Contemporary French Civilization

Exploring the role of culture in the formation of French language ideologies among US post-secondary students

Contemporary French Civilization (2017), 42, (2), 189–210.

Abstract

At present, there appears to be general disinterest in learning modern foreign languages in the US, which is particularly marked in French. However, in a time of ever-increasing globalization, there is a need for the development of diverse linguistic skills. Contributing to this disinterest are language ideologies that situate the learning of certain languages, including French, as inappropriate for many. Attitudes regarding speakers of French and Francophone cultures are an integral component of these language ideologies. Bringing together applied linguistics and French cultural studies, this study was conducted at a US university and considers language ideologies regarding French that may be contributing to such disinterest in learning French as a second language. The sample included forty-seven undergraduates. Key findings include that young adults hold and are able to readily articulate their language attitudes, wherein the French language was consistently gendered as feminine. Implications include support for pedagogical strategies such as presenting a variety of target language speaker models as well as for integrating culture throughout the program of language study.

Actuellement, de nombreuses personnes, aux États-Unis, ne s’intéressent pas à l’apprentissage des langues vivantes, ce qui est particulièrement le cas pour le français. De nos jours, avec le phénomène de mondialisation qui s’amplifie, il est nécessaire de parler plusieurs langues. Ce manque d’intérêt dans certaines langues peut être lié à des idéologies qui caractérisent des langues particulières, y compris le français, comme inappropriées pour beaucoup de personnes. Des attitudes concernant des francophones et leurs cultures informent, d’une manière importante, ces idéologies linguistiques. En utilisant les théories de la linguistique appliquée et les études culturelles, cette étude a été menée dans une université aux Etats-Unis et traite les idéologies linguistiques à propos du français aux États-Unis qui pourraient être en train de contribuer à ce manque d’intérêt dans l’apprentissage de la langue française. Les données ont été collectées auprès de 47 étudiants de premier cycle. Les principales constatations portent sur le fait que les jeunes adultes ont des attitudes linguistiques et peuvent facilement les exprimer. Le français était systématiquement décrit comme féminin. Les résultats de cette étude soutiennent des mesures pédagogiques telles que l’inclusion d’une variété de modèles francophones et l’intégration de la culture la longue d’un programme d’études.

Access Token
£25.00
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Baker, Paul. Sexed Texts: Language, Gender and Sexuality. Equinox Pub, 2008. Sexed Texts: Language, Gender and Sexuality Google Scholar

Bourdieu, Pierre. La distinction: Critique sociale du jugement. Éditions de Minuit, 1979. La distinction: Critique sociale du jugement Google Scholar

Bourdieu, Pierre. “Deux impérialismes de l’universel.” L’Amérique des Français, ed. Christine Fauré and Tom Bishop (Paris: François Bourrin), 1992, pp. 149–155. Deux impérialismes de l’universel L’Amérique des Français 149 155 Google Scholar

Bozo, Frédéric. “‘We Don’t Need You’: France, the United States, and Iraq, 1991–2003.” Diplomatic History, 2016, dhw011. ‘We Don’t Need You’: France, the United States, and Iraq, 1991–2003 Diplomatic History Google Scholar

Cameron, Deborah. “Language, Gender, and Sexuality: Current Issues and New Directions.” Applied Linguistics, vol. 26, no. 4, 2005, pp. 482–502. Language, Gender, and Sexuality: Current Issues and New Directions Applied Linguistics 26 482 502 Google Scholar

Carr, Jo. “Why Boys into Languages Won’t Go: The Problematic Agenda in Language Education.” Babel, vol. 37, no. 2, 2002, pp. 4–9. Why Boys into Languages Won’t Go: The Problematic Agenda in Language Education Babel 37 4 9 Google Scholar

Carr, Jo, and Anne Pauwels. Boys and Foreign Language Learning: Real Boys Don’t Do Languages. Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. Boys and Foreign Language Learning: Real Boys Don’t Do Languages Google Scholar

