Multilingual citizenship and minority languages

Authored by: Alexandra Jaffe

The Routledge Handbook of Multilingualism

Print publication date:  May  2012
Online publication date:  May  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415496476
eBook ISBN: 9780203154427
Adobe ISBN: 9781136578144


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In this chapter, I use the Corsican case to examine shifting discourses about language and citizenship at supranational scales (European and “global”) and their implications for minority language speakers and minority language revitalization. The shifts I am referring to involve the replacement of an idealized monolingual national citizen with an idealized plurilingual European/global citizen; a movement away from static/essentialist models of identity and language towards process-oriented models of identification and communicative practice; an emphasis on linguistic repertoires rather than languages as fixed and bounded codes and a focus on the role those repertoires play within participatory frameworks of democratic practice in the public sphere. Although the Corsican situation has its particularities, it also serves as a case study that illustrates how these kinds of discursive and ideological shifts constitute new resources for the articulation of minority language identity and for minority language policy, planning and educational practice. At the policy level, I show the way that these wider frameworks have been adopted in Corsican language planning documents that construe Corsican-French bilingualism as a privileged form of currency in new markets of linguistic exchange and new models of the ideal “plurilingual” citizen, defined by his or her intercultural competencies and dispositions of openness/tolerance for diversity. At the level of educational practice, I provide one extended example of how these general orientations are enacted on the ground in a trilingual (Corsican-French-Italian) theater project that took place in 2005.

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