Francization or Francisation (in Canadian English and American English), Frenchification (in British and also in American English), or Gallicization designates the extension of the French language by its adoption as a first language or not, adoption that can be forced upon or desired by the concerned population. According to the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), the figure of 220 million Francophones is sous-évalué (under-evaluated) because it only counts people that can write, understand and speak French fluently, thus excluding a large part of the countdown of the African population that does not know how to write. The French Conseil économique, social et environnemental estimate that, if the population that does not know how to write were included as francophones, the total number of French speakers passed the 500 million in the year 2000. The French language has the world's fastest growing relative share of speakers.
In 2014, a study from the French Bank, Natixis Bank, claims that French will become the world's most spoken language by 2050. However critics of the study state that French coexists with other languages in many countries and that the estimations of the study are greatly overstated.
The number of Francophones or French-language speakers in the world has been rising substantially since the 1980s. In 1985, there were 106 million Francophones around the world. That number quickly rose to 173.2 million in 1997, 200 million in 2005, 220 million in 2010 (+10% from 2007). and reached 274 million in 2014, Forecasts expect that the number of French speakers in Africa alone will reach 400 million in 2025, 715 million (readjusted in 2010) by 2050 and reach 1 billion and 222 million in 2060 (readjusted in 2013). The worldwide French-speaking population is expected to multiply by a factor of 4, whereas the world population is predicted to multiply by a factor of only 1.5.
The Francophone zone of Africa is two times the size of the United States of America (including Alaska)
French was introduced in Africa by France and Belgium during the colonial period. The process of francization continued after the colonial period, so that English-speaking countries like Ghana or Nigeria feel strong French influences from their French-speaking neighbors.
French became the most spoken language in Africa after Arabic and Swahili in 2010. The number of speakers changed very rapidly between 1992 and 2002, with the number of learners of French in sub-Saharan Africa increasing by 60.37%, from 22,33 million to 34,56 million people. A similar trend in the Maghreb region is occurring. However, as figures provided by the OIF for the Maghreb region were combined with those of the Middle East, the exact count for the Maghreb countries alone is not possible. In this larger region (Maghreb and Middle East), an increase from 10.47 million to 18 million people learning French was observed between 1992 and 2002.
Consideration should be given to the number of French speakers in each country to get an idea of the importance the French language holds in Africa.
Many African countries without French as an official language have recently joined the OIF in view of Francizing their countries:
- Cape Verde (official language: Portuguese)
- Egypt (official language: Arabic)
- Ghana (official language: English)
- Guinea Bissau (official language: Portuguese)
- Mozambique (official language: Portuguese)
- São Tomé and Príncipe (official language: Portuguese)
The French language currently plays an important role in Africa, serving more and more as a common language or mother tongue (in Gabon, Ivory Coast, Congo, Cameroon and Benin in particular). The African Academy of Languages was established in 2001 to manage the linguistic heritage.
Francophone African countries counted 370 million inhabitants in 2014. This number is expected to reach between 700 and 750 million by 2050. There are already more francophones in Africa than in Europe.
Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos were once part of French Indochina, part of the French Empire. French influence, including buildings, language and cuisine have been influenced from this, but they are still highly distinct in their own cultures.
Great Britain, and therefore the English language, was deeply francized during the Middle Ages. This was a result of the conquest of England by William the Conqueror from Normandy in 1066, a king who spoke exclusively French and imposed the French language in England. Old English became the language of the poor population and French the language of the court and wealthy population. It is said that during this period, people in England spoke more French than those in France. Today, it is estimated that 70% to 72% of the English language comes from French or Latin.
It is easy to observe this tendency in the cooking world. The names of living farm animals have Anglo-Saxon roots. However, the names of cooked animals, once served to the wealthier, have Old French origins:
- Pig (Anglo-Saxon) – Pork from the Old French porc
- Cow (Anglo-Saxon "cou") – Beef from the Old French bœuf
- Chicken (Anglo-Saxon) – Poultry from the Old French pouletrie or poule
There is an incomplete list of French expressions used in English, containing however only pure French expressions (and not evolved/modified words with French roots): List of French expressions in English.
