The End of Empires and Some Linguistic Turns: British and French Language Policies in Inter- and Postwar Africa

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Abstract

This chapter analyzes language education in Anglo-French relations in Africa from the late-colonial era to the 1960s. First, I posit “linguistic containment”—the desire to contain the spread of Western languages—as a shared objective of interwar British and French policymakers, who wished to forestall political mobilizations by educated colonial subjects. Contact and collaboration helped to produce this intercolonial convergence. Second, I discuss growing British and French interest after 1945 in promoting English and French, respectively, in Africa. While support for Western-language education was initially a means of reforming colonial education, it was reinforced by decolonization, which spurred metropolitan elites to pursue new cultural and economic ties to their former colonies. Finally, the chapter discusses how this turn generated competition between the ex-colonial powers, with Britain riding the wave, only partly of its own making, of global English, while France looked to la francophonie to counterbalance Anglo-American influence in the decolonizing world.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBritish and French Colonialism in Africa, Asia and the Middle East: Connected Empires across the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Centuries
EditorsJames R. FICHTER
Place of PublicationBasingstoke
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Chapter13
Pages297-321
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)9783319979632, 9783319979649
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019

Publication series

NameCambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series book series (CIPCSS)

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  • Cite this

    LEMBERG, D. (2019). The End of Empires and Some Linguistic Turns: British and French Language Policies in Inter- and Postwar Africa. In J. R. FICHTER (Ed.), British and French Colonialism in Africa, Asia and the Middle East: Connected Empires across the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Centuries (pp. 297-321). (Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series book series (CIPCSS)). Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-97964-9_13