CORSICAN LANGUAGE USE SURVEY
25-08-1998.
Some amendments added in September 2002, marked in brown.
http://www.uoc.edu/euromosaic/web/document/cors/an/e1/e1.html
 

Corsican language use survey

 

INTRODUCTION

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
Age Upper Lower Unemp. Other   Upper Lower Unemp. Other
18-24 3 5 1 2   4 4 1 1
25-29 8 7 0 0   10 8 0 0
30-39 23 11 0 0   16 10 1 1
40-49 16 15 0 2   23 9 0 1
50-64 23 13 2 2   18 8 1 10

65+

4

7

0

7

 

6

4

0

8

Missing: 5

Notes:
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).

ENDOGAMY
Table 2: Birthplace and residence
  Respondent
birthplace
Respondent
residence
Mother's
residence
Father's
residence
Partner's
residence
Same locality 197 294 295 294 198
Same district 18 28 29 30 25
Same dept. 28 64 55 51 47
Different dept. 6 14 10 10 16
France 42 58 56 47 30
Abroad 9 14 16 18 13
N/A 0 1 3 4 96


  Respondent
birthplace
Respondent
residence
Mother's
residence
Father's
residence
Partner's
residence
Same locality 66% 62% 64% 65% 60%
Same district 6% 6% 6% 7% 8%
Same dept. 9% 14% 12% 11% 14%
Different dept. 2% 3% 2% 2% 5%
France 14% 12% 12% 10% 9%
Abroad 3% 3% 4% 4% 4%

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).

COMPETENCE
Table 3: FIRST LANGUAGE LEARNT
  N %
Corsican

120

40%
Corsican & French 91 30%
French 83 28%
Other 5 2%
N/A 1 0%

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:

Table 4: CORSICAN ABILITY OF RESPONDENT'S RELATIVES
  Very
good
    Quite
good
    Little     None     N/A
Paternal grandparents 220 80%   9 3%   6 2%   41 15%   24
Maternal grandparents 224 80%   7 3%   3 1%   45 16%   21
Father 241 81%   16 5%   9 3%   30 10%   4
Mother 229 78%   22 8%   16 5%   28 10%   5
Brother 156 71%   30 14%   12 6%   21 10%   81
Sister 123 61%   39 19%   16 8%   25 12%   97

(Percentatges 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.

Table 5: RELATIVES' FRENCH ABILITY
  Very
good
    Quite
good
    Little     None     N/A
Paternal grandparents 85 31%   94 34%   54 20%   42 15%   25
Maternal grandparents 91 33%   103 37%   43 16%   39 14%   24
Father 191 65%   90 31%   10 3%   4 1%   5
Mother 198 67%   85 29%   9 3%   3 1%   5
Brother 178 82%   35 16%   0 0%   3 1%   84
Sister 180 88%   22 11%   0 0%   3 2%   95


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:

Table 6: RESPONDENTS' LANGUAGE ABILITY
CORSICAN   FRENCH
Understand Speak Read Write   Understand Speak Read Write
234 197 61 31 Very good 278 277 255 233
41 53 102 58 Quite good 19 21 39 58
11 29 74 84 Little 0 0 3 6
11 19 60 123 None 0 0 1 1
3 2 3 4 N/A 3 2 2 2


Understand Speak Read Write   Understand Speak Read Write
79% 66% 21% 11% Very good 94% 93% 86% 78%
14% 18% 34% 20% Quite good 6% 7% 13% 20%
4% 10% 25% 28% Little 0% 0% 1% 2%
4% 6% 20% 42% None 0% 0% 0% 0%

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.

FAMILY
Table 7: PARENTS' LANGUAGE WITH EACH OTHER
  N %
Corsican 151 50%
Both, mostly Corsican 63 21%
Both, mostly French 24 8%
French 51 17%
Other 8 3%
N/A 3 1%


Table 8: RESPONDENT'S LANGUAGE USE WITH FAMILY AS A CHILD

  Corsican     Corsican
& French
    French     Other     N/A
Paternal grandparents 142 58%   41 17%   53 22%   9 4%   55
Maternal grandparents 142 56%   47 19/   58 23%   6 2%   47
Father 124 42%   87 30%   77 26%   5 2%   7
Mother 113 38%   86 29%   89 30%   6 2%   6
Brother 79 36%   70 32%   66 30%   2 1%   83
Sister 67 33%   63 31%   72 35%   2 1%   96

(Percentatges calculated on valid cases (excluding n/a)


