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From Brexit to Frentrance? The Brexit Discourse as an Arena for Language Battles

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Part of the Linguistik in Empirie und Theorie/Empirical and Theoretical Linguistics book series (SGPK)

Abstract

Brexit has raised concerns about its political, administrative and economic consequences. It has also prompted questions about which language(s) should be used in the discussions about Brexit and in an imaginary post-Brexit European Union (EU). Through struggles over the use of language in EU institutions after Brexit and during Brexit talks, various politicians are using debates about Brexit to renegotiate European and national identities and hierarchies, both linguistic and extra-linguistic. In these “language battles”, English is rejected and French paradoxically praised as a symbol of a multilingual Europe, discursively deconstructing the EU and Europe itself by excluding the United Kingdom and the English language and then discursively reconstructing the EU as language-democratic and multilingual – preferably in a francophone tradition, as suggested by several discourse actors. As the French language was thus so conspicuously present in the Brexit discussions, its language-related dimension deserves scrutiny by discourse analysis. This paper consequently examines media coverage on Brexit from 2016 to 2020 against the backdrop of the metalinguistic comments and language choices of EU politicians.

Keywords

  • Brexit
  • metalinguistic discourse
  • language policy
  • discourse analysis

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Correspondence to Sara Matrisciano .

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Matrisciano, S. (2022). From Brexit to Frentrance? The Brexit Discourse as an Arena for Language Battles. In: Heinemann, S., Helfrich, U., Visser, J. (eds) On the Discursive Deconstruction and Reconstruction of Europe. Linguistik in Empirie und Theorie/Empirical and Theoretical Linguistics(). J.B. Metzler, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-64893-3_5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-64893-3_5

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