LANGUAGE USE SURVEY
25-08-1998. Some amendments added in September 2002, marked in brown.
Corsican language use survey
Corsica has a population of a little more than a quarter of a million (253,992). The fragile nature of the economy accounts for the high tendency for out-migration, mainly to the larger urban centres of France. This has been balanced by the in-migration of French citizens since the second world war, many of them after the withdrawal of France from Algeria and others to take advantage of the development of the island's tourist industry. Half of the population live in urban centres (with less than 50,000 inhabitants) and the other half live in small villages and rural locations. A survey undertaken by INSEE in 1980 suggested that about 70% of the population had a knowledge of Corsican.
This survey was carried out by drawing the 300 interviews from a quota sample at 10 different sampling points scattered throughout the island. Each sampling point was allocated a quota of 30 respondents distributed by reference to age, gender, and social class. The total distribution was as follows (table 1):
|TABLE 1: SOCIAL CLASS|
|Gender: Male||Gender: Female|
Upper class - Professional, skilled non-manual, clerical.
Lower class - skilled manual, semi-skilled manual, unskilled
Other - housewife, student, retired, military.
The socio-professional categories used are those as defined in the 1982 PCS nomenclature (see Alain Desrosières & Laurent Thévenot, Les catégories socio professionnelles, ed. la Découverte, collection Repères, 1988).
The field work was undertaken in 1997 by a team of teacher trainees studying in the "filière Etudes Corses" at the University of Corsica at Corti under the supervision of Georges Moracchini (maître de conférence HDR).
The population interviewed was largely endogamous as regards locality (table 2), with 81% of the respondents living in the same department as they were born. Of the remainder, 17% or 51 respondents, were born in mainland France or abroad - 18 of them having moved to Corsica to live as children and 29 having made the move as adults. This should be kept in mind when referring to the following data. Furthermore, 24% of respondents, 23% of their parents and 21% of their partners had lived either in France or abroad during their life. What stands out is the high degree of trans-generational endogamy and the marked tendency for marriages to focus upon the same locality (60% of partners being from the same place).
|Corsican & French||91||30%|
Forty percent of the respondents claimed Corsican as the 'first language learned' while a further 30% claimed both French and Corsican as indistinguishable in this respect (table 3). The vast majority (92%) of respondents learnt Corsican through family and friends (entourage), whilst 12% learnt at school, and 9% at their workplace. A total of 7% had learnt Corsican on a course, through political activities or by other means. Unsurprisingly, 77% of respondents claimed that they had learnt Corsican for family / personal reasons, and 53% due to general interest. 9% had learnt Corsican so as to integrate into the local community, 4% for work reasons and 2% as it was obligatory in school.
The data in table 4 confirms the preceding information about local endogamy and establishes that the degree of language group endogamy is also high:
calculated on valid cases (excluding n/a)
At the grandparental generation and the parental generation there is a very high degree of Corsican language competence. This is retained by reference to the siblings of the respondent.
However it is also clear from a comparison of tables 4 and 5 that there has been a marked improvement in the French language ability between the grandparental and parental generations, at least in the opinion of the respondents. By the parental generation the majority are fluent in both languages, this improving still further by the following generation. This is of relevance for the data concerning the first language learnt in table 3 which suggests that some families have recently being incorporating French into their language practice in the home.
The self-report of language ability by the respondents is shown in table 6:
Whilst the level of competence in French is universally high across all of the four abilities listed above, it can be seen that this is not the case for the Corsican language. While 78% of respondents had a high level of understanding of Corsican, the figures dropped to 66% of respondents who are fluent in the language. A further 45% of respondents claimed to have little/no ability in reading Corsican and 69% to have little/no writing ability in Corsican.
The respondents were asked if they would like to learn/improve their knowledge of the Corsican language, and whilst this question was intended towards those who have little understanding or speaking ability in Corsican, 44% of all the respondents replied that they would like to improve their Corsican ability, with the majority of indicating that they would like to learn/improve their reading and/or writing skills.
|Both, mostly Corsican||63||21%|
|Both, mostly French||24||8%|
Table 8: RESPONDENT'S LANGUAGE USE WITH FAMILY AS A CHILD
(Percentatges calculated on valid cases (excluding n/a)
In Table 7, it can be seen that there was a high degree of Corsican used between the respondent's parents, much more so than French. Over 70% claimed that Corsican was the main language used between their parents and half claimed that it was the only language used. On the other hand a quarter claimed the exclusivity or dominance of French between their parents.
