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Actualités 2014

Yes to the ratification of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages

Last Updated: 30 Jul 2014

Communiqué de Ensemble ! January 26, 2014

The diversity of languages ​​and cultures is an asset. Yet, for too long the development of the common language, French was built on the expulsion and the repression of regional languages. Yet the diversity of those languages ​​and cultures is a common heritage, often shared beyond the borders in several regions of France. We want a world where nations slide together, that's why we refuse a standardized world. The right to learn the national language as the right to learn other languages ​​of France, in regions stemming from immigration is an element of democratic balance.  Therefore, the involvement of a legislative process for the ratification of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages by France ​​is positive.

From now on it is possible to make the languages of France live and revive through the development of an academic bilingualism and through extracurricular activities in regional languages – through an increased presence of the languages ​​of the regions in public broadcasting – through the help in restoring linguistic diversity- and in many other fields (signage, bilingual administrative publications).

Fight for emancipation, for equal rights can be expressed in all languages. Therefore it is high time that France committed itself to its linguistic diversity.

22 January 2014.

Regional languages, why ratify the European Charter?

Article by Isabelle Sargeni-Chetaudpublié on the national website of Ensemble !

Because it is an old engagement (1999) which successive governments, whether left or right did not carry out while being forced to take into account the situations in the concerned regions.

Because facing a globalized economy, plurilingualism and linguistic diversity remains a future challenge for French and for the so-called regional languages.

Because today the danger is not the regional or minority languages for a "one and indivisible Republic" increasingly subservient to the supra-national economic interests, but structural social inequalities.

The willingness of ratification (which requires a constitutional amendment and therefore will take more time) is above all a symbol facing the symbolic Article 2 of the constitution imposed by the right wing politicians "the language of the Republic is French».

We know that there are very strong pressures for a systematic resort to a standardized "all-English", an only utilitarian concept of a language limited to being a communication tool. But thinking about the maintenance and development of languages only ​​in the light of their economic "utility" or their potential of speakers is extremely simplistic. Well beyond the economic aspect, it is a challenge even for the development of a human mind in all its complexity as well as for the universal culture.

A year ago, the vote by the European Parliament of the Report on the European endangered languages ​​and linguistic diversity within the European Union was an important event.

In France, the so-called "regional" languages ​​are part of the constitutive diversity of national identity. Many of them have links, affiliations with the languages ​​of our geographically close neighbors and represent a way to access to their culture more easily. Some are the commonly used languages ​​in neighboring countries.

Of course, behind the term "regional languages» there are very different realities from the point of view of the concerned territories (in France or in the TOM and DOM) as well as their place in the social and cultural life, or their legitimacy in neighboring countries (Basque, Catalan ...). Their evolutions in the social and economic life have been differentiated (media, families, cross-border dynamics…); differences which can be found in the place they have in the educational system.

In the public service there are already thousands of students (more than in the associative or private schools) who follow studies of or in Basque, Breton, Catalan, Occitan, Alsatian, Corsican ... in schools and secondary schools. Starting from the introduction of teaching in the language to the optionality or bilingualism in hourly parity, the demand, the supply, the situations are very different. Education in regional languages ​​(bilingualism in schools in hourly parity, at least two subjects taught in the regional language in junior high school...), still underdeveloped due to a lack of means in many regions is indispensable to allow the training of real speakers of the language, able to transmit it in their turn or  intervene in cultural life.

Some territorial communities have implemented a language policy within their competence, promoting a greater role for regional languages ​​in the public sphere (media, signaletics, adult education, aid to living creation ...) and financing educational tools and cultural projects. This requires an active support to cultural life (publishing, shows), to associations. It is a vast field and it needs to be further developed.

Translation: Ana Megrelishvili