(See graph)

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

  Corsican Corsican
& French
French Other N/A
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

(Percentatges calculated on valid cases (excluding n/a)

(See graph)

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:

Table 10: PARTNERS' CORSICAN ABILITY
  N Valid %
Very good 139 63%
Quite good 50 23%
Little 23 10%
None 9 4%
N/A 79 -

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):

Table 11: PARTNERS' CURRENT LANGUAGE USE WITH FAMILY
  Corsican Corsican
& French
French Other N/A
With father 71 34 21 1 173
With mother 74 47 27 2 150
With in-laws 47 40 33 2 178
With respondent 42 113 37 1 107
With children 18 96 33 2 151
         
  Corsican Corsican
& French
French Other
With father 56% 27% 17% 1%
With mother 49% 31% 18% 1%
With in-laws 39% 33% 27% 2%
With respondent 22% 59% 19% 1%
With children 12% 64% 22% 1%

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):

Table 12: CHILDREN'S LANGUAGE WITH EACH OTHER
  N % Valid %
Always French 39 13% 33%
Most often French 30 10% 25%
Equally French & Corsican 46 15% 38%
Always Corsican 3 1% 2%
Other 2 1% 2%
N/A 180 60% -

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):

Table 13: RESPONDENTS' LANGUAGE WITH GRANDCHILDREN
  N Valid
%
Corsican 7 10%
Corsican & French 45 67%
French 16 23%
N/A 232 -

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.

Table 14: LANGUAGE IN OPEN TELEPHONE CONVERSATION
  At home
(N)
At home
(valid %)
  At work
(N)
At work
(valid %)
Always French 89 30%   88 44%
French > Corsican 33 11%   23 12%
French = Corsican 35 12%   11 5%
Corsican > French 19 6%   7 3%
Always Corsican 4 1%   1 1%
Only say "allo" 115 40%   69 35%
N/A 5 -   101 -

(See graph)

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.

Table 15: RESPONDENT'S LANGUAGE USE
  Always     Often     Sometimes     Rarely     Never     N/A
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.

COMMUNITY

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:

Table 16: CORSICAN HEARD SPOKEN IN COMMUNITY AS A CHILD
  Often Sometimes Rarely Never N/A
Conversation 246 18 2 0 34
Short conversation 243 16 2 1 38
Shops 225 35 4 1 35
Church 177 47 16 20 40
Local council 190 36 12 20 42
Clubs 102 31 21 55 91
At home 182 30 21 16 51
Cafes 223 14 5 10 48
Market 213 21 8 10 48
Farmers 245 13 1 3 38
Old people 255 9 1 1 34
Politicians 146 59 21 26 4

 

Table 17: CORSICAN PRESENTLY HEARD SPOKEN IN THE COMMUNITY
  Often Sometimes Rarely Never N/A
Conversation 223 67 8 2 0
Short conversation 217 68 10 2 3
Shops 152 121 22 4 1
Church 106 80 35 69 10
Local council 128 98 38 30 6
Clubs 68 74 39 65 54
At home 164 59 28 32 17
Cafes 218 51 3 9 19
Market 180 82 13 13 12
Farmers 258 25 4 8 5
Old people 280 16 1 3 0
Politicians 88 126 34 34 18

 

As a child   Currently
Often Sometimes Rarely Never   Often Sometimes Rarely Never
96% 3% 0% 0% Old people 93% 5% 0% 1%
92% 7% 1% 0% Conversation 74% 22% 3% 1%
93% 6% 1% 0% Short conversation 73% 23% 3% 1%
94% 5% 0% 1% Farmers 87% 8% 1% 3%
85% 13% 2% 0% Shops 51% 40% 7% 1%
88% 6% 2% 4% Cafes 78% 18% 1% 3%
85% 8% 3% 4% Market 63% 28% 5% 5%
74% 14% 5% 8% Local council 44% 33% 13% 10%
73% 12% 8% 6% At home 58% 21% 10% 11%
68% 18% 6% 8% Church 37% 28% 12% 24%
58% 23% 8% 10% Politicians 31% 45% 12% 12%
49% 15% 10% 26% Clubs 28% 30% 16% 26%


We can now consider the nature and incidence of language use in present-day community activities (table 18):