Table 8 indicates the use of the respective languages with family members when the respondent was a child. While 57% of respondents who responded would speak with their grandparents in Corsican, this figure falls to 40% with their parents and 35% with their siblings. The use of French can be seen to steadily rise down the generations, with 22% speaking French with their grandparents, 28% with their parents and 33% speaking French with their siblings. There is also however, a rise in the number who speak both languages with their family down the generations, i.e. 18% speak both languages with their grandparents, 30% with their parents and 32% with their siblings. Therefore, French is being spoken more in the family with the younger generations, but there is also a high degree of both languages being used, rather than Corsican being completely excluded. It is also interesting to note the slightly higher numbers of women in the younger generations (mother and sister) with whom the respondent speaks French.
This can be compared with the current language use with family members (table 9):
Table 9: RESPONDENT'S CURRENT LANGUAGE USE WITH FAMILY
|With father||65 / 44%||43 / 26%||39 / 29%||1 / 1%||152|
|With mother||75 / 43%||44 / 32%||56 / 25%||1 / 1%||124|
|With partner||31 / 15%||120 / 28%||59 / 57%||1 / 1%||89|
|With children||10 / 6%||108 / 31%||53 / 63%||0 / 0%||129|
|With in-laws||45 / 30%||59 / 29%||43 / 40%||1 / 1%||152|
on valid cases (excluding n/a)
Almost half of the respondents use Corsican exclusively with their father and a further 31% use both languages with their father. This is not too dissimilar from the figures reported in the preceding table. The use of Corsican with mothers is similar, and French is used slightly less; the comparison over time holds up here again. Table 10 gives an indication of the language ability of the respondents' partners:
Evidently the respondents' have tended to marry inside the language group, with fewer than 15% of the partners having a low degree of Corsican language competence. However, returning to table 9 we find that only 15% of respondents use Corsican exclusively with their partners while 28% use only French, and, with one exception, the remainder use both languages. These figures are significantly lower than might be predicted from competence abilities of the two partners. Only 6% of the respondents use Corsican exclusively with their children and almost a third use French exclusively. The figures for use with in-laws are much closer to the figures for use with parents. Evidently there are profound inter-generational changes in the use of language within the family under way, changes which do not derive merely from competence levels.
These figures can be compared with what the respondent claims is the use pattern of their partner for the same dyadic family relationships (table 11):
The figures for use with parents are slightly higher than for the respondent, this also being true for use with in-laws. They also report a greater use of Corsican and less use of French with their children for their partner. The same is true of the reported use of language between partners. It is hardly surprising therefore that the reported use of Corsican between children is so low (table 12):
|Most often French||30||10%||25%|
|Equally French & Corsican||46||15%||38%|
Only three respondents reported the children using Corsican exclusively together while almost 60% claimed that French was the predominant language between their children. On the other hand those respondents who were grandparents claimed that they use more Corsican with their grandchildren (table 13):
|Corsican & French||45||67%|
While the respondent is most likely to speak with his/her grand-children in both languages, they are also twice as likely to speak French with them as they are Corsican, once again illustrating the decreasing use of the language, as compared to the amount of Corsican the respondent would speak with his/her grand-parents.
Table 14 indicates the language used to open telephone conversations. It indicates that there is a greater tendency to use Corsican than French at home when compared with the use at work. However the majority avoid this issue merely by using a greeting which transcends language, and virtually none reply consistently in Corsican.
|French > Corsican||33||11%||23||12%|
|French = Corsican||35||12%||11||5%|
|Corsican > French||19||6%||7||3%|
|Only say "allo"||115||40%||69||35%|
The data pertaining to the family suggests an increasing use of French over time. Evidently the respondent is aware of which language s/he is using. However within bilingual populations there are always cases of the use of calques or lexical inclusion and this is also evident for this population (table 15). In this case, it seems that when French is spoken, at least 40% of the respondents will often use Corsican words and phrases, while 32% will also often use words and phrases of Corsican origin. The reverse is not true, only 16% of the respondents will use French words and phrases when speaking Corsican. Thus, although the use of Corsican seems to be in decline, especially among the younger generation, and more people are speaking Corsican and French, rather than purely Corsican, the Corsican language seems to have pervaded more into the use of French, rather than vice versa.
|When I speak French, I use Corsican words and phrases||35||12%||86||29%||74||25%||47||16%||55||19%||3|
|When I speak French, I use words and phrases of Corsican origin||19||7%||77||27%||80||28%||47||16%||64||22%||13|
|When I speak Corsican, I use French words and phrases||7||3%||42||16%||84||32%||41||15%||92||35%||34|
|When I speak Corsican, I use words and phrases of another language||1||0%||12||5%||40||16%||28||11%||170||68%||49|
As we have seen, there is a tendency to speak both Corsican and French, especially with children, and the above table gives us an insight into the use of both languages together.