Carroll, Raymonde. Évidences invisibles: Américains et Français au quotidien. Seuil, 1987. Évidences invisibles: Américains et Français au quotidien Google Scholar

Castillo Zaragoza, Elena Desirée. “Identity, Motivation and Plurilingualism in Self-Access Centers.” Identity, Motivation and Autonomy in Language Learning, vol. 54, edited by Garold Murray, Xuesong Gao, and Terry Lamb, Multilingual Matters, 2011, pp. 91–106. Identity, Motivation and Plurilingualism in Self-Access Centers Identity, Motivation and Autonomy in Language Learning 91 106 Google Scholar

Chambers, Ross. “On the Language-Culture Nexus.” French Cultural Studies Criticism at the Crossroads, edited by Dana Strand and Marie-Pierre Le Hir, SUNY Press, 2000, pp. 49–68. On the Language-Culture Nexus French Cultural Studies Criticism at the Crossroads 49 68 Google Scholar

Connell, R. W. Masculinities. U of California P, 1995. Masculinities Google Scholar

Dempster, Steven, and Carolyn Jackson. “‘I Sat Back on My Computer… with a Bottle of Whisky next to Me’: Constructing ‘Cool’ Masculinity through ‘Effortless’ Achievement in Secondary and Higher Education.” Journal of Gender Studies, vol. 18, no. 4, 2009, pp. 341–356. ‘I Sat Back on My Computer… with a Bottle of Whisky next to Me’: Constructing ‘Cool’ Masculinity through ‘Effortless’ Achievement in Secondary and Higher Education Journal of Gender Studies 18 341 356 Google Scholar

Fónagy, Iván. La Métaphore en phonétique. Didier, 1979. La Métaphore en phonétique Google Scholar

Germano, William. “Parlez-Vous Anything?” Chronicle of Higher Education, L.40, 2004, p. B16. Parlez-Vous Anything? Chronicle of Higher Education B16 Google Scholar

Hoffmann, Stanley. “Deux universalismes en conflit.” Tocqueville Review, vol. 21, no. 1, 2000, pp. 65–72. Deux universalismes en conflit Tocqueville Review 21 65 72 Google Scholar

Huang, Jing. “A Dynamic Account of Autonomy, Agency and Identity in (T) EFL Learning.” Identity, Motivation and Autonomy in Language Learning, vol. 54, edited by Garold Murray, Xuesong Gao, and Terry Lamb, Multilingual Matters, 2011, pp. 229–246. A Dynamic Account of Autonomy, Agency and Identity in (T) EFL Learning Identity, Motivation and Autonomy in Language Learning 54 229 246 Google Scholar

Jones, Barry, and Gwenneth Jones. Boys’ Performance in Modern Foreign Languages: Listening to Learners. Centre for Information on Language and Teaching and Research, 2001. Boys’ Performance in Modern Foreign Languages: Listening to Learners Google Scholar

Kissau, Scott. “Gender Differences in Motivation to Learn French.” Canadian Modern Language Review, vol. 62, no. 3, 2006, pp. 401–422. Gender Differences in Motivation to Learn French Canadian Modern Language Review 62 401 422 Google Scholar

Kissau, Scott. “Is What’s Good for the Goose Good for the Gander? The Case of Male and Female Encouragement to Study French.” Foreign Language Annals, vol. 40, no. 3, 2007, pp. 419–432. Is What’s Good for the Goose Good for the Gander? The Case of Male and Female Encouragement to Study French Foreign Language Annals 40 419 432 Google Scholar

Kissau, Scott, and Lan Quach. “Student Control in the Second Language Classroom: An Analysis of Gender Differences.” Journal of Applied Linguistics, vol. 3, no. 1, 2006, pp. 49–67. Student Control in the Second Language Classroom: An Analysis of Gender Differences Journal of Applied Linguistics 3 49 67 Google Scholar

