Jean-Benoît was invited by Angel Miguel Martínez, Vice President of the European Parliament, and Olga Cosmidou, Director General of Conferences, to speak to representatives and officers of the European Union about how Europe’s main languages are globalizing and how this is affecting the “language market.” He was accompanied by representatives from the Alliance française of Brussels-Europe and the Québec General Delegation in Brussels, who organized a series of conferences for him in different Belgian cities during Francophonie Week.
Section: French / Francophonie
By Jean-Benoît Nadeau & Julie Barlow
The French love to underline events with little glossaries of words. In honour of the International Week of the Francophonie, March 20, we’ve taken a shot at French art of the lexique: The Francophonie in Ten Words:
1. Réseauter: Réseau is French verb for “network”. Now it’s used as a verb, like in English. Networks are what link the francophone world together.
2. Francophone: To the French, this means anyone who speaks French, who’s not French! For most Quebeckers, it’s a synonym for French-Canadian. But in the dictionary, it just means anyone who speaks French correctly. Maybe if everyone replaced “French-speaker” by francophone, French-speakers would start to see the French-speaking world for what it is. Read more »
The French love to underline events with little glossaries of words. In honour of the International Week of the Francophonie, March 20, we’ve taken a shot at French art of the lexique: The Francophonie in Ten Words. Read more »
by Jean-Benoît Nadeau
Here we go! Very soon, I’ll be embarking on a trip to the South Pacific…New Caledonia to be more specific. I feel privileged to have been invited as the guest conference speaker for the Forum francophone du Pacifique (French Speaking-Communities Forum of the Pacific). Held between October 14 and 17, the forum unites the Alliances Françaises from Austrailia, New-Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Cook Islands and Vanuatu.
There are three obvious advantages to venturing to the opposite end of the world. Firstly: language. The statistics on French language instruction in Australia and New Zealand are surprisingly high. I’m very curious to hear from their delegates, especially during the roundtable on broadcasting. Inadvertently, I will no doubt learn about the other countries that will be at the forum, and learning about different countries is always fascinating.
Secondly: to better understand Oversea France. Oversea France plays a key role in France’s international status. New Caledonia is a TOM, a Territoire d’Outre-Mer (overseas territory), which has a different status from a DOM, a Département d’Outre-Mer (overseas department). I’m looking forward to observing firsthand how it all works together politically, economically and socially speaking.
And lastly, there is New Caledonia itself. It will be an amazing opportunity for discovery. I will get to explore a whole new country, take in a different culture and their traditions, as well as try new and exciting culinary dishes. The only thing that I know for sure is that one week in New Caledonia is much too short.
The French Speaking-Communities Forum of the Pacific will be held in Noumea, New Caledonia, Oct. 15-17. Jean-Benoît Nadeau was invited to the Forum to share his unique perspective on the French language.
Jean-Benoît Nadeau in the press room of the Forum mondial de la langue française (The French Language World Forum), which was held from July 2nd to 6th in Quebec city
The American astrophysicist Trinh Xuan Thuan has been awarded the prestigious Cino del Duca World prize for 2012 from the Simone and Cino del Duca Foundation/Institut de France for his work on scientific popularisation in French.
Vietnamese born Thuan, was educated in French and is the author of a number of books, originally written in French, on philosophical questions the universe raises. Thuan, an expert in extragalactic astronomy, is a professor at the University of Virginia as well as a researcher at the Paris Institute of Astrophysics.
Thuan will receive the prize (a value of 300, 000 Euros, almost 400, 000 CAD) on June 6th at an official ceremony being held under the Dome of the Institut de France in Paris.
Announcing Jean-Benoît Nadeau’s new blog on the Forum mondial de la langue française (The French Language World Forum).
About the Forum: www.ForumFrancophonie2012.org
Excerpt taken from the book The Story of French (Ch.14)
During our travels we tried to get an idea of how much English was displacing French in France’s former colonies. This led us to understand a curious phenomenon. History has led many Americans, British, French, Spanish and Arab speakers to believe that languages are somehow a zero-sum game, that the gains of one language necessarily come at the expense of another. This point of view is widespread among journalists, business people and even diplomats. Yet from what we saw, nothing could be further from the truth. Most Algerians, Senegalese, Indians and Polynesians are at least bilingual (not surprisingly, since only ten countries in the world, and very small ones at that, are classified as strictly monolingual). The progress of French in Algeria and Senegal has made no impression on Arabic or Wolof. By the same token, the progress of French in some former British African colonies (French is now an official second language in Nigeria, for instance) has not affected the status of English there. And of course, in countries where French second-language teaching is the most extensive- Britain, the United States, Canada and Australia-few, if any, have lost their English. Read more »
Starting today, Jean-Benoît will act as editor-in-chief of the Forum mondial de la langue française’s blog (The French Language World Forum). Every week, through interviews, photos and videos, an exciting new entry will be posted on French language from around the world. For the latest news on French language and culture, this is a blog worth bookmarking.
About the Forum: www.forumfrancophonie2012.org