Tables 16 and 17 give a clear indication of the perceived change in the incidence and context of language use within the community. It is evident that the recall of childhood experience suggests that the use of Corsican was widespread across numerous community related contexts. It was "often" heard by over 90% of respondents in general conversation, among old people, among farmers, and by over 80% in local shops, cafés and the market. While the incidence was less it was also widely reported as used in formal contexts of religion, officialdom and social institutions. The current conception is different, with all of these contexts showing a decline. On the other hand the change is always not perceived as large. The use among older people, farmers and in cafés is perceived as having decreased only slightly. The most marked perceived drops are recorded in the frequent use of Corsican in the shops, the local council and, above all, the church:
|As a child||Currently|
We can now consider the nature and incidence of language use in present-day community activities (table 18):
If we limit ourselves to dicussing only those activities performed by more than 40 respondents, and rank them by decreasing use of Corsican, we find the following:
Few of the activities are of relevance to very many of the respondents. The exceptions are the expected - friendship networks and the context of their implementation, and religious activities. It is also clear that there is a general split between those community activities conducted in one language or the other, though at least half of the respondents report the use of both languages in 6 of the 12 activities. French is the dominant language for most sporting activities. However football is a context for the use of Corsican and the language does seem to play a role within some sports clubs even if it is a secondary role. The converse - those contexts in which the use of Corsican prevails - involve the informal sporting activities of hunting and fishing and cultural activities that transcend folk singing, theatre, etc. Politics is one of the contexts within which the use of both Corsican and French is very widely reported. We will turn to the religious context in a moment. The incidence of involvement in specific community activities is revealed in table 19:
It appears that the majority of the respondents only attend religious and cultural activities within the community. In many respects this confirms the impression obtained from the high number of 'not applicable' answers received by reference to the questions relating to the data in table 18.
The picture for children's activities is given in table 20:
Looking now just at the activities cited by at least 30 respondents, the following children's activities remain. They have been ranked in increasing monolingual use of French.
In some respects it resembles the picture for the more general population albeit that the incidence of the use of French is higher. The use of French is low for Corsican cultural activities, fishing and hunting, but the state language predominates in religious activities, and most sporting activities other than football, where there is the reported use of both languages by half the respondents.
The incidence and extent of religious participation is not as high as might be expected (table 21) with only 8% of the respondents reporting regular attendance and twice as many claiming that they never attend religious activities. Among the remaining respondents the involvement was sporadic at best.
|Only for social ceremonies||133||44|
This information gives context to the information given in table 22 about the language of religious activities:
|Sermon||Public prayer||Private prayer||Reading||Hymns|
|Corsican & French||16||16||25||13||27|
|Corsican & Latin||0||0||0||0||11|
|French & Latin||3||3||2||3||3|
|French, Corsican & Latin||0||1||0||0||3|
|Sermon||Public prayer||Private prayer||Reading||Hymns|
|Corsican & French||9%||9%||14%||7%||15%|
|Corsican & Latin||0%||0%||0%||0%||6%|
|French & Latin||2%||2%||1%||2%||2%|
|French, Corsican & Latin||0%||1%||0%||0%||2%|
Evidently the Church in Corsica is very much a French national and language institution, offering minimal support by reference to Corsican language activities. Indeed the use of Latin appears to be as relevant as that of Corsican. This contrasts with many other minority language groups where the religious institutions tends to be the main agency of minority language group production and reproduction. It is only by reference to hymn singing that Corsican is given a predominant role.
