© 2008

The State, the Activists and the Islanders

Language Policy on Corsica

  • The first monograph of language policy on Corsica

  • Offers a historical approach to French language policy towards the regional heritage languages

  • Will position the Corsican case within the wider field of language policy studies

  • Information is drawn on up-to-date fieldwork, undertaken by the author

  • Includes data which will feed into a wider comparison of the situation in other European countries


Part of the Language Policy book series (LAPO, volume 8)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Pages 1-10
  3. Pages 11-25
  4. Pages 27-46
  5. Pages 47-65
  6. Pages 67-84
  7. Pages 85-101
  8. Pages 103-130
  9. Pages 131-147
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 149-161

About this book


This analysis of language policy on Corsica provides the first study of the three levels of language policy existing on the Mediterranean island of Corsica. It focuses on the key participants - the State, the language activists and the islanders - in the language debate that has taken place across the island since its purchase by France. This book is informed by recent work on language planning, both theoretical and relating to specific case studies. At the same time, it engages with trends in sociolinguistics over the past decades, which have included language planning in their investigations of languages in contact, language obsolescence and language death. A central premise of this book is that the three discrete categories of participants in the language debate are closely interrelated and that the status and position of Corsican in relation to French cannot be understood without a thorough exploration of these three strands. This volume will appeal to researchers and students in French Studies, sociolinguistics, and especially language policy.


France language activism language education language policy language shift minority language minority languages

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of LiverpoolUK

Bibliographic information


From the reviews:

"Robert Blackwood’s book fills a gap in the literature on the ‘languages of France’. … a very welcome addition to the library bookshelf. … the text very easy to follow and also allows the reader to go directly to the era that is of interest. There is a lot of detail in the history of the political context of language shift, language spread and language decline. … This book is excellent for showing us the way that the political shapes language attitudes and behaviour." (Sue Wright, Language Policy, Vol. 8, 2009)

"Corsican has been relatively negelected in the literature on France's regional or 'heritage' languages, even though it is probably the best protected of them all, thanks to the Matignon Agreements of 2000. This thorough and detailed study goes a long way towards making good the deficiency." (Rodney Ball, University of Southampton)

“This book offers an historical account of … Corsican language emerged from its status … . book presents a fascinating and authoritative historical account of the fluctuating status of Corsican … . the book provide an interesting overview of the language situation in Corsica … additionally it offers a valuable study of the consequences of government neglect, or at times even hostility towards a heritage language and also the limitations and problems associated with trying to support a threatened language through the education system.” (David Deterding, Journal of Sociolinguistics, Vol. 14 (2), 2010)

“This is the first book-length study of language policy on Corsica … . The book is divided into eight chapters, an extremely useful bibliography, and an index … . is informative and insightful, and which will be of real use and interest to French scholars, historians and sociolinguists.” (Philip Riley, Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, Vol. 31 (4), July, 2010)