In this paper, I study the history of discourses celebrating multilingualism in French Louisiana, where they can be understood as strategies of resistance to hegemonic monolingual ideologies at a time where non-English language practices were increasingly construed as an act of anti-patriotism. By studying newspapers and periodicals from the Civil War and Reconstruction eras, I reflect on the nature and social consequences of those alternative ideologies of language: What assumptions about the nature of multilingualism and its role in society can be observed? Which political and economic interests and positions do they mediate, and which processes of differentiation do they help erase or construct? With what consequences for the speakers whose practices are under scrutiny or under critics?

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Language and Communication
Department of French

Urbain, E. (2016). Towards a “Bilingual American Citizen”: Language ideologies, citizenship and race in 19th century French Louisiana. Language and Communication, 51, 17–29. doi:10.1016/j.langcom.2016.07.006