We can now turn to the social networks of the respondents (tables 23 and 24). It is evident that most of the respondents turn in circles where the incidence of competence in Corsican is high. Most of their friends speak the language as do most of their neighbours. The people whom they meet in the cafés and bars also tend to be Corsican-speakers. This seems to imply that the perception of the respondents is that the incidence of Corsican language ability across most communities is high. In the absence of any official census this is probably the clearest available picture of Corsican ability currently available. On the other hand shop workers display a lower incidence of Corsican ability, at least in the opinion of the respondents. However, even here almost three quarters of the respondents believe that half or more of this group speak Corsican. The same is true of sporting activities. Given the information presented above it is not surprising that the perceived ability of those involved in cultural activities is significantly higher with over half of the respondents claiming that all or most of those involved were Corsican-speakers and most of the others claiming that more than half of those involved were Corsican-speakers.
The same is true of sporting activities. Given the information presented above it is not surprising that the perceived ability of those involved in cultural activities is significantly higher with over half of the respondents claiming that all or most of those involved were Corsican-speakers and most of the others claiming that more than half of those involved were Corsican-speakers.
Turning to the incidence of use of Corsican by those involved in these activities we find that the incidence of use is somewhat less than might be predicted from the perceived competence. Thus whereas more than 60% claimed that most or all of their friends spoke Corsican fewer than 25% claimed that they used the language exclusively with their friends while slightly more than a quarter claimed to use more Corsican than French with their friends. The picture is not too dissimilar for cafe based interaction. Here 64% claimed that all or most of their interlocutors spoke Corsican whereas only 20% use Corsican exclusively in this context but 60% do use either Corsican exclusively or more Corsican than French with their friends in the cafes. Whereas over half of the respondents claimed that all or most of their neighbours spoke Corsican and almost three quarters claimed that more than half of their neighbours speak the language only 13% use the language exclusively with neighbours and fewer than half use Corsican more than they do French with their neighbours. It is the more formal interactional context of the shops that we see the main difference. Whereas almost half of the respondents claim that the majority of shop workers speak Corsican fewer than a quarter claimed to use more Corsican than French in the shops, and almost as many used French exclusively in this context. The leisure activities of sport and cultural activities are also revealing. More than three quarters of the respondents claimed that the majority of those involved in cultural activities spoke Corsican but only half claimed to use more Corsican than French in these activities. On the other hand only 13% claimed to use French exclusively in cultural activities. Finally, almost a half of the respondents claimed that of the interlocutors in sporting activities the majority spoke Corsican whereas only one respondent claimed to use Corsican exclusively in sporting activities and a further 21% claimed to use more Corsican than French. Evidently across most of these activities the use of Corsican is less than what seems to be possible.
Corsican is the dominant language used in the respondents social networks, but again, French is the main language of private businesses (shops and sports facilities).
This picture can now be expanded to incorporate the use of Corsican within a range of different daily activities. The following table (table 25) indicates where the respondent feels that the ability of the interlocutor makes the use of Corsican possible or not, and the extent to which the language is used with that person (ranked by the percentage answers to the effect that they can speak Corsican in each circumstance):
& I do
|Hi-fi / TV||43||48||32||81||96||65%||60%|
Note: the last
two columns are calculated on the basis of valid replies only:
"I can't", "I can & I do" and "I can
The first thing to note is that there are a range of interlocutors encountered by the respondents where the ability in Corsican is widespread. These involve contexts such as incidental shopping, the buying of petrol and car repair, the café or bar, and the local authorities. Fewer than 10% of those who responded to the respective contexts claimed that they were unable to use Corsican in these situations. At the other extreme are contexts in which the interlocutor is likely to be unable to speak Corsican. These include state service providers including the police, telephone operators, tax officers, driving test and the electricity service. In all of these cases over half of the relevant respondents claimed that they were unable to use Corsican (presumably because of the low competence in Corsican of interlocutors). Between these two extremes are the professionals - doctors, ANPE/ASSEDIC (employment offices), dentists, librarians, schoolteachers, lawyers, bankers, opticians and social workers - where the incidence of inability ranges between 21% and 48%. Also within this range are a series of public and private services including taxi, hairdresser, restaurants, washing machine repair, hi-fi and television sales and repair, water company and the post office; and sporting activities. Also 25% indicated that their local priest did not speak Corsican. What is clear is that those activities which take the individual outside of their immediate locality or neighbourhood cannot be guaranteed to enable the individual to use Corsican. This means that language use becomes a localised activity.
