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Title:French to Frenchness: Language shift and lieux de memoire in the American midwest
Author(s):Deneire, Marc
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Kachru, Braj B.
Department / Program:French
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Language, Linguistics
Abstract:The present study attempts to answer the following two questions: (1) What happened to the language of the former New France in the Midwest; and (2) under what form did it survive, if at all.
In the first part of the study, four hegemonic processes are identified as important mechanisms in the shift from French to English in the Midwest. The main agents of these mechanisms are: the political and judicial institutions, education, the Catholic Church, and, more recently, the media. A historical survey of the ideological atmosphere from the eighteenth century to the present shows how the Anglo-Saxon English-speaking majority has always managed to shape consent among minority language groups in such a way that it gradually absorbed most of them. It is only by reaching a high degree of institutional completeness, under the leadership of the Catholic Church, that the French-speaking communities succeeded in resisting assimilation until World War II. In recent decades, the growing importance of the media and the decreasing influence of the Canadian Catholic Church have been the major factors in the assimilation of the French language in the Midwest.
The second part of the study focuses on different lieux de memoire, that is, on different groups (genealogical and historical societies, Alliances Francaises, etc.) that keep the French language and culture alive today. The ethnic nature of these groups is discussed and their relative ethnolinguistic vitality assessed. This part of the study is based on 185 responses to a questionnaire that was distributed among the members of these groups.
Issue Date:1994
Rights Information:Copyright 1994 Deneire, Marc Gerard
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9512344
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9512344

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