Deconstructing the idea of language: The effects of the patoisation of Occitan in France

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    Patois is a term used to refer to some varieties of language of contested legitimacy. Close to dialect, it implies a nuance based on the diminished function and supposedly unpolished unpolished form of the language used. The application of the term patois to French linguistic communities is not accidental. It is a socio-historical process that can be analysed in parallel with the implementation of language policies made to promote French as the sole language of a nation-state. This chapter demonstrates that the application of this linguistic denomination is neither innocent nor objective. Indeed, the semantic evolution of the term itself indicates an increasingly disparaging connotation which has led to a submissive effect on the community of speakers of Occitan. Furthermore, a devaluing impact can be identified in the discourse of speakers when referring to their own language. Thus, this chapter will establish the link between the ideological notion of linguistic superiority of the national language and the micro-levelled declaration of speakers’ attitudes, and will therefore highlight the connection between macro language policies and speakers’ socio-psychological self-evaluation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationContested Languages
    Subtitle of host publicationThe hidden multilingualism of Europe
    EditorsMarco Tamburelli, Mauro Tosco
    Place of PublicationAmsterdam
    PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishers
    Number of pages20
    ISBN (Electronic)9789027260383
    ISBN (Print)9789027208040
    Publication statusPublished - Jan-2021

    Publication series

    NameStudies in World Language Problems
    PublisherJohn Benjamins

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