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Language policy in France


France has one official language, the French language. The French government does not regulate the choice of language in publications by individuals, but the use of French is required by law in commercial and workplace communications. In addition to mandating the use of French in the territory of the Republic, the French government tries to promote French in the European Union and globally through institutions such as La Francophonie. The perceived threat from anglicisation has prompted efforts to safeguard the position of the French language in France.

Besides French, there exist many other vernacular minority languages of France, both in European France, in Overseas France, and in French overseas territories. These languages are recognized by article 75-1 of the French constitution. In France proper, Corsican, Breton, Gallo, Basque, Franco-Provençal, Occitan, and Catalan have an official status in the regions where they are spoken. The 1999 report written for the French government by Bernard Cerquiglini identified 75 languages (including just eight in continental France proper) that would qualify for recognition were the government to ratify the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (currently only signed but not ratified).



  • GEMIE, S. (2002), The politics of language : debates and identities in contemporary Brittany, French Cultural Studies n°13, p. 145-164.
  • HAQUE, Shahzaman (2010b), "Enjeux des politiques linguistiques: pratiques et comportements langagiers mutilingues dans un pays monolingue". In: M.Iliescu, H. Siller-Runggaldier, P. Danler (éds.) Actes du XXVe Congrès International de Linguistique et de Philologie Romanes, Innsbruck 2007, Tome I. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. 163-172. Available at http://www.reference-global.com/doi/abs/10.1515/9783110231922.1-163
  • HAQUE, Shahzaman (2010a)Place des langues natives et d'accueil chez trois familles migrantes indiennes en Europe. In Andrea Rocci, Alexandre Duchêne, Aleksandra Gnach & Daniel Stotz (Eds.) Bulletin Suisse de Linguistique Appliquée, printemps 2010: Sociétés en mutations: les défis méthodologiques de la linguistique appliquée. Numéro Spécial, 2010/1, 225-236.
  • HAQUE, Shahzaman (2008), "Différences de politiques linguisitiques entre nation et famille: Etude de cas de trois familles indiennes migrantes dans trois pays d'Europe". In: Suvremena Lingvistika Vol. 34 (65), 57-72. Available at http://hrcak.srce.hr/index.php?show=clanak&id_clanak_jezik=61116&lang=en
  • KYMLICKA (Will), Les droits des minorités et le multiculturalisme: l’évolution du débat anglo-américain , in KYMLICKA (Will) et MESURE (Sylvie) dir., Comprendre les identités culturelles, Paris, PUF, Revue de Philosophie et de sciences sociales n°1, 2000, p. 141-171.
  • SZULMAJSTER-CELNIKER (Anne), La politique de la langue en France, La Linguistique, vol 32, n°2, 1996, p. 35-63.
  • WRIGHT (Sue), 2000, Jacobins, Regionalists and the Council of Europe’s Charter for Regional and Minority Languages, Journal of Multilingual and Multicural Development, vol. 21, n°5, p. 414-424.
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