Turning to the incidence of use where it is possible we find that the pattern is broadly similar. With the localised services where the respondent knows that the interlocutor is likely to be able to speak Corsican over 80% claim that they will use the language. This involves local services and social networks. It is here that the use of Corsican is institutionalised as community behaviour. At the other extreme are formal situations, especially those which carry authority. Thus even when they know that the policeman/woman speaks Corsican fewer than a third of the respondents will use the language, hardly a situation conducive to effective policing and the provision of the associated services to the public. Similar levels are found by reference to ANPE/ASSEDIC, social workers, taxation office, telephone operators and electricity services. This does not appear to be influenced by the social status of the interlocutor since intermediate levels of use where possible apply to professionals such as doctors, dentists, librarians etc. Somewhat disturbing is the relatively low level of use with schoolteachers, only slightly more than half claiming to use Corsican with teachers even when they know that s/he speaks Corsican. We will return to this point below.
When asked what happens if a non-Corsican-speaker is in a group conversing in Corsican 5% claimed that the person's inability would be ignored and the conversation would continue in Corsican. On the other hand 62% claimed that the conversation would switch to French, and the remainder were unsure. They were also asked about what was embarrassing about speaking Corsican. The majority (73%) claimed no sense of embarrassment, a further 13% expressed a fear of making a mistake in the language, 8% the fear of not being understood. This corresponded with the response to a question concerning the incidence of feeling embarrassed when using Corsican to which 56% claimed they were never embarrassed, 18% that they were rarely embarrassed, 12% that they were sometimes embarrassed and 6% who claimed that they were always or often embarrassed when using the language.
In table 26 we discuss the extent of Corsican which the respondents received in their own education.
Evidently few were taught their mother tongue in their formal education. Where they did this occurred at the secondary level and in almost all cases involved little more than teaching Corsican 'as a subject'. Almost 70% of respondents did not receive any Corsican language tuition during the course of their education claiming that provision "did not exist", and 11% due to the fact that they "didn't live in Corsica".
Table 27 suggests that the situation does seem to be improving somewhat.
Table 27: CHILDREN OF RESPONDENTS WHO RECEIVE/D CORSICAN LANGUAGE TUITION AT SCHOOL (N = 336)
It is evident that for most respondents the choice of language for their children's education simply did not exist (table 28):
|No choice, French only||100||64%||82||54%||61||44%||50||42%|
|No choice, Corsican taught||17||11%||25||16%||11||8%||10||8%|
|Requested otherwise but Corsican enforced||0||0%||0||0%||0||0%||0||0%|
|Requested Corsican, but absent||5||3%||4||3%||3||2%||4||3%|
Two thirds claimed an absence of any possibility of Corsican medium education at the nursery level even though it was available through the medium of the state language. At the primary level this figure reduces to 54% and to 44% at the secondary level. Clearly the issue of continuity within education arises. Few of the respondents claimed that they had 'no preference' by reference to the choice of language of their children's education but it is equally clear that such choice by reference to Corsican is extremely limited. There has been an improvement in bilingual provision at the secondary level but only in certain locations.
Some indication of what these changes mean can be gleaned from a scrutiny of the contents of table 29:
Table 29: LANGUAGE OF CHILDREN'S SCHOOL SUBJECTS
|Corsican||Cors / Fr||French||Other|
|Physics & Chemistry||0||0%||0||0%||151||100%||0||0%|
No mention is made of Corsican by reference to most subjects. Indeed a third of the recipient's were even taught Corsican through the medium of French! Thus it would appear that 'bilingual education' is restricted to the more culturally based activities of poetry and singing, and in comptines (counting rhymes). A clearer indication of dividing provision by language into those areas associated with reason and those associated with emotion - the characteristic division of the focus on rationality in the Enlightenment could scarcely be desired.
Table 30: JUDGMENT OF CHILDREN'S CORSICAN TUITION
|Profitable||Not profitable||Don't know|
On the other hand the respondents children's school tuition in the Corsican language is generally deemed to be profitable (table 30). Yet there is a significant proportion who do not feel themselves sufficiently competent to pass judgement.
