propagandizing.

kecke said...
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kecke said...

But you get the same problem with the number of English speakers in the so-called English-speaking world. How many people use to speak English in Uganda, in Tanzania or even in India? The beggar on the street, the poor people in their cabins or shanties haven't got any education to use English. It remains the idiom of economic élites. Besides I knew many Englishmen who are not able to understand the English spoken in Uganda. Whether English or French these language are still the idioms of a tiny, but mighty élite. Therefore the numbers of French speaking people are right if you consider that 800 million people are living in the member states of the 'Organisation de la Francophonie', while 200 million are able to speak French which remains still a minority. In Europe in fact French has more mother tongue speakers (62 million) than English. And German with more than 90 million is the most spoken idiom.--

I don't like English, I write or read it like a computer language. For me it is a language of communication, but not of mutual understanding and culture. It's just pidgin French, nothing more.

Unfrench said...

Exactly. You must use English, like it or not. You cannot do without it. This is how English wins and French loses. ecause French is superfluous and English necessary.

Now a little treat for you. A text in French:

LE FRANÇAIS DANS LE MONDE: LE NOMBRE de FRANCOPHONES


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.”

kecke said...

But what are you going to prove with your comments. That the whole mankind has to become monolingual by exchanging its ideas, its hopes and sorrows in English. This would destroy the fabulous wealth of our cultural heritage. And I don't reduce my standpoint to the defence of French. Every cultural and linguistic community in the world is concerned and shall develop its capacities. Plurilinguism and Multiculturalism belong to the necessities of a globalized world. And this concerns English which, as you say, "it borrows the words it needs wherever they come from and whenever it needs them." If you had no other cultural impacts any language and culture would be destroyed or harmed. We need the plenty of culture. And not a uniformed world where cultural differences would not have a place. Babel was built and the languages of the world were confused. Quel bonheur!
Your homepage should have a new name: The Worlwide decline of World Cultures in the era of globalization to the sake of economy and economic interests. A chauvinistic approach is completely misleading.

kecke said...

And besides you data are quite misleading. You quote source from the sixties, seventies. the nineties. And you mix them with two other other categories: The mother tongue speakers and those who use French as a second language in the administration, school are other official institutions. If you consider the mother tongue speakers, also French AND English in Africa are concerned because they are mostly not the native tongues of African peoples. So be sincere and not fanatic. Nor Rwandans nor Ugandans will ever declare English their mother-tongue.

Unfrench said...

"But what are you going to prove with your comments."
I am not trying to prove anything. In linguistics there is no such thing as positive proof. What I do is DOCUMENT the decline of French.

"That the whole mankind has to become monolingual by exchanging its ideas, its hopes and sorrows in English."
I never wrote any such thing.

"This would destroy the fabulous wealth of our cultural heritage."
Plenty of small languages are dying right now all around the world, including in countries in which the official language is French, but this particular loss of cultural heritage has never been of concern to the French or the Francophonie organization. Indeed, French cultural expansionists have been trying to kill their regional languages for two centuries in France itself. This is why the French have absolutely no credibility in this issue and don't deserve support in this.

"And besides you data are quite misleading"
And your figure of 200 millions has no basis in reality since it is impossible to conduct reliable censuses in Africa.
Even French officials know that the mythical 200 million figure is meaningless: "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 200 million French speakers on earth, the idea of a French-speaking world is becoming obsolete.'"
More here

kecke said...

For sure we have a crisis of French, but we here in Germany also feel a crisis of German, and if we look at small linguistic communities they are almost more aware of a deep crisis of their own mother tongue. I don't agree that there particularly is a crisis of French or a decline of French. It is the shock all cultural communities are suffering under a globalisation which essentially is dominated by the English language.
Every language is besieged by English words. I invite you to come to Berlin and you will get aware of the use of English in advertising and trade marks. Are we still in Germany or in New York? Foreign students asked me how to learn German when English is about to penetrate our daily life.

