French as a lingua franca

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French was a prestige lingua franca for centuries. Although it is now declining in this role, the French government and French elites have mounted a campaign to promote and defend French in international settings. This chapter examines three basic misconceptions in the arguments advanced in this campaign: (1) The intrinsic qualities of a language are factors in the promotion of a language as a lingua franca; (2) language policy making at national level can affect language practices in international contexts; and (3) language diversity is served by the promotion of another prestige lingua franca. It concludes with a review of some of the pragmatic decisions taken by French nationals to confront the new linguistic situation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-60
Number of pages26
JournalAnnual Review of Applied Linguistics
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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