Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sacred French

Here you have a letter to the editor of the Financial Times regarding a recent article about the way France "defends" the French language:

Standard French is a state religion

Published: September 13 2008 03:00

Sir, Your editorial “Les mots justes” (September 6) was funny. Indeed, standard French is a state religion in France, and the French centralists will not tolerate any other religion. Not only does France try to keep English at bay, but it also did and still does its best to eradicate what the French authorities call “regional languages” within its borders, whose recognition in the constitution was recently turned down by parliament. These are Flemish dialects in Flanders, German dialects in Lorraine and Alsace, Celtic dialects in Brittany, Italian dialects in Corsica, Basque in the “French” Basque Country and Catalan in “French” Catalonia, in addition to the Romance Occitan dialects of southern France. Not to mention Polynesian in Tahiti and the other French confetti in the Pacific Ocean, as well as Kanak in New Caledonia.

Article 2 of the French constitution states that “la langue de la République est le Français” . France is the last country in the European Union which stubbornly refuses to ratify the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages which recognises citizens’ right to use in the “public sphere” their “regional” idiom, that is to say the language from the neighbouring state or entity they used to be part of before undergoing a process known as réunion in French, Anschluss in German ... and English. That is less funny. Spain ratified it after Franco’s death.

Claude Kretz,
Oberwil, Switzerland

And this is why insist that the only way Basque culture can ever survive is if the Basque Country to be free and sovereign.

Kudos to Mr. Krets for setting the record straight.

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