Identités linguistiques, langues identitaires : à la croisée du prescriptivisme et du patriotisme, 1


This article provides a synthesis of the eight articles in this issue originally presented at the conference “Prescriptivism(e) & Patriotism(e): from nationalism to globalization” held in Toronto from August 17-19, 2009. Keeping in mind the most diverse group of readers interested in French studies, this synthesis situates the articles in the on-going conversation in sociolinguistics concerning the relationships between language and identity. We first define the two concepts that inspired this issue: 1) prescriptivism, with respect to a series of related notions (norm, supernorm, proper usage, linguistic variation, linguistic market); and 2) patriotism, in terms of its fundamental connection with identity (identify construction, relationship with the other, linguistic attitudes, overt and covert prestige). We then summarize all of the articles, grouping them in three sections, each of which addresses a specific facet of the patriotism-prescriptivism dynamic. The first part deals with the discrepancy between norms and linguistic usages versus the perception of these norms and usages. The second part addresses the questions of linguistic vitality, linguistic erosion, and language maintenance and revitalization. The third part demonstrates the internal and sometimes even symbiotic relationships between prescriptivism and patriotism.