Gemie (2002)

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  • Gemie, S. 2002. 'The politics of language: debates and identities in contemporary Brittany', French Cultural Studies 13:38, 145-164.


 extrait p.162: 
 "Indications of a gendered disparity in participation in Breton language events continue to the present. A study by Francis Favereau of Breton language writing since 1945 identifies 750 writers, of whom only 15% are women. Broudic’s 1997 survey finds that while 72% of men feel an attachment for the Breton language, such sentiments are only felt by 66% of women. The Breton sociologist Le Coadic has considered this question. Citing the work of Anne Guillou, he suggests that the reason for this pattern is that women are more likely to accept the rule of authority figures, and in this case, French was the language of the authorities. Le Coadic links this female reluctance to take up the Breton cause with the sense of shame which many Bretons feel for their accent or for the Breton language. Of course, Le Coadic is right to raise the issue of power: language transference is always, at root, about power. However, in this case, it needs to be acknowledged that a more logical argument would suggest these young women considered that their empowerment would develop through their participation in the French language, not through maintaining their links with Breton. If language performs a symbolic role, then in this case many young women considered that the Breton language represented the values of a closed, conservative society, and saw their emancipation via the French language. Rather than demonstrating women’s innate conservatism, this pattern could well suggest an instinctive rebelliousness."