Radio Corsica Frequenza Mora, part of the state broadcasting systembroadcasts about 30 hours of Corsican weekly and is estimated to have an audience of about 30% of the population. In addition Alta Frequenza broadcasts a further 40 hours and the co-operative radio Voce Nustrale and private radio also provide a Corsican language service. Television transmission in Corsican is limited to 40 minutes weekly. The use made of this and the French language provision by the respondents is given in table 31:
|Up to 1 hour||81||136||69||11|
|Up to 2 hours||62||56||67||38|
|+ 2 hours||6||17||58||210|
|Up to 1 hour||30%||49%||25%||4%|
|Up to 2 hours||23%||20%||24%||14%|
|+ 2 hours||2%||6%||21%||76%|
While it is evident that the respondents us the French language media more than they do the Corsican language services this is not surprising given the difference in provision with the French language service being far broader, diverse and extensive. The majority of the respondents do make some use of the Corsican language facilities especially on television (only 24% claim not to watch these programmes).
There is a limited amount of Corsican language publication but it amounts to little more than a book a month and many of these books tend to have a limited audience. There are also a certain number of journals such as Scontru published exclusively in Corsican and it has been estimated that these have a circulation of about 5,000. More popular are the bilingual publications such as U Ribombu which has a circulation of 20,000. Among the periodicals Arritti has a weekly circulation of 20,000, a figure similar to the cultural and literary journal Rigiru. These figures are relatively high when we consider the relative absence of Corsican from the educational system and the associated low level of Corsican literacy within the general population. It is this which accounts for the low incidence of the use of Corsican books and periodicals in the following table (table 32):
Nonetheless the data does indicate that almost a half of the respondents do read Corsican language materials. Table 33 indicates the strong expression of dissatisfaction with the current level of provision and there is a clear indication of the need for expanding the existing situation.
Some of the preceding data has pointed to the centrality of music for activities which are identified as being specifically Corsican. This is confirmed in table 34:
Table 34: MUSIC MEDIA EXPOSURE
in the car
in the car
in the car
in the car
in the car
in the car
Corsican music is listened to more than music in French or any other language. Singing is obviously an important part of Corsican life, and this is not insignificant in relation to language related activities.
THE WORLD OF WORK
It is evident from tables 35 and 36 that most of the respondents in employment work for Corsican SMEs:
|Corsica, not local||42||22%|
|France, not Corsica||43||22%|
|25 - 50||18||10%||13||8%|
|51 - 250||17||10%||7||5%|
Fewer than a quarter worked for companies owned outside of the island and slightly more than a quarter worked for companies employing more than 24 employees.Almost two thirds of the company presidents were Corsican and 60% of the respondents who claimed to know reported that the company president was a fluent Corsican-speaker (table 37).
Table 37: NATIONALITY AND LANGUAGE OF COMPANY PRESIDENT
|French, not Corsican||67||36%||Some||17||10%|
This is reiterated in table 38 which indicates that almost 60% of respondents claim that most of the directors of the companies for which they work speak Corsican, with two thirds of respondents claiming that most of their colleagues speak Corsican, that over half of their clients and suppliers speak the language. That is, the conditions for the use of the language at work certainly exist.
Table 38: CORSICAN ABILITY OF CO-WORKERS
|All / most||> 50%||50%||<50%||Few / none|
|All / most||> 50%||50%||<50%||Few / none|
However when we turn to consider the language used with co-workers (table 39) the exclusive use of Corsican at work is very low. Almost two thirds claim to use French exclusively or mainly with company directors, more than fifty percent have the same practice with suppliers, and over 40% have the same pattern of use with clients and co-workers. It is only with colleagues that even a third of respondents claimed that Corsican was the main language of interaction.
Table 39: LANGUAGE USE WITH CO-WORKERS
It is hardly surprising therefore that the use of Corsican for different functions by the employers is so limited (table 40):
Table 40: EMPLOYERS' USE OF CORSICAN AT WORK
|With direct public relations||7||5%||126||95%|
|With customer contacts||6||5%||127||95%|
|In company general policy||5||4%||121||96%|
|In personnel supervision||3||2%||125||98%|
|To answer the telephone||2||2%||128||98%|
It is equally clear from table 41 that Corsican is incidental to these companies, very few of which have any explicit policy towards the language:
Table 41: COMPANY'S WRITTEN CORSICAN/ BILINGUAL LANGUAGE POLICY
|Yes, fully operational||4||2%|
|Yes, partly operational||10||6%|
|Yes, but not operational||7||4%|
Similarly few respondents claimed that there was a particular tendency among employers to recruit Corsican-speakers (table 42). Evidently the language has little explicitly perceived significance for economic practice.
