Chapter 9 of The Story of French refers to French as the “tool of an empire.” It makes the reader see how French was a way to unify people, therefore making it easier convert them to French ideals, as compared to other similar languages (i.e. English). Both the British and the French were imperial powers. They were both similar and different from one another. I really liked the contrast to how the British and French handled their colonies. One of these differences was in the treatment of colonized peoples. The French were more interested in treating people in their African colonies equally. If the people in the colonies learned French and followed French culture practices, they were treated very well. It might have been possible for them to become French citizens. The British viewpoint was drastically different. Colonized people were less likely to be treated as human or ever become British citizens. Through this French has become a language that is more cherished in the countries that speak it as compared to English speaking countries. The remnants to French empire are still affecting people today.
I really liked how you went into the difference between France and Britain at the time.
I like your compare and contrast of British and French colonization. The unfortunate matter of it all is that all of this came with a price that the people of these colonized countries had to pay.
While reading about France’s colonization history in chapter 9, I wondered why we never learned about this. While taking history classes in elementary and middle school we never once talked about how France colonized in a great number of areas. Much of Africa, Polynesia, the Middle East, the Caribbean was colonized by France and Belgium and it was never slightly mentioned. Now that I know this, I see France as a powerful and strategic country because they colonized the places that bigger countries couldn’t. It also is really sad though because all of the effects of the colonization are still present today. Like in the first few pages of the chapter it mentions how there are still social scars from the civil war in Algeria. That war didn’t even take place that long ago; it blows my mind. And all the actions the French took to overpower the native people (much like America did/continues to do). It’s so sad to think of all the hurt and trauma and racism people have/had to go through. It wasn’t surprising though that there are different French words for the different classes they ranked themselves and the natives into. For example the status of “indigenat” people (natives) who had to do forced labor (le travail force). I still love the french culture but its heartbreaking to know that they’ve done/still mistreat people like some do in America.
Unfortunately, these are the sad realities of colonialism by these world superpowers. I still will never understand how people can be treated so horribly yet still love the culture and people who have hurt them.
I agree Much of this is only learned in College. Very little exposure before that.
In Chapter 9, the book talks about the far extent of colonization caused by France as well as how they managed to do so. The French language was seen as a tool to help small groups unify and excel. The French were able to colonize multiple societies in Africa as well as overseas such as Quebec and French New Guinea. France felt that their colonies needed support, so they told the new colonies that if they learned to speak French and abide by French practices, they would be treated and supported equally, as if they were an extension of the home country. Compared to the British, who treated their colonies as if they were less than human, and would not let the people living in the colony to become British citizens.
France really did go about this situation the right way. They treated their people with equality and respect, unlike Britain.
In chapter 9 of The Story of French, the books talks about the second colonial era in France. In times back then there were few opportunities to grow as a colonization and spread your beliefs, but the second colonization is when France had a great historical opportunity. On page 193 in the book, it emphasizes this a little more, “In many ways the second colonial era was the second great historical opportunity for French”. Opportunities don’t come around too often, so for France to get not only one chance but got two to colonize! It was up to them to take it in full stride and just run with it.
After being a French colony for nearly 130 years, Algeria fought a violent civil war to gain independence from France from 1954 to 1962. After gaining independence, Algeria did not name French one of it’s national languages for quite a few years after. From 1830 to 1960, the French did a great job of expanding the territory of their language during this second colonial push. Though some native Algerians resent the language and refuse to speak it, today, nearly 50% of Algerians speak French fluently and 80% of newspapers and most television channels are in French. Despite the resentment some may hold, the French language is alive and blooming in the country of Algeria.
I wounder if a similar type of struggle with the language of the colonizers occurred elsewhere
As with all colonizers, France also had a profound effect on the lands it colonized. It was late in the game compared to the other European nations, however, it was able to export its language in many countries throughout the world. One unique case is with Algeria. Algeria is the first African colony of a European nation. France wanted to export the French language to Algeria, but it was not working how it worked in other places. One reason is that France wanted to “civilize” the colonized people, but the Algerians did not want anything to do with it. France wanted to make them literate, but they already were literate due to their tradition of learning the Quran. In the beginning, not many Algerians enrolled in the French institution and schools. They also did not practice inter-marriage. The assimilation into the dominant/colonizer’s culture was not taking place how France hoped it would. However, things started when the French started to take over the agricultural lands, and now the peasants had to communicate in the employer's language. France also gave incentives to people to join the army which also allowed assimilation.