Planning to promote a lingua franca: current developments in the Francophone world

Wright, Sue

University of Portsmouth, UK

WS121: Language Policy, Planning and Management: From Micro to Macro and Vice Versa

According to a recent report by the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie the number of people who can speak French has reached 200 million and the 68 countries of the OIF (members, associates and observers) account for 11% of the world’s population and 12% of its revenue. Although this is likely to be an optimistic evaluation of the situation, it stills shows that French remains an important lingua franca for a large part of the world.

The French government has traditionally used this massive cultural and linguistic network as a means of having greater weight on the international stage and has always made a great effort to promote the French language as a tool of influence. This paper examines the Francophone movement in 2007 and asks whether its networks are still working in the interests of the French themselves.

Using data from elite interviews carried out in 2007, it discusses the ways in which the Francophone movement is working successfully for its different members and where it is creaking with the strains of competing demands. Underpinning the presentation is an evaluation of the Francophone movement’s conscious efforts to plan for the maintenance and/or expansion of French as a global lingua franca and a consideration of whether this is ultimately possible.

Session: Workshop (part 1)
Language Policy, Planning and Management: From Micro to Macro and Vice Versa
Saturday, April 5, 2008, 09:00-10:30
room: 04