Table 18: LANGUAGE OF SOCIAL AND COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES
  Corsican Corsican
& French
French N/A
Church 19 90 64 127
Sports club 9 40 36 215
Independent sport 11 22 21 246
Football 12 27 13 248
Gymnastics 3 4 20 273
Swimming 1 4 18 277
Sailing 0 1 9 290
Bicycling 3 7 20 270
Horse riding 4 4 15 277
Music lessons 5 5 14 276
Dance 2 3 9 286
Traditional singing 34 5 3 258
Cultural group 34 12 3 251
Theatre 10 6 6 278
Fishing 45 27 7 221
Hunting 61 22 8 209
Ancient combat 11 12 6 271
Politics 26 61 13 200
Cafes 83 114 30 73
With friends 58 186 43 13
Night club 5 61 48 186
Other 1 2 6 291

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:

  Corsican Corsican
& French
French
Traditional singing 81% 12% 7%
Cultural group 69% 24% 6%
Hunting 67% 24% 9%
Fishing 57% 34% 9%
Cafes 37% 50% 13%
Politics 26% 61% 13%
With friends 20% 65% 15%
Football 23% 52% 25%
Independent sport 20% 41% 39%
Church 11% 52% 37%
Sports club 11% 47% 42%
Night club 4% 54% 42%

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:

Table 19: INVOLVEMENT IN CORSICAN CULTURAL ACTIVITIES
  Regularly Sometimes Rarely Never N/A
Theatre 7 23 12 254 4
Singing 47 78 34 137 4
Vigils 76 117 26 77 4
Other 2 5 1 288 4


  Regularly Sometimes Rarely Never
Vigils 26% 40% 9% 26%
Singing 16% 26% 11% 46%
Theatre 2% 8% 4% 86%

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:

Table 20: LANGUAGE OF CHILDREN'S COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES
  Corsican Both French N/A
Catechism 3 10 98 189
Scouts 0 1 13 286
Football 5 43 42 210
Gymnastics 0 7 31 262
Swimming 1 5 29 265
Sailing 0 4 16 280
Bicycling 3 4 24 269
Horse riding 3 4 20 273
Music lessons 4 9 37 250
Dance 0 5 43 252
Trad. singing 32 4 1 263
Cultural group 18 11 5 266
Theatre 7 2 5 286
Fishing 22 14 4 260
Hunting 34 17 3 246
Other 0 5 6 289

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.

  Corsican Both French
Trad. singing 86% 11% 3%
Hunting 63% 31% 6%
Fishing 55% 35% 10%
Cultural group 53% 32% 15%
Football 6% 48% 47%
Music lessons 8% 18% 74%
Bicycling 10% 13% 77%
Swimming 3% 14% 83%
Gymnastics 0% 18% 82%
Catechism 3% 9% 88%
Dance 0% 10% 90%

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.

Table 21: FREQUENCY OF RELIGIOUS ATTENDANCE
  N %
Regularly 25 8
Sometimes 62 21
Rarely 32 11
Only for social ceremonies 133 44
Never 48 16

This information gives context to the information given in table 22 about the language of religious activities:

Table 22: LANGUAGE OF RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES
  Sermon Public prayer Private prayer Reading Hymns
N/A 124 113 126 124 120
Corsican 10 7 21 5 65
Corsican & French 16 16 25 13 27
Corsican & Latin 0 0 0 0 11
Latin 5 11 8 18 38
French & Latin 3 3 2 3 3
French, Corsican & Latin 0 1 0 0 3
French 142 149 117 137 31
Other 0 0 1 0 2
           
  Sermon Public prayer Private prayer Reading Hymns
Corsican 6% 4% 12% 3% 36%
Corsican & French 9% 9% 14% 7% 15%
Corsican & Latin 0% 0% 0% 0% 6%
Latin 3% 6% 5% 10% 21%
French & Latin 2% 2% 1% 2% 2%
French, Corsican & Latin 0% 1% 0% 0% 2%
French 81% 80% 67% 78% 17%
Other 0% 0% 1% 0% 1%

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.

Table 23: CORSICAN LANGUAGE ABILITY OF PARTICIPANTS IN COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES
  All/
most
>50% 50% <50% Few/
none
N/A
Friends 190 30 30 15 24 11
Café 160 51 28 6 4 51
Shops 87 46 76 35 37 19
Sports 22 20 18 10 21 209
Cultural 68 28 12 10 8 174
Neighbours 160 49 53 16 9 13
 
  All/
most
>50% 50% <50% Few/
none
 
Friends 66% 10% 10% 5% 8%  
Café 64% 20% 11% 2% 2%  
Shops 31% 16% 27% 12% 13%  
Sports 24% 22% 20% 11% 23%  
Cultural 54% 22% 10% 8% 6%  
Neighbours 56% 17% 18% 6% 3%  

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.

