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By Stefania Tufi, Robert J. Blackwood

This booklet explores the Linguistic Landscapes of ten French and Italian Mediterranean coastal towns. The authors tackle the nationwide languages, the local languages and dialects, migrant languages, and the English language, as they jointly mark the general public area.

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27) points to the latent fear that English would emerge as the working language of the European Union, given the high proportion of second-language English-speakers across the member states. In clear contrast to the Italian Constitution, the French Constitution following this change underscored the dominance of the French language, without acknowledging the linguistic diversity as a lived experience across the country. 2008 saw a minor modification to Article 75 of the Constitution, which acknowledged formally the existence of an undefined number of regional languages, which are recognized as part of France’s ‘heritage’.

Nevertheless, the spectre of l’Académie française has cast a considerable shadow over language ideologies, and the emergence of a language Sketching the Contexts: Italy and France 31 ideology which dictates that there is only one monolithic and undifferentiated variety of French to which all speakers should aspire has echoed down the centuries. The effects of this dogma are explored in the French Mediterranean cities investigated in this book, and we consider the ways in which this discourse permeates not only the ways in which languages are emplaced in French coastal towns, but also language beliefs (Spolsky, 2004) regarding multilingualism and the place of French in the LL.

Education has emerged as a coveted domain in language policy in France as early as 1530, when François I founded the Collège de Lecteurs Royaux which taught in French (Judge, 2007, p. 21). However, as with subsequent attempts to extend the education system across France, a lack of finance and – in the case of the launch of Sketching the Contexts: Italy and France 35 Napoléon’s lycée system and prestigious Grandes Écoles – ideological ambivalence to mass education (Adrey, 2009, p. 117) made progress in the teaching of French slow and largely unsuccessful until the end of the nineteenth century.

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