Kissau, Scott, and Spencer Salas. “Motivating Male Language Learners: The Need for ‘more than just good teaching.’” Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics, vol. 16, no. 1, 2013, pp. 88–111. Motivating Male Language Learners: The Need for ‘more than just good teaching.’ Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics 16 88 111 Google Scholar

Kissau, Scott, and Miles Turnbull. “Boys and French as a Second Language: A Research Agenda for Greater Understanding.” Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics, vol. 11, no. 3, 2008, pp. 151–170. Boys and French as a Second Language: A Research Agenda for Greater Understanding Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics 11 151 170 Google Scholar

Kissau, Scott, Lan Quach, and Chaung Wang. “Impact of Single-Sex Instruction on Student Motivation to Learn Spanish.” Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics/Revue canadienne de linguistique appliquée, vol. 12, no. 2, 2009, pp. 54–78. Impact of Single-Sex Instruction on Student Motivation to Learn Spanish Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics/Revue canadienne de linguistique appliquée 12 54 78 Google Scholar

Kissau, Scott, Lan Quach Kolano, and Chuang Wang. “Perceptions of Gender Differences in High School Students’ Motivation to Learn Spanish.” Foreign Language Annals, vol. 43, no. 4, 2010, pp. 703–721. Perceptions of Gender Differences in High School Students’ Motivation to Learn Spanish Foreign Language Annals 43 703 721 Google Scholar

Knisely, Kris. “Language Learning and the Gendered Self: The Case of French and Masculinity in a US Context.” Gender and Language, vol. 10, no. 2, 2016, 216–239. Language Learning and the Gendered Self: The Case of French and Masculinity in a US Context Gender and Language 10 216 239 Google Scholar

Knisely, Kris, and Stefanie Wind. “Gendered Language Attitudes: Exploring Language as a Gendered Construct Using Rasch Measurement Theory.” Journal of Applied Measurement, vol. 16, no. 1, 2015, pp. 95–112. Gendered Language Attitudes: Exploring Language as a Gendered Construct Using Rasch Measurement Theory Journal of Applied Measurement 16 95 112 Google Scholar

Kramsch, Claire. The Multilingual Subject: What Foreign Language Learners Say about their Experience and Why it Matters. Oxford UP, 2009. The Multilingual Subject: What Foreign Language Learners Say about their Experience and Why it Matters Google Scholar

Lepettit, Daniel. “La Représentation (très) féminine du FLE: une réponse à F. Lévy.” French Review, vol. 68, no. 6, 1995, pp. 976–989. La Représentation (très) féminine du FLE: une réponse à F. Lévy French Review 68 976 989 Google Scholar

Macaulay, Ronald. “The Myth of Female Superiority in Language.” Journal of Child Language, vol. 5, no. 2, 1978, pp. 353–363. The Myth of Female Superiority in Language Journal of Child Language 5 353 363 Google Scholar

Michelson, Kristen, and Beatrice Dupuy. “Multi-Storied Lives: Global Simulation as an Approach to Developing Multiliteracies in an Intermediate French Course.” L2 Journal, vol. 6, no. 1, 2014, pp. 21–49. Multi-Storied Lives: Global Simulation as an Approach to Developing Multiliteracies in an Intermediate French Course L2 Journal 6 21 49 Google Scholar

National Center for Educational Statistics. Digest of Education Statistics 2010 (NCES 2011-015), compiled by Thomas Snyder and Sally Dillow. Institute of Education Science, US Department of Education, 2011. Google Scholar

Netten, Joan Elizabeth, Cheryl Riggs, and Scott Hewlett. Choosing French in the Senior High School: Grade 9 Student Attitudes to the Study of French in the Western Avalon School District. Memorial University, Faculty of Education, 1999. Choosing French in the Senior High School: Grade 9 Student Attitudes to the Study of French in the Western Avalon School District Google Scholar

