Language Policy

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 133–152 | Cite as

The Gallicisation of Corsica: The Imposition of the French Language from 1768 TO 1945

  • Robert J. Blackwood


The Treaty of Versailles of 1768 passed ownership of the island of Corsica from Genoa to France, thereby increasing Paris' influence in the Mediterranean. From the famous victory at Ponte Nuovo, the steady process of gallicisation consolidated France's control over the island by extending its influence to include the languages in use on Corsica. This paper seeks to examine what is meant by gallicisation and how these processes were undertaken by France. By outlining the various stages of gallicisation, it is the intention of this article to demonstrate that the linguistic policies imposed by Paris aimed initially to dislodge Tuscan Italian, and not Corsican, as popular misconception sometimes holds. From a diglossia, Corsica experienced a triglossia as France sought to neuter the perceived linguistic threat from France's Mediterranean neighbour. Subsequently, this policy was redirected against the Corsican language during the earlier part of the 20th century until the Second World War.

Corsican diglossia French gallicisation language shift 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert J. Blackwood
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Modern LanguagesUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpool, MerseysideUK

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