Table 42: COMPANY'S EMPLOYMENT POLICY
Given this context the following figures are somewhat perplexing (table 43):
Table 43: IMPORTANCE OF CORSICAN AND FRENCH IN WORK
It is obviously perceived to be more important to be fluent in all aspects of French when it comes to employment. However almost a quarter of the respondents claimed that speaking and understanding Corsican was essential for their employment, and only a third maintained that an understanding and speaking ability was irrelevant to their work.
ATTITUDES AND IDENTITY
We now turn to a
consideration of self-identity and attitudes towards Corsican and
being Corsican. In table 44 we find that almost 90% claim a
Corsican identity whereas only 58% claim French identity. That is
for many there is the possibility of a double identity
encompassing the state and the region. However there is a
significant minority who reject the state identity in favour of
the Corsican identity. A total of 153 claimed French and Corsican
identity whereas 111 claimed Corsican but not a French identity
and 23 claimed a French but not a Corsican identity. Since only
28% claimed a European identity the possibility of multiple
identities is limited. Indeed only 51 claimed all three
identities. The data does not allow us to pursue this issue
However table 45 does allow us to break down some of the issues related to such identity structures:
Table 45: ATTITUDE SCALES
|To get on, there are more valuable languages to learn than Corsican||-||71||108||55||44||19||3||3,57|
|It is a good idea to give privilege to Corsican||+||137||102||44||12||2||3||4,21|
|Corsican is a dying language||-||72||83||38||86||21||0||3,33|
|Corsica would not be Corsica without Corsican-speaking people||+||204||73||13||8||2||0||4,56|
|You are considered a lower class person if you speak Corsican||-||2||4||36||110||148||0||1,67|
|In order to work in the public sector in Corsica, one should be able to speak Corsican||+||60||85||85||45||25||0||3,37|
|Corsican has no place in the modern world||-||13||18||47||112||110||0||2,04|
|It is essential that children in Corsica learn Corsican||+||203||55||31||6||4||1||4,49|
|The Corsican language cannot be made suitable for business and science||-||14||18||85||96||85||2||2,26|
|Speaking Corsican allows people to get promotion in their jobs||+||7||9||80||118||86||0||2,11|
|Most people view things associated with Corsican as old-fashioned||-||18||71||58||112||41||0||2,71|
|Speaking Corsican is a fad||-||10||24||39||132||93||2||2,08|
|Corsican is not a language like others||-||30||39||33||112||86||0||2,38|
|Non-Corsicans don't understand anything about the problems of the Corsican language||-||74||60||71||80||15||0||3,33|
|It's important to have place-names on road-signs in Corsican||+||143||83||50||13||11||0||4,11|
Once ranked in order of decreasing favourability, the result is as follows:
agreement with which
indicates a positive attitude
|a. Most agree with the following:|
|Corsica would not be Corsica without Corsican-speaking people||68%||24%||4%||3%||1%||4·56|
|It is essential that children in Corsica learn Corsican||68%||18%||10%||2%||1%||4·49|
|It is a good idea to give privilege to Corsican||46%||34%||15%||4%||1%||4·21|
|It's important to have place-names on road-signs in Corsican||48%||28%||17%||4%||4%||4·11|
|In order to work in the public sector in Corsica, one should be able to speak Corsican||20%||28%||28%||15%||8%||3·37|
|b. Most disagree with the following:|
|Speaking Corsican allows people to get promotion in their jobs||2%||3%||27%||39%||29%||2·11|
|Items agreement with which indicates a negative attitude||1
|a. Most agree with the following:|
|To get on, there are more valuable languages to learn than Corsican||24%||36%||19%||15%||6%||3·57|
|Corsican is a dying language||24%||28%||13%||29%||7%||3·33|
|Non-Corsicans don't understand anything about the problems of the Corsican language||25%||20%||24%||27%||5%||3·33|
|b. Most disagree with the following:|
|Most people view things associated with Corsican as old-fashioned||6%||24%||19%||37%||14%||2·71|
|Corsican is not a language like others||10%||13%||11%||37%||29%||2·38|
|The Corsican language cannot be made suitable for business and science||5%||6%||29%||32%||29%||2·26|
|Speaking Corsican is a fad||3%||8%||13%||44%||31%||2·08|
|Corsican has no place in the modern world||4%||6%||16%||37%||37%||2·04|
|You are considered a lower class person if you speak Corsican||1%||1%||12%||37%||49%||1·67|
1: ( - ) To get on, there are more valuable languages to learn than Corsican (Pour avancer, il y a d'autres langues a apprendre plus importantes que le Corse)
2: ( + ) It is a good idea to give privilege to Corsican (C'est une bonne idee de privilegier le Corsican)
3: ( - ) Corsican is a dying language (La langue Corse disparait)
4: ( + ) Corsica would not be Corsica without Corsican-speaking people (La Corse ne serait pas la Corse sans la langue Corse)
