Handout 18: The
French-Speaking World (Francophony)
see Course guidelines).
Choose one French speaking country
Check topic on :"Discovering France" on
What is the
What countries are part
Institutional System of
French in different continents.
Institutional System of the Francophony in France:
coined in 1880 by French Onesime Reclus to describe the linguistic and
cultural community which France was building with its colonies.
However, this term is not entirely correct. French speaking areas
of Europe escape that definition.
areas were never French colonies!
OF FRANCOPHONY refers
to Peoples who share the French language, and so,
a similar culture and they have created an organization (OIT) to defend
their common interests
Yet there are
differences in accents, local cultures and adaptations of the French
In the United
Nations: 40 delegations over 138 use French.
millions French native speakers in the world,
millions people use French as natives or second language users
ORIGIN of the presence of the French language in the world is the following:
1-"Natural" geographic presence
of the French-speaking areas of Europe
Issue of DECOLONIZATION
French as a language developed from the
mingling of older languages (Celtic, Latin, Germanic/Frankish).French borders
were established in the 17th century under Louis XIV, and are the result of wars and treaties...
2- French adminitrative zones: Overseas
Departments and Territories (DOM-TOM).
These areas are overseas and are the legacy of
former colonies of France in parts of the world such as the Caribbean,
Canada, South America and the South Pacific.
DOM: 4 regions of France overseas:
Martinique/Guadeloupe/Guyana/Reunion (cf Hawai and the US)
TOM: commonwealth overseas territories within
economic and cultural ties with France- though largely independant (cf
Puerto Rico and the US)
Countries who were former colonies of France/Belgium, or were at
one point or other touched by French culture.
They use French
as mother tongue and official language or as co-official language, language
of administration. They chose French as their international language.
They use the French language for diplomatic
purposes, as a language of international exchange and
language of cultural expression e.g Vietnam (Film: Indochina*)
A wave of decolonization and independance
swept across the world from 1957 on through the 60's and 70's:
Marocco, Tunisia, Algeria...Senegal,
Mali, Cameroon, Benin, Togo,...
singer: Youssou N'DOUR)
Former Belgian colony: Democratic
Republic of Congo / Zaire
- Former French colony :
Republic of Congo-Brazzaville.
Ambiguity in the French-speaking world towards French. Sense of independence
Love-hate relationship towards France.
countries belong to the Francophony?
Chart of the Francophony, indicating their
wish to be part of the French-speaking world, including countries
as Romania, Egypt... (why? cultural preference : French
as language of diplomacy)
OIT (International Organization for the Francophony)and
its Agency, the
Intergovernmental Agency for the Francophony promote
French culture but also support the self-determination of the countries
with their own languages and cultures.
Find out in the article from LABEL
FRANCE no 44. :click on Cooperation & International relations
(in the margin) : select: "Interview with R. Delhaybe".
TV5- French World TV
TV5 was created in 1984. It is an international
network (on satellite or cable) that is divided into TV5 Europe and
TV5 Quebec-Canada. It groups together 5 European French-speaking channels
(TF1, France2, France3 for France, RTBF for Belgium and SSR for Switzerland) as well as the television
consortium of Quebec-Canada. It broadcasts 24 hours a day worldwide
(according to estimates its viewers represent 135 million households)
mission to develop regional programmes (news form all the different
French -speaking countries) to meet the diversified audience's interests.
The OIT is
headed by the Heads of States using French as their main language.
These countries send delegates and have a commission (ministere) that deals
with issues that affect the French-speaking world. European
issues, in Europe, African issues in Africa etc...
in the World: different continents
The French Department of Francophonie Affairs was
created in 1974 and put under the direct responsibility of the Secretary
General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
High Council for the French language: makes
recommendations and oversees the promotion of the French language and culture
Under the aegis of France and the President of the Republic
Its meetings are chaired by the French Prime Minister or the Minister for
Culture and the Minister Delegate for Cooperation and Francophonie.
see Alliance Française centers all over the
world.eg. Nashville, TN: http://www.afnashville.org
Directorate General for Development and International
This action is developed around the main fields of cooperation(development
and technical cooperation, cultural and Francophone cooperation, scientific,
academic and research cooperation, audiovisual and communication techniques)
a mission for non-governmental cooperation and a mission for multilateral
I. French culture in Europe:
Natural expansion of French...early conquests, wars
and the result of the whims of history.
