Sociolinguistic Studies, Estudios de Sociolingüística 1.1 2000

Langues et développement: agir sur les représentations?

Louis-Jean Calvet
Issued Date: 5 Mar 2007

Abstract


It is very well-known the importance that gregarious or vernacular languages have in the fight for development, because they are essential for the transmission of the necessary knowledge and techniques for this process. This fact is especially evident in Africa, where ”national” languages (already known by children before they arrive to school) are more effective than the ”official” language (French, English, Portuguese). In the language policy field, when suggested solutions in vitro have the same direction as speakers´ practices in vivo, this operation is usually a success. Problems arise when speakers do not agree with politicians´ resolutions; in this case, the result is usually a failure. In the framework of these general problems, it may be interesting to extend the labovian notion of linguistic insecurity, since language images or representations cause security or insecurity in several domains: form, status, image and identity function of languages. The interference of these parameters presents a typology of different situations. Since this insecurity is a social result, the notions of securization and insecurization can be added to this typology, in the following way: to raise the question whether it would be possible to act on the images and representations that speakers create about languages, and to fight against, for instance, the originating forces of linguistic insecurity, with the aim of carrying out in vivo the choices of language policy executed in vitro.

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DOI: 10.1558/sols.v1i1.183

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