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By Vassberg

A German dialect spoken in Alsace (France), has quickly misplaced technique to French for the reason that 1945. This ebook investigates language selection, language attitudes and ethnic id in Alsace at the present time. The Alsatian case research issues out the advanced interrelationship of linguistic and identification switch with old, social and mental strategies.

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Extra info for Alsatian Acts of Identity: Language Use and Language Attitudes in Alsace (Multilingual Matters)

Sample text

Schools were stocked with French readers. In order to train more qualified French-speaking teachers, the normal school in Strasbourg Page 16 was expanded, while a new one was founded in Colmar. Although schooling was not yet compulsory, and older teachers still spoke little French, good progress at Frenchification was made during this period. During the Restoration and the July Monarchy, the urban haute bourgeoisie abandoned the dialect and German. In the 1820s, young Alsatians spoke French, and looked to Paris as their model for fashions and life style, while their parents continued to use the dialect.

Although there can be no doubt that the vast majority of Alsatians welcomed their return to France, disappointments and misunderstandings once more clouded this period. Military operations were accompanied by a wave of épuration. Some 45,000 Alsatians found themselves briefly Page 22 interned. Twenty thousand denunciations for various degrees of collaboration with the enemy during the Nazi occupation resulted in eight thousand condemnations, most of them to fines, confiscations of property or banishment (interdictions de séjour).

During the Second Republic (1848-1851) and the Second Empire (1851-1870), representatives of the central government continued their pursuit of Frenchification, with growing 'support of Paris and a greater sense of urgency. By now the growth of German nationalism had convinced many that full linguistic assimilation was a matter of national security' (Craig, 1985: 22). Other arguments in favor of rapid Frenchification were the alleged low moral tone of dialect-speaking villages, where drunkenness, fighting, and crime were supposedly more prevalent.

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