Language Policy

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 255–277

Language Policy and the Ideology of Bilingual Education in France

  • Christine Hélot


The aim of this article is to analyse the language policies and ideologies at work in the new bilingual education programmes being developed in France within a general reform for the teaching of foreign languages. The sociolinguistic context of languages present in the education system will be presented first in order to explain the categorisation of languages into ‘foreign’, ‘regional’ and ‘origin’ (which we shall translate as ‘migrant’). It will then be explained how the first two categories allow for various didactic models (partial vs total immersion, content language integrated learning models, ‘European’ and ‘international’ classes etc.),while references to migrant languages and their speakers remain limited, ambiguous and unclear. It will be argued that while recent official texts and the new curriculum for primary schools (2002) show a first acknowledgement of linguistic and cultural diversity in France, bilingualism and bilingual education are still envisaged differently according to the social status of the languages concerned.

bilingual education bilingualism of minorities language policies in education France 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christine Hélot
    • 1
  1. 1.StrasbourgFrance

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