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Autres projets > Peps LLV

Peps LLV

Modeling stigma and counter-stigma

In 2010, a CNRS exploratory project called “Les Langues et Vous” (LLV), about sociolinguistic activism for the Oïl languages, submitted by Lilianne Jagueneau (FORELL, Poitiers University) and J.L. Léonard was accepted by the CNRS. The project gave an account of over 30 years of activities for the codification and standardization of languages such as Poitevin-Saintongeais, Gallo and Bourguignon-Morvandiau, through systematic interviews of 35 activists, on the basis of a semi-directive questionnaire.

Prerequisites were already sketched in [C2,9]. The purpose of this project was to model stigma and counter-stigma, from the standpoint of varieties which can be considered as the most discriminated against among minority languages in France: so-called “patois”.

We enlarged the stigma model developed by Erving Goffman (1963), proposing the following counterpart: how can stigma be reversed and neutralized through positive action on behalf of discriminated languages?

How did the activists managed to attain such a degree of resilient criticism toward diglossia that they could overcome the stigma and create new conditions for the Oïl dialects in modern society?

How did they acquire the know-how for language management and language planning? How did they organize into associations and communities of practice?

How useful to them were dialectology and sociolinguistics?

Why did they get involved in this activity? How did they interact with institutions and with people, at local, regional and national levels?

In other words, what is the output and how did rural communities and the society as a whole benefit from their work?

Most of these activists were initially school teachers or artists (writers, poets, musicians), and are now publishers, consultants, managers of structures such as Maison du Patrimoine Oral (Oral Heritage House, as in Anost, Morvan) or Maison des Cultures de Pays (Parthenay). The LLV project suggests that this form of activism has been highly useful as an innovation for social work and alternative forms of education. The LLV methodology was based on Language Management Theory (Jiří V. Neustupný and Björn H. Jernudd, Jiří Nekvapil). We applied the same methodology in the Mazatec and the Zapotec areas in 2011-12, with bilingual school teachers and writers, and then extended it to other types of organizations. Karla Avilés Janiré Gonzalez, for instance, applied it to a rural women’s cooperative in San Jeronimo Tecoatl, in the Mazatec Highlands, who are struggling against unfair market conditions in the commercialization of agricultural products (cf. Karla Janiré Avilés González & Angela Ixkic Duarte Bastian: “Género, lengua y etnicidad en la era de la globalización: El caso de la Organización de Mujeres Unidas - Naxií”, forthcoming – from the Mondialisation & Peuples Minorisés international conference, Paris UVSQ, June 2013, cf. http://www.uvsq.fr/colloque-international-mondialisation-et-peuples-minorises-266081.kjsp), and we plan to further develop this methodology within the framework of the EVA/ELD project.

Fieldwork for the PEPS implied three trips to different areas in Central & Northern France, where Oïl dialects are spoken: Haute Bretagne (Rennes and the rural outskirts), Poitou-Saintonge (around Parthenay, Vienne, Angoulême and in Vendée) and Burgundia (around Dijon, Mâcon and Bourg-en-Bresse). We collected about 20 hours of vernacular varieties, and 25 hours of interviews with activists on language management methods. All costs were met by the PEPS project – none by the IUF.

Two additional fieldwork trips involved the IUF, as they provided interesting data to compare to the methods developed within the PEPS and the IUF MAmP: one in the Basque Country, in Spain, in April 2012, for dialectological examination of verbal inflectional morphology in several Biscayan and Gipuzkoan dialects, and interviews of grass-root organizations dedicated to dialect documentation, the other in the Republic of Carelia, in April-May 2013, to document endangered vernaculars (especially Norther Vepsian) and study language revitalization methods in the Northern Vepsian area. Both experiences considerably enriched the MAmP project, as contrastive empirical fields.

A third application of the PEPS methodology (dialect documentation and interview of grass-root organizations working on language revitalization, or promotion of the local dialect) is currently in progress for the Gallo-Italic isolate spoken in the island of San Pietro, at Carloforte, in South Western Sardinia (May 2014).


Projets Exploratoires / Premier Soutien, 2010 (CNRS)

En collaboration avec Lilianne Jagueneau, Université de Poitiers : Les Langues et Vous, ou l’aménagement linguistique de par en bas des langues d’oïl . Enquêtes en milieu association de défense et promotion des langues d’oïl et enjeux po... lire la suite →