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Guardians of LanguageTwenty Voices Through History$
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Florian Coulmas

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198736523

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198736523.001.0001

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Léopold Sédar Senghor

Léopold Sédar Senghor

(p.275) Chapter 20 Léopold Sédar Senghor
Guardians of Language

Florian Coulmas

Oxford University Press

Léopold Sédar Senghor grew up in French West Africa, studied in France, became a French citizen, and, against his will, the first President of an independent Senegal. He embodied the tensions and contradictions of decolonization, especially in regard to language policy. In France, he was a member of the Negritude movement to promote recognition of African languages and culture, and in Senegal he became a founding member of Francophonie to promote French as the language of universal civilization. He made French Senegal’s official language, while designating some major indigenous languages as national languages. This chapter explains how the vagaries of his biography shaped his ideas about language and the language policy of his country.

Keywords:   Francophonie, Negritude, universal civilization, decolonization, French, African language, national language, official language

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