The Francophone community is not as in danger as smaller language families, as the slovaks or the Czechs with five or ten million mother-tongue speakers. But perhaps the Francophone community has a more sensible approach to this linguistic crisis every linguistic community suffers. It probably has a self-awareness of a cultural crisis that lingers on the whole world. Therefore your homepage and many other media are indeed more aware of a 'decline' of French than of any other linguistic community, as f. i. the Rhaeto-Romanic language in Switzerland which has almost been supplanted by German.
In cultural imperialism France has indeed no monopoly. Every country has a skeleton in the closet. Where is the Galic language in Wales? How many Irish people are still able to speak their former mother-tongue? What remains is only folklore exhibited on Sundays. By forming a nation state in the 19th century the minority language used to be suppressed. It's nearly an historical law you can establish in every country. And the United States cannot pretend to treat their immigrants in a better way. They were all anglicized. And only a small minority of my German compatriots in the US is still able to command the language of their ancestors. Think of the famous Jewish newspaper 'Aufbau' written in German. After being edited since seventy years its publication was stopped.

Concerning my standpoint:
I don't defend France's cultural policy which is indeed highly nationalistic. In the US you will find a large number of chairs in Francophone literatures while France dwells on French literature in a very narrow sense. In Leipzig (Germany) the 'Institut Francais' had to close down for financial reasons. Numbers of African and French speaking students asked for a 'Maison de la Francophonie'. But the French representatives insisted on a 'Maison de la France', because they didn't want to invest in the Francophonie.
What I do not defend is official policy of France. Francophonie is a not to be identified with France. Even Mr. Kagame, the anglophile and anglophone president of Rwanda, uses to distinguish between Francophonie and France. Therefore Rwanda will not quit the OIF. Her prime minister is on the point to visit Québec City where the Francophone Summit will beginn tomorrow.

Unfrench said...

"In cultural imperialism France has indeed no monopoly. Every country has a skeleton in the closet. Where is the Galic language in Wales? How many Irish people are still able to speak their former mother-tongue? What remains is only folklore exhibited on Sundays. By forming a nation state in the 19th century the minority language used to be suppressed"


It is true that in the 19th century, minority languages used to be suppressed, but it is no longer the case in Ireland or in Wales, yet it still is very much the case in Brittany. Other countries have shed 19th century mindset, France hasn't, it still refuses to grant real recognition to Brezhoneg, Euskadi, Corsican, Alsatian and other regional languages and misuses its power to destroy them yet it demands the use of its language as international lingua franca be treated as precious heritage to be protected against a supposedly imperialist English language. Welsh and Gaelic are now much more alive than Bretonic. Many young people in Ireland and Wales speak fluent Welsh and Gaelic on an everyday basis. Brezhoneg on the other hand, has seen a precipitous decline in the last few decades because it has been denied funding, media presence and pretty much eveything by the French State, while said French State is bleeding Brittany fiscally. French double-talk on the issue of language protection is absolutely outrageous. More on this:
"La situation des langues minoritaires dans d’autres états qui pratiquent une politique linguistique différente peut donner un point de comparaison :
• Politique proche de celle de la France - pas de statut officiel des langues minoritaires : Algérie, Pologne, Grèce;
• Politique différente de celle de la France : Royaume Uni, Canada, Suisse, Belgique, Espagne;
• Le cas de la Turquie mérite une mention spéciale car la conception de l’état-nation a été repris de la France et a inspiré une politique linguistique d’assimilation tout à fait similaire à celle de la France du XXème siècle.
Récemment, la France a durci sa législation contre les langues régionales."
Nazim SAMADOV
TENDANCES DE LA NEOLOGIE DANS LA RADIO ANALYSE A TRAVERS LA RADIO FRANCE INTERNATIONAL
Sous la direction de
M. le Professeur Jean-Christophe PELLAT et
M. le Professeur Kamal DADACHOV
Février 2007

"And the United States cannot pretend to treat their immigrants in a better way. They were all anglicized."
Wrong again. The United States has greatly liberalized its language policies toward minorities. French is strongly encouraged and funded in Louisiana and many states have Spanish immersion programs. If the English language is so successful in the United States, it no longer is a result of coercive policies by the State or federal administrations.