Belgium (1830 independence; Wallonia,
Switzerland (1/4th speaks French),
Luxembourg (also speaks a dialect of German),
Monaco (2km x 3km tiny kingdom).
Note: Some regions consider themselves
"occupied by the French":
Independentist Corsica (French region
since 18th C: 1768),
Brittany (Celtic culture), and the Basque Country within France (ETA
Basque separatist movement)..
Check the site:http://www.europa.eu.int
French-speaking writers/philosophers: Belgian writers: Georges
Simenon, Amelie Nothomb, Marguerite Yourcenar (1st woman writer entering
the Academie fr.)
Belgian surrealist painter: Magritte
Belgian singers J Brel ; Andre Bialek, Maurane.
stars J.J Vandamme(B),
dancers: Frederic Flament, Rosas
Inventors: e.g Adolphe Sax (saxophone)
Films: e.g. Rosetta /
La Promesse (Bros. Dardenne); Man
bites Dog (B. Poelvorde)
II. French culture outside of Europe DOM-TOM
The French -Speaking i.e.regions of France overseas, outside
d'Outremer) are administratively part of France,
the Caribbean (French Guyana, Guadelupe, Martinique).
And Islands off the coast of East Africa (e.g
commonwealth relations and obligations but enjoy more independence. Strong
sentiment of separatism exists. e.g
South Pacific: New
Caledonia,Tahiti. In Canada:
Pierre and Miquelon
III. French culture in North America: Quebec, New England,
Acadia and Louisiana
Ame Cesaire, Edouard Glissant (Martinique);
Maryse Condé (Guadeloupe): Caribbean-African- French culture=
Sugar Cane Alley* (by
director Euzhan Palcy 1983, Martinique)
IV. French culture Arabic North Africa:Marocco,
Algeria, Tunisia (Le Maghreb, people referred to as Maghrebins)
--Quebec: 1967 De Gaulle :"Vive le Quebec libre!". Identity
search , bilingual country:
--Louisiana and Cajun culture ( traditions of Mardi
--French-speaking writers/artists: singers (Celine Dion);
Film: Jesus of Montreal, Barbarian Invasions
French-speaking writers : e.g Tahar Ben Jelloun (Morocco).
Music: Algerian Group 1,2,3
V. French culture in east and central Africa:
Cameroun, Mali, Senegal, Gabon, Mauritanie, Togo,
Benin, Burkina Faso,Centrafrican Republic, Niger, Zaire/ Congo, Rwanda-Burundi,
Tchad, Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) ,Gambia, Guinea
French-speaking writers : Senegal former President
Leopold Sedar Senghor : French poet;
Singers-musicians of French expression.: Mali:
Ba; Oumou Sangare;
Senegal: Youssou n'Dour; Baaba Mal
Zaire/Congo: Papa Wemba; Zap Mama.
Film: Chocolat (Cameroun)
VI. French culture in Asia
Some articles of interest LABEL FRANCE n 30:
A Tour of Asia's French-speaking countries/
French culture in Asia
1. Define the concept of "Francophonie" ? How many countries have signed the
2. What is a DOM? Give one example of DOM:
3. What is a TOM? Give one example of TOM:
4. Cite 5 French -speaking countries in their
a . Europe/b. Africa/c. America/d. Asia/e. Pacific
5 Cite two outstanding personalities of the French-speaking
world with their area of activity
6. Is Congo(Zaire) an ex-French or Belgian former
7. What is referred to as Le Maghreb?
8. Switzerland: cite one fact about this country.
9. Select 5 French-speaking countries from the exhibits
that interested you & give 3 facts for each.
One historical/ One regarding the French influence in
their cultures/ One about their native cultures.
10. Jacques Brel was a famous French-speaking Belgian
singer/poet. Should be listed as French writers/artist, or should he be
referred to as Belgian? Give your reasons.
9. Louisiana has retained the Napoleonic Code of Law, within the US legal
system.. Do you think that Louisiana (Cajun country) should continue teaching
Cajun French in schools ? Give your reasons.
10. Quebec has a "language police": French signs only. All English info MUST
be translated and French comes first. Shop keepers get fined if they do not
respect this law. This seems like a radical measure. Do you understand this?
NOTE: in French www.francophonie.org
copyright 2007Therese Saint Paul