Francization is also a designation applied to a number of ethnic assimilation policies implemented by French authorities from the French Revolution to present. These policies aimed to impose or to maintain the dominance of French language (which at this time was still a minority language in the numerical sense, despite being the prestige language of France and an increasingly important vernacular for writing, with the decline of Latin) and culture by encouraging or compelling people of other ethnic groups to adopt them, and thereby developing a French identity, at the expense of their existing identity. Coupled with this policy was the deliberate suppression of minority languages. Quickly after the end of the Ancien Régime, the new revolutionary government adopted a policy of promotion of French as a unifying and modernizing language, simultaneously denigrating the status of minority languages as bulwarks of feudalism, Church control of the state, and backwardness in general. In less than a year after coming to power (1792), the Committee for Public Instruction mandated that the newly expanded public education would be buttressed by the sending of French-speaking teachers to areas that spoke other languages. The 19th century saw this programme achieve many of its intended aims: the French language became much more expansive among the population, and by the 1860s, nearly 80 percent of the national population were able to speak French.
Only at the turn of the twentieth century did French become the mother language of the adult population's majority in the French Third Republic, thanks to Jules Ferry's free, compulsory education, which pursued more or less explicitly the strengthening of the central state by means of instilling a French national identity in the population. French was presented as the language of modernity, as opposed to regional languages such as Breton or Basque, labeled as barbaric or tribal, the use of which was punished at school by having pupils caught speaking them display tokens of shame. In Occitan-speaking areas that school policy was called the vergonha.
Up to 1992, no official language was recognized in the French constitution. That year, the hegemony of French was further reinforced by declaring it constitutionally the language of the French republic. In 1998, France became a signatory of the European Charter on Minority Languages; however, it has yet to ratify it, with general agreement among the political class that supportive measures are neither popular enough to attract great support nor banal enough to avert controversy, with concerns specifically about courts forcing the state to act if the rights enshrined in the charter are recognised.
The term can be applied to the francization of the Alemannic-speaking inhabitants of Alsace and the Lorraine Franconian-speaking inhabitants of Lorraine after these regions were conquered by Louis XIV during the seventeenth century, to the Flemings in French Flanders, to the Occitans in Occitania, as well as to Basques, Bretons, Catalans, Corsicans and Niçards.
It began with the ordinance of Villers-Cotterêts under King Francis I of France, that prescribed the official use of the French language, the langue d'oïl dialect spoken at the time in the Île-de-France, in all documents. Other tongues, such as Occitan, began to disappear as written languages.
Everything was francized step-by-step, starting with surnames and place names. Presently, it still continues, but some change their names to bretonize (replacement of 'Le' by 'Ar' for instance Le Bras becomes Ar Braz 'the tall') or occitanize it again. City signs for example, might be spelled in French, but the local authorities are now allowed to add the historic version. However, the process is limited by the refusal of the French Government to recognize minority languages in France, on the basis of the French Constitution, which states that "The language of the Republic of France is French."
French Colonial Empire
Brussels and the Flemish periphery
In the last two centuries, Brussels transformed from an exclusively Dutch-speaking city to a bilingual city with French as the majority language and lingua franca. The language shift began in the eighteenth century and accelerated as Belgium became independent and Brussels expanded beyond its original city boundaries. From 1880 onwards, more and more Dutch-speaking people became bilingual, resulting in a rise of monolingual French-speakers after 1910. Halfway through the twentieth century, the number of monolingual French-speakers carried the day over the (mostly) bilingual Flemish inhabitants. Only since the 1960s, after the fixation of the Belgian language border and the socio-economic development of Flanders was in full effect, could Dutch stem the tide of increasing French use. The francization of the Flemish periphery around Brussels still continues because of the continued immigration of French speakers coming from Wallonia and Brussels.
The Government of Quebec has francization policies intended to establish French as the primary language of business and commerce. All businesses are required to provide written communications and schedules in French, and may not make knowledge of a language other than French a condition of hiring unless this is justified by the nature of the duties. Businesses with more than fifty employees are required to register with the Quebec Office of the French language in order to become eligible for a francization certificate, which is granted if the linguistic requirements are met. If not, employers are required to adopt a francization programme, which includes having employees, especially ones in managerial positions, who do not speak French or whose grasp of French is weak attend French-language training.