Table 24: LANGUAGE USED IN COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES
  French French >
Corsican
French =
Corsican
Corsican >
French
Corsican N/A
Friends 49 41 59 81 65 5
Cafe 31 37 35 100 47 50
Shops 61 85 67 53 15 19
Sports 27 24 23 20 1 205
Cultural 17 25 21 43 21 173
Neighbours 43 54 69 86 39 9
 
  French French >
Corsican
French =
Corsican
Corsican >
French
Corsican  
Friends 17% 14% 20% 27% 22%  
Cafe 12% 15% 14% 40% 19%  
Shops 22% 30% 24% 19% 5%  
Sports 28% 25% 24% 21% 1%  
Cultural 13% 20% 17% 34% 17%  
Neighbours 15% 19% 24% 30% 13%  


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):

Table 25: LANGUAGE USE WITH INDIVIDUALS IN THE COMMUNITY
  I can't I can
& I do
I can
but don't
I don't
know
N/A I can
/total
I do/
I can
Cafe/bar 7 201 26 6 60 97% 89%
Council employee 11 210 30 13 36 96% 88%
Councillor 12 190 34 20 44 95% 85%
Mayor 13 192 40 15 40 95% 83%
Buy petrol 12 165 42 29 52 95% 80%
Bakery 17 207 36 10 30 93% 85%
Butcher 16 185 36 9 54 93% 84%
Greengrocer 16 188 32 14 50 93% 85%
Newsagents 17 190 38 19 36 93% 83%
Cigarettes 14 139 26 9 112 92% 84%
Car repair 17 164 35 24 60 92% 82%
Town hall 19 172 44 19 46 92% 80%
Doctor 51 142 52 12 43 79% 73%
Schoolteacher 23 48 38 24 167 79% 56%
Restaurant 36 78 55 66 65 79% 59%
Sports 14 30 17 21 218 77% 64%
Hairdresser 51 125 39 34 51 76% 76%
Dentist 56 115 55 32 42 75% 68%
Priest 52 133 24 16 75 75% 85%
Post office 53 114 45 37 51 75% 72%
Washing machine 38 65 30 87 80 71% 68%
Water co. 34 55 30 72 109 71% 65%
Library 20 22 17 28 213 66% 56%
Taxi 38 34 37 45 146 65% 48%
Hi-fi / TV 43 48 32 81 96 65% 60%
Lawyer 32 28 29 40 171 64% 49%
Bank 58 50 49 75 68 63% 51%
Travel agent 46 33 38 84 99 61% 46%
Social worker 24 11 24 31 210 59% 31%
Ask time 68 42 49 80 61 57% 46%
ANPE/ ASSEDIC 26 8 24 44 198 55% 25%
Optician 60 30 38 73 99 53% 44%
Driving test 45 16 27 58 154 49% 37%
Power cut 73 24 41 70 92 47% 37%
Tax office 67 14 32 68 119 41% 30%
Telephone operator 85 7 47 85 76 39% 13%
Police 66 13 28 76 117 38% 32%

Note: the last two columns are calculated on the basis of valid replies only: "I can't", "I can & I do" and "I can but don't".

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.

EDUCATION

In table 26 we discuss the extent of Corsican which the respondents received in their own education.

Table 26: RESPONDENTS WHO RECEIVED CORSICAN LANGUAGE TUITION AT SCHOOL
  Yes   No   N/A
Nursery 8 3%   246 97%   46
Primary school 20 8%   242 92%   38
College 33 13%   227 87%   40
Lycée 41 18%   187 82%   72
Higher education 26 15%   151 85%   123


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)

  Yes   No   N/A
Nursery 65 20%   260 80%   11
Primary school 104 33%   212 67%   20
College 118 41%   169 59%   49
Lycee 100 43%   135 57%   101
Higher education 57 36%   102 64%   177

It is evident that for most respondents the choice of language for their children's education simply did not exist (table 28):