Paige, R. Michael, editor. Education for the Intercultural Experience. Intercultural Press, Inc., 1993. Education for the Intercultural Experience Google Scholar

Pascoe, C. J. Dude, you’re a Fag. U of California P, 2007. Dude, you’re a Fag Google Scholar

Pavlenko, Aneta, Adrian Blackledge, Ingrid Piller, and Marya Teutsch-Dwyer, editors. Multilingualism, Second Language Learning, and Gender. Mouton de Gruyter, 2001. Multilingualism, Second Language Learning, and Gender Google Scholar

Provencher, Denis. “One in Ten: Teaching Tolerance for (Class) Difference, Ambiguity, and Queerness in the Culture Classroom.” Resilience: Queer Professors from the Working Class, edited by Kenneth Oldfield and Richard Gregory Johnson III, SUNY Press, 2008, pp. 63–81. One in Ten: Teaching Tolerance for (Class) Difference, Ambiguity, and Queerness in the Culture Classroom Resilience: Queer Professors from the Working Class 63 81 Google Scholar

Provencher, Denis. Queer French: Globalization, Language, and Sexual Citizenship in France. Routledge, 2016. Queer French: Globalization, Language, and Sexual Citizenship in France Google Scholar

Rochefort, Philippe. “The image of France: Le Figaro as cited on Understand France.” www.understandfrance.org/Documents/MoreFacts.html. 1 September 2016. Google Scholar

Rosello, Mireille. “‘Get Out of Here!’: Modern Gay Queer Languages in the 1990s.” Canadian Review of Comparative Literature/Revue Canadienne de Littérature Comparée, vol. 21, no. 1, 1994, pp. 149–168. ‘Get Out of Here!’: Modern Gay Queer Languages in the 1990s Canadian Review of Comparative Literature/Revue Canadienne de Littérature Comparée 21 149 168 Google Scholar

Rosenthal, Alan. “The Gender Coded Stereotype: An American Perception of France and the French.” French Review, vol. 72, no. 5, 1999, pp. 897–908. The Gender Coded Stereotype: An American Perception of France and the French French Review 72 897 908 Google Scholar

Santoni, Georges. “Laurence Wylie: The French Civilization Course.” Société et culture de la France contemporaine, edited by Georges Santoni, SUNY Press, 1981, pp. 1–63. Laurence Wylie: The French Civilization Course Société et culture de la France contemporaine 1 63 Google Scholar

Tamasi, Susan, and Lamont Antieau. Language and Linguistic Diversity in the United States. Routledge, 2014. Language and Linguistic Diversity in the United States Google Scholar

Taylor, Alison. “Boy-Free Zone?” Language Learning Journal, vol. 21, no. 1, 2000, pp. 3–7. Boy-Free Zone? Language Learning Journal 21 3 7 Google Scholar

United States Census Bureau. 2009 American Community Survey, compiled by Julie Siebens and Camille Ryan. United States Census Bureau, 2012. Google Scholar

Vaïsse, Justin. “États-Unis: Le regain francophobe.” Politique internationale, 2002, pp. 97–116. États-Unis: Le regain francophobe Politique internationale 97 116 Google Scholar

Van Houtte, Mieke. “Gender Context of the School and Study Culture, or How the Presence of Girls Affects the Achievement of Boys.” Educational Studies, vol. 30, no. 4, 2004, pp. 409–423. Gender Context of the School and Study Culture, or How the Presence of Girls Affects the Achievement of Boys Educational Studies 30 409 423 Google Scholar

Williams, Marion, Robert Burden, and Ursula Lanvers. “‘French is the language of love and stuff’: Student Perceptions of Issues Related to Motivation in Learning a Foreign Language.” British Educational Research Journal, vol. 28, no. 4, 2002, pp. 503–528. ‘French is the language of love and stuff’: Student Perceptions of Issues Related to Motivation in Learning a Foreign Language British Educational Research Journal 28 503 528 Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Knisely, Kris Aric