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Linguistic Issues or Francophone Immigration in Acadian New Brunswick: The State of Research

Rédigé par :: [lundi 15 décembre 2008 16:34] Denière mise à jour par Azure René de Cotret :: [mercredi 10 février 2021 16:21]
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Année : 2008 Auteur(s) et collaborateur(s) Boudreau, Annette; Violette, Isabelle; Thème Acadie
Revue : , Canadian Issues Pages : , 121-124 Résumé
This article complements previous contributions' and describes the progress of the main areas of linguistic research conducted since 2003 on Francophone immigration to Acadian minority communities and a number of proposals that could result from it. In fact, the year 2003 marks a significant linguistic watershed regarding issues relating to immigration to Canada with the development and adoption of the Strategic Framework to Foster Immigration to Francophone Minority Communities. Also, the term "Francophone immigration" is especially revealing for the purposes of our discussion. Have there ever been any discussions around Anglophone immigration? Not as far as we know. This can be explained primarily by the fact that the Anglophone community in Canada represents the majority (in terms of numbers) and dominance (in symbolic status), allowing it to obscure any language issues. Francophone communities, however, because they are in the minority, feel a political heightening of these issues. So, the mention of Francophone immigration makes it possible to recognize the linguistic issues that this phenomenon represents for Canada's Francophone population, and more specifically, for the ça se at hand, the Acadian Francophone population. In this article, we will present our key research questions and the principal themes that emerged from them. As sociolinguists, we are interested in the linguistic representations of French-speaking immigrants. By "representations" we mean language-related beliefs, images, values and attitudes.
Our field studies were carried out within the framework of three interdisciplinary research groups - the Atlantic Metropolis Centre's Culture, Language and Identity domain, led by Annette Boudreau (2005-2007); the GDI project, led by Nicole Gallant from the Université de Moncton; and the project entitled "La francité transnationale," led by Monica Heller from the University of Toronto. We conducted our field research together with Sonya Malaborza, a doctoral candidate in language sciences and a research assistant for 2004-2005. The research consisted of 17 semi-directed interviews, a focus group2 comprised of seven members of people from the sub-Saharan Frenchspeaking community in Moncton, more than 20 hours of ethnographic observation at a drop-in centre for French-speaking immigrants and perusing official documents from the federal and provincial governments and various Acadian organizations, as well as articles relating to our research topic published in L'Acadie nouvelle, a daily newspaper that serves the province's French-speaking population. To date, we have limited our research to the region of Moncton, located in the south-east of the province, because in addition to being home to a greater number of immigrants than the so-called homogenous regions (the northeast part of the province), it has the advantage of raising the language issue due to the "language contact"3 situation there. We will close by setting out a number of proposals that may be of use in managing the linguistic and cultural diversity within present-day Acadian Francophonie.
With generalized use of expressions such as "Francophone community," "Acadian Francophonie" and "Francophone immigration," while it is tempting to represent the French language as the common base uniting a number of highly diversified populations, it would be more appropriate to talk about a number of French languages or linguistic varieties of French, where variations in some cases are very pronounced ([ISABELLE VIOLETTE] 2006). From this reality flows another challenge related to language and immigration - that of managing the linguistic diversity when there is a coming together with the "other Francophone." Research has already determined that the Acadians from the south-east of the province tend to devalue their way of speaking French because it differs from "standard French" and incorporates a number of English terms (Boudreau and [L. Dubois] 2001). These negative representations are adopted by a certain number of the immigrants who were interviewed, and this can lead to a certain distancing or even disengagement when it comes to the recognition of French (previous excerpt). Nonetheless, we would be wrong to conclude too quickly that Chiac and Acadian French represent an obstacle to the integration of Frenchspeaking immigrants into the Acadian community. Several of the interviewees stated that, on the contrary, they liked this variation, and some even said that they had adopted some of the regional terms and expressions to show their sense of belonging to the local Francophone community.