L'Academie francaise and Anglophone language ideologies

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Journal Article
Language Policy, 2011, 2011 pp. 325 - 341
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The notion in popular linguistic discourse that French suffers from a narrow and prescriptive tradition of language policing, with the Académie Française (AF) as the central player, is frequently contrasted with an image of English as a democratic, borrowing language, better suited to its global role. This misrepresents the role of the AF in the regulation of French while overlooking the role of language ideologies, most evident in the two great dictionary projects (OED and DAF). This paper examines the actual role of the AF and other institutions in French language policy. Exploring popular linguistic representations of the AF and reiterated discourses about the relative numbers of words in English and French, we emphasize the dangers for language policy generally of reinforcing triumphalist views about English.
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