"Numbers of African and French speaking students asked for a 'Maison de la Francophonie'. But the French representatives insisted on a 'Maison de la France', because they didn't want to invest in the Francophonie."
Well, that's your French double-talk again. African speakers of French have been regarded as equals by the French just as the "pré carré" has never been decolonized.

"Even Mr. Kagame, the anglophile and anglophone president of Rwanda, uses to distinguish between Francophonie and France."
I am really laughing my ass off. Don't you read the news? Kagame did want to make a distinction, but he came to the conclusion that he had to ditch French if Rwanda was really going to free itself from France:
"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.
http://news.scotsman.com/world/Rwanda-bids-adieu-to-.4591683.jp

"It is the shock all cultural communities are suffering under a globalisation which essentially is dominated by the English language.
Every language is besieged by English words."
"Suffering", "dominated", "besieged": das ist die typische Sprache der Paranoia. Ich lache mich tot, Alter. Fremdwörter sind keine Bedrohung, sondern eine Bereicherung. Gib aber nicht auf und kämpf weiter gegen Windmühlen!

kecke said...
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kecke said...

Although I love Don Quijote, because he tried to keep poetry in a world becoming more prosaic, you should not misunderstand my approach. I am not a linguistic purist aiming to prevent foreign words from penetrating into a language system. But that's not the conflict. Within the process of globalization peoples and cultures unfortunately are not equal partners for one another. You have got strong economic interests enforcing their law against linguistic and cultural communities which are not as well equipped with solid infrastructures. Today the immigration of foreign words in a language system is somewhat unilateral. As a hypercentral language English dominates a system of global references in which concepts, standards and universal formulas are defined. Therefore English is indeed in a privileged situation other languages do not share. Changing the power dynamic between the rich and the poor countries in order to get a more balanced and equated economic world system also includes a real partnership between cultural and linguistic systems. Then we wouldn't have languages seperated from other systems and fenced in purity codes. But the system of global references would be more open to the diversity of languages.
And in this context we should consider the situation of the French language which indeed has a tradition of linguistic purity that comes from a classic norm formed by the absolutist monarchy in the XVII. century (Malesherbes). In this perspective every change is considered as decline or perversion. And in this point you do a bad job by quoting people like Hervé Borges who typically dwells on this purity canon. It is obvious that from this point of view you will ever and ever get a confirmation of a decline of French. You don't like French. It's your right to do so. But if you combat cultural pessimism which indeed is a reactionary weltanschauung, you should simply show that the decline of classic French norm generates new forms of French all over the world, especially in that postcolonial periphery where the neocolonial empire is attacked by a large amount of Francophone writers who do not stick to the concepts of the French Academy any longer. Think about Assia Djebar or Ahmadou Kourouma.
I am working on the impact of postcolonialism in the francophone world. The French academic élite always tried to distinguish between a venerable French literature and Francophone literatures which are not taught there within the departments of French literature yet. The classic norm of French has to be challenged in order to open this language for other idioms (but not only for English).

If you want I'll send you some articles I wrote or I am still writing. Some of them were published, others are to be finished.

Concerning Rwanda I would not be so biased by supporting President Kagame in Rwanda. For the attacks of his army in the Democratic Republic of the Congo he is highly disputed. There are many Rwandans who live in exile although they do not belong to the former genocide regime. We should be very careful. Perhaps nor France nor Mr. Kagame and his former guerrilla army are free from guilt. Perhaps they are both responsible for the outbreak of a civil war which led to one of the most horrific genocide after the holocaust. The truth will get through, but unfortunately it will last some time.

