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Francophone Minority Identities and Language Rights in Canada


Ponting, Mike


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Abstract While phrases such as ‘Capitaine Crounche’ and ‘beurre d’arachide’ are familiar to, and easily taken for granted by, most English Canadians, who tend to encounter linguistic duality in their daily lives in a number of ways, the politics underlying such seemingly harmless words are significant. Indeed, no other issue has played as central a role in Canadian social and political development as has language, with French-English linguistic tensions and considerations affecting numerous aspects of Canadian life, including foreign policy, the awarding of government contracts and indeed, the labelling of food packaging. While much public and scholarly attention has been paid to the language issue and the francophone population of Québec, less has been paid to language and francophones outside of the main concentration of Canada’s French speakers. While geographically dispersed, and vastly outnumbered, Canada’s francophone minority communities and their identities are nevertheless an important part of the Canadian social fabric, as is evidenced by the amount of government attention these French Canadians1 receive. Two key developments in the collective identity of francophone minoritiesoccurred in 1969 and 1982, when the Official Languages Act (OLA), and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms were (respectively) promulgated, the latter including constitutionally entrenched language rights for official language minorities. In this essay, we will examine the vitality of francophone minority communities, and how language rights have impacted them and contributed to the maintenance of their identity. Specifically, we will argue that minority francophone communities are still strong and that language rights have reinforced these communities and their identities, and have made an important contribution to their survival and long-term vitality. It is hoped that gaining a more complete understanding of the impact of language rights on these groups will not only provide a fuller understanding of French Canadian identity, but also of identity in Canadian society in general. (author's abstract)
Thesaurusschlagwörter Canada; minority; minority policy; minority rights; language group; ethnic group; English language; French language; collective identity; cultural identity; identity; multilingualism
Klassifikation Kultursoziologie, Kunstsoziologie, Literatursoziologie; Ethnologie, Kulturanthropologie, Ethnosoziologie; Kommunikationssoziologie, Sprachsoziologie, Soziolinguistik
Sprache Dokument Englisch
Publikationsjahr 2006
Seitenangabe S. 1-32
Zeitschriftentitel Federal Governance, 3 (2006) 1
ISSN 1923-6158
Status Veröffentlichungsversion; begutachtet (peer reviewed)
Lizenz Digital Peer Publishing Licence - Basismodul