Table 28: LANGUAGE CHOICE OF CHILDREN'S EDUCATION
  Nursery   Primary   College   Lycee
French only 7 4%   6 4%   7 5%   6 5%
Bilingual 13 8%   17 11%   30 22%   23 19%
No choice, French only 100 64%   82 54%   61 44%   50 42%
No choice, Corsican taught 17 11%   25 16%   11 8%   10 8%
No preference 15 10%   19 12%   26 19%   27 23%
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
Corsican   98 65%   7 5%   46 30%   0 0%
Singing   40 27%   33 22%   73 49%   3 2%
Comptines   22 15%   26 18%   93 65%   2 1%
Poetry   14 9%   26 17%   111 72%   3 2%
History   4 3%   1 1%   148 97%   0 0%
Physical ed.   1 1%   2 1%   149 98%   0 0%
Foreign lang.   1 1%   0 0%   88 61%   55 38%
Art   1 1%   1 1%   134 99%   0 0%
Mathematics   0 0%   0 0%   159 100%   0 0%
Nat. science   0 0%   0 0%   152 100%   0 0%
Physics & Chemistry   0 0%   0 0%   151 100%   0 0%
Geography   0 0%   0 0%   155 100%   0 0%
Religious ed.   0 0%   0 0%   129 98%   2 2%
Business   0 0%   0 0%   108 100%   0 0%
Latin   0 0%   0 0%   81 79%   21 21%

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
Nursery   19 46%   8 20%   14 34%
Primary   36 56%   9 14%   19 30%
College   43 62%   8 12%   18 26%
Lycee   41 64%   5 8%   18 28%

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.


MASS MEDIA

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:

Table 31: MASS MEDIA EXPOSURE
No. Hrs/day CORSICAN   FRENCH
  Radio TV   Radio TV
None 120 66   85 19
Up to 1 hour 81 136   69 11
Up to 2 hours 62 56   67 38
+ 2 hours 6 17   58 210
           
No. Hrs/day CORSICAN   FRENCH
  Radio TV   Radio TV
None 45% 24%   30% 7%
Up to 1 hour 30% 49%   25% 4%
Up to 2 hours 23% 20%   24% 14%
+ 2 hours 2% 6%   21% 76%

(See graph)

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):

Table 32: PRINT MEDIA
  Books in
Corsican
Magazines in
Corsican
Books in
French
Magazines
in French
Regularly 19 26 102 215
Sometimes 41 53 56 59
Rarely 50 49 61 15
Never 182 164 77 9
 
  Books in
Corsican
Magazines in
Corsican
Books in
French
Magazines
in French
Regularly 7% 9% 34% 72%
Sometimes 14% 18% 19% 20%
Rarely 17% 17% 21% 5%
Never 62% 56% 26% 3%


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.

Table 33: OPINION OF THE CORSICAN LANGUAGE MEDIA
  V. satisfied Satisfied Adequate Dissatisfied Indifferent
Radio 14 41 30 175 34
Television 12 28 31 199 24
Newspapers 13 17 27 209 26
Political journals 11 22 22 144 90
           
  V. satisfied Satisfied Adequate Dissatisfied Indifferent
Radio 5% 14% 10% 60% 12%
Television 4% 10% 11% 68% 8%
Newspapers 4% 6% 9% 72% 9%
Political journals 4% 8% 8% 50% 31%

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

  Corsican,
at home
Corsican,
in the car
French,
at home
French,
in the car
Other,
at home
Other,
in the car
Regularly 130 147 62 71 33 41
Sometimes 79 73 93 86 63 67
Rarely 46 21 74 56 54 44
Never 45 57 70 81 148 142
             
  Corsican,
at home
Corsican,
in the car
French,
at home
French,
in the car
Other,
at home
Other,
in the car
Regularly 43% 49% 21% 24% 11% 14%
Sometimes 26% 24% 31% 29% 21% 23%
Rarely 15% 7% 25% 19% 18% 15%
Never 15% 19% 23% 28% 50% 48%

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:

Table 35: HEADQUARTERS OF RESPONDENT'S EMPLOYMENT
  N %
Local 106 55%
Corsica, not local 42 22%
France, not Corsica 43 22%
Abroad 3 1%
Table 36: SIZE OF WORKFORCE OF COMPANIES/ESTABLISHMENTS
Number of
employees
Local   All branches
2-4 54 31%   41 26%
5-24 67 39%   40 26%
25 - 50 18 10%   13 8%
51 - 250 17 10%   7 5%
251 + 16 9%   54 35%

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

NATIONALITY N %   CORSICAN ABILITY N  
Corsican 115 62%   Fluent 104 60%
French, not Corsican 67 36%   Some 17 10%
Other 4 2%   None 51 30%
    0%   Don't know 13 8%

