POSTS BY George P. Fletcher

Linguistic Defense and Offense

When I first wrote about linguistic self-defense (discussed in Liav Orgad’s book pp. 198-200) I had a conception of languages in danger, The most visible potential victim were the French in Quebec. But with the help of Charles de Gaulle, the Quebecois have held on well to their culture (majority at home, minority at large, but supported by a large nation in Europe). One form of linguistic self-defense I proposed at the time was insisting on speaking your language in commercial transactions. For the sake of profit, store keepers would play along. Also, public advertising is a critical mode of making a language seem like the background state of normalcy. The key case in Quebec, as I recall, was called Chaussures Brown Shoes. That was the way they wanted their sign to read. The Anglophones objected and lost.

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