As part of the francization programme, the Quebec government provides free language courses for recent immigrants (from other countries or other provinces) who do not speak French or whose command of French is weak. The government also provides financial assistance for those who are unable to find employment because they are unable to speak French.
Another aspect of francization in Quebec regards the quality of the French used in Quebec. The Quebec Office of the French language has, since its formation, undertaken to discourage anglicisms and to promote high standards of French-language education in schools.
The francization programmes have been considered a great success. Since 1977 (the year the Charter of the French Language became law), the number of English speakers has decreased from 14% in 1970 to less than 6.7% in 2006. In the 1970s the French language was generally understood only by native French speakers, 80% of the population of Quebec. In 2001, French was understood by more than 94% of the population. Moreover, the number of immigrants sending their children to English schools fell from 80% in 1970 to less than 4% in 2006.
French is also becoming increasingly attractive to foreign speakers, suggesting that the francization programmes have been successful.
Montreal is a particular interesting case because, unlike the rest of Quebec, the French-speaking proportion of the population diminished. However, this does not mean that the francization programmes failed, as the level of English speakers diminished as well; it seems more likely that the decrease was caused by the fact that 93% of new immigrants to Quebec choose to settle in Montreal, with a corresponding rise in languages other than English and French. The government of Quebec estimates that over the next 20 years, the Francophone proportion of Montreal will go back up.
The success of francization of Quebec can also be seen over the borders of its territory: in Ontario, the proportion of English speakers dropped from 70.5% in 2001 to 68% in 2006, while the proportion of French speakers went up from 4.06% (488 815) in 2006 to 4.80% (580 000) in 2009. However, this statistic must be examined in conjunction with the effects of Quebec francophone out-migration. Interprovincial migration, especially to Ontario, results in a net loss of population in Quebec. The number of French-speaking Quebecers leaving the province tends to be similar to the number entering, while immigrants to Quebec tend to leave.
None of the Quebec statistics are adjusted to compensate for the percentage—approximately 20%—of Anglophones who departed the province by the mid-1980s as a consequence of linguistic nationalism. By 2001, over 60% of the 1971 population of Quebec Anglophones had left the province.
The Charter of the French Language has been a complete success, according to Hervé Lavenir de Buffon (general secretary of the « Comité international pour le français, langue européenne »), who said in 2006: "Before Bill 101, Montreal looked like an American city. Now Montreal looks like a French-speaking city; that proves how well Bill 101 has worked!"
The policy has been even more successful in New Brunswick, for example: the city of Edmundston, which went from 89% French-speaking in 1996 to 93.4% in 2006, the city of Moncton (from 30.4% in 1996 to 33% in 2006), Dalhousie (from 42.5% to 49.5%) and Dieppe (from 71.1% in 1996 to 74.2% in 2006). Some cities even passed 50% of French speakers between 1991 and 2006 like Bathurst, which passed from 44.6% of French speakers in 1996 to 50.5% in 2006, or Campbellton, from 47% in 1996 to 55% in 2006.
Rates of francization may be established for any group by comparing the number of people who usually speak French to the total number of people in the minority language group. See Calvin Veltman's Language Shift in the United States (1983) for a discussion.
Of the language
There are many examples of francization in history and popular culture:
- Crème anglaise replacing the word "custard" on restaurant menus.
- Anne Boleyn choosing the French spelling Boleyn over the traditional English Bolin or Bullen.
- Mary, Queen of Scots, choosing the spelling Stuart over Stewart for the name of her dynasty. (The Scots had dual nationality and Mary, Queen of Scots was brought up in France.)
- The common "-escu" final particle in Romanian being traditionally changed to "-esco" in French spellings and being occasionally adopted by the persons themselves as a French equivalent of their names (see Eugène Ionesco, Irina Ionesco, Marthe Bibesco).
- Courriel, short for courrier électronique, replacing e-mail (originally from Québec).
The same exists for other languages, for example, English, in which case objects or persons can be anglicized.
|Look up francisation in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
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