French Language and Culture in Crisis?

Student Author(s)

Ivy Keen

Faculty Mentor(s)

Professor Wayne Brouwer; Professor Charles Green; Professor Amy Otis – De Grau; Professor Yolanda Vega; Professor John Yelding

Document Type


Event Date



All people value their native tongue to some extent. French speakers are especially attached to their language, and many of them believe that linguistic changes threaten their culture. This linguistic pride is partially due to the history of the French language and its historical influence on Europe as a whole. The French have long made attempts to preserve their language and prevent it from changing. They are even more concerned currently by what they see as threats from two sources: The increasing prevalence of English and of technology. This concern prompted the passage of an even stricter language law in 1994. However, language change is inevitable and impossible to prevent. Furthermore, it is important to remember that cultural change is not the same thing as cultural threat. The French language must adapt itself to modern society if it hopes to continue to thrive. The best way for the French to foster their language tradition is to promote multilingualism and multiculturalism. This would allow future generations to balance the near-necessity of speaking English along with their national language.

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