Unfrench said...

"peoples and cultures unfortunately are not equal partners for one another"
You've got your concepts muddled. Cultures are no partners, and equality is an abstract concept that is never achieved in reality.

"You have got strong economic interests enforcing their law against linguistic and cultural communities which are not as well equipped with solid infrastructures."
Yet this doesn't apply to English, which has no legal status in either France or Germany. Those Germans who choose to use English words when speaking German do so out of their own free will. It is their own decision to use English or to relish Anglo-American culture, neither the United States nor the UK forces them to do so. Sorry, nothing to do with law being enforced or cultural imperialism.

"As a hypercentral language English dominates a system of global references in which concepts, standards and universal formulas are defined."
English is the least central language of all, you're confusing with French. The English language is ruled by no academy and comes in two main varieties, British and American English. It is defined by its global users and therefore it has no center. And once again, you confuse concepts: languages dominate nothing. People either dominate or don't dominate, but languages are used, that's all. And what's wrong anyway with "a system of global references in which concepts, standards and universal formulas are defined"? Bitte!

"Changing the power dynamic between the rich and the poor countries in order to get a more balanced and equated economic world system also includes a real partnership between cultural and linguistic systems."
No, it doesn't. It doesn't work like that. If the Africans are going to develop and get rich, they'll be better off learning English, the language of global commerce, than relying solely on Hausa, Peul, Kinyarwanda or French.

"Then we wouldn't have languages seperated from other systems and fenced in purity codes"
Languages are not separated from each other, and they are "fenced in purity codes" only in your paranoid imagination.

"And in this context we should consider the situation of the French language which indeed has a tradition of linguistic purity that comes from a classic norm formed by the absolutist monarchy in the XVII. century (Malesherbes). In this perspective every change is considered as decline or perversion."
Which is why French is declining and English thriving.

"And in this point you do a bad job by quoting people like Hervé Borges who typically dwells on this purity canon."
I never quoted anybody by the name of "Hervé Borges".

"You don't like French."
Never said that. What I don't like is culture nationalism.

"But if you combat cultural pessimism which indeed is a reactionary weltanschauung, you should simply show that the decline of classic French norm generates new forms of French all over the world,"
All over the world, you mean also in places like Kazakhstan, China, Australia, Chile, Germany or California? You're big on exaggerations, aren't you? Stop reading Francophonie propaganda. French is not spoken all over the world.

"especially in that postcolonial periphery where the neocolonial empire is attacked by a large amount of Francophone writers who do not stick to the concepts of the French Academy any longer. Think about Assia Djebar or Ahmadou Kourouma."
But that's old stuff. One of those two is dead and both were born and raised during the colonial era. They basically are old geezers. Totally irrelevant to the topic of current French-language decline.
Ahmadou Kourouma, (November 24, 1927 – December 11, 2003)
Assia Djebar (born June 30, 1936)
French remains a foreign language in Western Africa, a foreign lingua franca that is being outcompeted by English and local lingua francas such as Urban Wolof, Lingala and Arabic.

"I am working on the impact of postcolonialism in the francophone world."
French West African colonies have never been freed by France. They are still colonies, and therefore there is no such phenomenon to observe as the impact of postcolonialism in those countries.

"The French academic élite always tried to distinguish between a venerable French literature and Francophone literatures which are not taught there within the departments of French literature yet. The classic norm of French has to be challenged in order to open this language for other idioms (but not only for English)."
Too late. French is in decline, and Africans will never make it their mother tongue. So what French is left with is a small native base in Europe and Quebec, and a status as a foreign language that is diminishing everywhere.

"Perhaps nor France nor Mr. Kagame and his former guerrilla army are free from guilt."
Kagame is a popular leader, and his country is booming. The people of Rwanda know what is good for them, and that is neither France nor the French language.

"The truth will get through, but unfortunately it will last some time."
In your case, I am inclined to agree.