In other words: an exploration of French Newfoundland language identity in Cape St. George

Noel, Erin (2007) In other words: an exploration of French Newfoundland language identity in Cape St. George. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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In the 20th century, a process of language shift took place among French Newfoundlanders living in Cape St. George, Newfoundland. This involved a consolidation of English and French being inscribed with diglossic values — with English as the high variety and French the low. A French revitalization movement was formed at the Cape in the early 1970s with the goal of reversing the effects of language shift. It took the form of resistance of reversal, adopting the oppositional logic of diglossia but inverting the relative power of each language. Language activists with the French movement have been guided by the oppositional one language/ one people ideology, an ideology which equates group identity with a single language and tends to favour linguistic purism. The influence of this language ideology is most clear in the acquisition and evolution of French education at the Cape, a process which, ironically, introduced a second language hierarchy into the community. -- Language shift and language revitalization have transformed Cape St. George into a linguistically heterogeneous speech community, where varieties of English and French are spoken with varying degrees of competence and willingness by residents there. I argue that unmarked codeswitching between French and English, regardless of a person's French language ability is the quintessential language pattern of French Newfoundlanders. -- Criticisms of the French movement are generally criticisms of the exclusionary practices and policies engendered by the oppositional one language / one people ideology. People object to these polices and practices because they do not match their experience of their community or their more plurilingual definition of French Newfoundland identity. This popular rejection of the French movement may be considered a form of radical resistance.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 11144
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 190-204).
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Anthropology
Date: 2007
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Code switching (Linguistics)--Newfoundland and Labrador--Cape St. George; Diglossia (Linguistics)--Newfoundland and Labrador--Cape St. George; French-Canadians--Newfoundland and Labrador--Cape St. George--Ethnic identity; French-Canadians--Newfoundland

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