5: ( - ) You are considered a lower class person if you speak Corsican (Vous vous sentez deconsidere si vous parlez Corse)
6: ( + ) In order to work in the public sector in Corsica, one should be able to speak Corsican (Pour travailler dans le service public en Corse, on devrait parler Corse)
7: ( - ) Corsican has no place in the modern world (Le Corse n'a pas sa place dans le monde moderne)
8: ( + ) It is essential that children in Corsica learn Corsican (Il est essentiel que les enfant, en Corse, apprennent le Corse)
9: (- ) The Corsican language cannot be made suitable for business and science (Le Corse ne peut pas s'adapter aux affaires et a la science)
10: ( + ) Speaking Corsican allows people to get promotion in their jobs (Parler Corse permet de monter en grade au travail)
11: ( - ) Most people view things associated with Corsican as old-fashioned (La plupart des gens voient les choses associees a la langue Corse comme etant demodees)
12: ( - ) Speaking Corsican is a fad (Parler Corsican est une mode)
13: ( - ) Corsican is not a language like others (Le Corsican n'est pas une langue comme les autres)
14: ( - ) Non-Corsicans don't understand anything about the problems of the Corsican language (Les non Corses ne comprennent rien au probleme de la langue Corse)
15: ( + ) It's important to have place-names on road-signs in Corsican (Il est important d'afficher sur les panneaux routiers les noms de lieu en Corse)
There are six of the items (1, 3, 4, 9, 10, 13) which can broadly be taken to convey a perceived status of the language and its speakers. There is a tendency to feel that other languages are more valuable than Corsican for personal mobility, but a disagreement with the claim that it cannot be made appropriate for business or science. There is also an awareness that Corsican is of little value for social mobility. On the other hand there is a very strong feeling that it is an essential ingredient of Corsica being what it is, and there is a clear rejection of the claim that Corsican does not warrant the status of a language. Nonetheless the opinion about it being a dying language is split, with slightly more tending to agree than to disagree with this statement. A separate, unscaled, question was asked which throws further light on this data. Almost 70% expressed strong feelings for the language in the abstract while fewer than 10% expressed weak feelings or indifference.
A further three items (5, 7, 11) broadly convey an understanding of the relationship between the Corsican language and identity. There is a very strong rejection of the suggestion of a correlation between competence in Corsican and lower class status, that the language is perceived as being non-modern or outmoded.
Five items (2, 6, 8, 12, 15) pertain to action vis-à-vis its status. There is a strong feeling that Corsican should be given priority. This priority involves the importance of insuring that children learn the language, a statement which had strong support; and that Corsican language toponomy be introduced. Opinion was divided about improving the prestige of the language in the public sector with the balance moving in favour of those who support such action. There was a general expression of the feeling that support for Corsican was not merely a passing fad.
The remaining item (14) pertained to the perceived relationship between incomers and the language. Again opinion was divided but with the majority supporting the claim that incomers understanding nothing about the problems of the Corsican language.
Given this ambivalence about the status of the language and its speakers and what should be done about it, we can now turn to information about the perceived role and relevance of different agencies vis-à-vis these issues (table 46):
|Radio Corse FM||12||6||10||19||51||21||44||52||47||38||6,33|
|Radio Corse I||46||39||11||14||19||56||22||28||30||49||4,88|
The two agencies with the lowest perceived interest in the language are the central government and banks. In contrast the regional assembly and local officials are regarded as having a much stronger interest in the language. However the strongest support derives from the respondent him/herself, his/her family and friends. The Church is perceived to have even less interest in the language than private business and immigrants. The media in the form of political journals and newspapers are seen to have considerable interest, as do RCI and RCFM and FR3.
The picture that emerges is of a language group in the process of fairly rapid social change. There remains a strong basis for language reproduction within the local community but in-migration and the negative identity is having its effect. The change required in terms of other agencies of production and reproduction does not seem to be materialising. There are few developments in education and there are few indications that language prestige is likely to increase from its current low position.