French Law on the Use of Language, Between the Myth of a Protectionist Tradition and the Reality of New Concerns (Le droit français de la langue, entre les mythes d'une tradition interventionniste et la réalité de nouvelles angoisses)
EUI Law Working Paper No. 2006/10
17 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2006
Date Written: April 2006
The paper, which will be published as a chapter in Bruno de Witte and Miriam Aziz (eds.), Linguistic Diversity and European Law, analyses present day French legislation and jurisprudence applicable to the use of language. It therefore starts by reconstructing the origins of the powerful myth, shared both by opponents and proponents of a legal protection of the French language, according to which French Republicanism has always been hostile to minority languages. It then shows how the constitutional protection of the French language has been an unforeseen by-product of the ratification of the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992, setting the bases for a case-law of the Constitutional council which has been particularly criticised when it opposed the ratification of the European Charter of minority languages. After presenting the content of the legislation applicable to the use of French in the public sphere, the paper concludes with an exploration of the legal and non legal tools available for a promotion of the French language.
Note: Downloadable document is in French.
Keywords: European identity, Nation-state, sovereignty, state building, subsidiarity, language policy
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