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
Directors 86 14 6 6 33
Colleagues 76 41 30 14 14
Subordinates 32 18 12 6 11
Clients 36 35 44 16 8
Suppliers 35 21 13 17 24
           
  All / most > 50% 50% <50% Few / none
Directors 59% 10% 4% 4% 23%
Colleagues 43% 23% 17% 8% 8%
Subordinates 41% 23% 15% 8% 14%
Clients 26% 25% 32% 12% 6%
Suppliers 32% 19% 12% 15% 22%

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

  French French >
Corsican
French =
Corsican
Corsican >
French
Corsican
Directors 74 27 20 23 13
Colleagues 35 39 47 38 19
Subordinates 25 10 24 19 5
Clients 35 22 46 30 5
Suppliers 42 17 22 23 7
           
  French French >
Corsican
French =
Corsican
Corsican >
French
Corsican
Directors 47% 17% 13% 15% 8%
Colleagues 20% 22% 26% 21% 11%
Subordinates 30% 12% 29% 23% 6%
Clients 25% 16% 33% 22% 4%
Suppliers 38% 15% 20% 21% 6%

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

  Yes   No
With salespeople 7 6%   115 94%
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%
Other 2 2%   110 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

  N %
Yes, fully operational 4 2%
Yes, partly operational 10 6%
Yes, but not operational 7 4%
No policy 102 57%
Don't know 56 31%

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

  N %
Corsican-speakers 15 8%
Non-Corsican-speakers 1 1%
No tendency 160 91%

Given this context the following figures are somewhat perplexing (table 43):


Table 43: IMPORTANCE OF CORSICAN AND FRENCH IN WORK

CORSICAN   FRENCH
Essential Useful Neither   Essential Useful Neither
44 85 60 Understand 116 31 10
44 86 60 Speak 115 32 10
16 30 123 Read 112 27 28
15 27 127 Write 111 27 29
             
Essential Useful Neither   Essential Useful Neither
23% 45% 32% Understand 74% 20% 6%
23% 45% 32% Speak 73% 20% 6%
9% 18% 73% Read 67% 16% 17%
9% 16% 75% Write 66% 16% 17%

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 further.

Table 44: SELF IDENTITY
    Yes   No   N/A
Local   171 57%   127 42%   2 1%
Corsican   264 88%   34 11%   2 1%
French   176 59%   122 41%   2 1%
European   84 28%   214 71%   2 1%
Other   8 3%   290 97%   2 1%

However table 45 does allow us to break down some of the issues related to such identity structures:


Table 45: ATTITUDE SCALES

    1
(Agree)
2 3
(Neutr.)
4 5
(Disag.)
No
answer
Score
(1-5)
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:

Items agreement with which
indicates a positive attitude
1
(Agree)
2 3
(Neutr.)
4 5
(Disag.)
Score
(1-5)
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
(Agree)
2 3
(Neutr.)
4 5
(Disag.)
Score
(1-5)
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):

Table 46: PERCEIVED INTEREST OF VARIOUS INSTITUTIONS AND GROUPS IN THE CORSICAN LANGUAGE
  1
(min.)
2 3 4 5
(med.)
6 7 8 9
(max.)
No
opinion
Score
(1-9)
Self 8 2 3 8 38 14 32 58 125 12 7,43
Family 11 3 2 5 36 20 34 68 104 17 7,28
Friends 7 6 4 7 49 24 37 70 76 20 6,97
FR3 radio 11 5 5 13 64 28 45 58 46 25 6,43
Radio Corse FM 12 6 10 19 51 21 44 52 47 38 6,33
Political journals 54 6 10 14 43 19 25 25 54 50 5,37
Radio Corse I 46 39 11 14 19 56 22 28 30 49 4,88
Mayor 73 21 39 13 57 9 13 16 28 31 4,07
Regional Assembly 64 25 24 21 67 18 23 10 11 37 4,00
Newspapers 69 26 26 32 53 19 16 9 10 40 3,77
Conseil 75 25 28 13 65 18 15 8 12 41 3,75
Priv. Business 80 27 23 13 55 14 10 6 15 57 3,57
Immigrants 96 19 23 14 58 12 13 8 7 50 3,36
Church 89 30 23 13 46 7 8 4 9 71 3,10
Government 144 30 30 19 32 7 1 3 3 31 2,34
Bank 165 32 16 6 15 0 4 1 3 58 1,81

(See graph)


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.

CONCLUSION

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.

©Euromosaic