Trianon Dialogue Seminar on «Language Policy in France and in Russia»

Trianon Dialogue Seminar on «Language Policy in France and in Russia»

12 December 2019

December 11th-12th, Moscow State University’s Faculty of Journalism hosted a seminar on «Language Policy in France and in Russia: Problems and Prospects» in the framework of the Trianon Dialogue, which was sponsored by the Federal Agency for Press and Mass Media, the Ministry of Education, Moscow State University, the French Embassy and the French Institute.

In her opening words, the Russian Minister of Education O. Vasilyeva underlined the relevance of the topic of the meeting and the importance of the role played by the Trianon dialogue, which launches discussions on essential topics related to Russian-French cooperation. A graduate of Moscow State University’s Faculty of Journalism and Aide to the Russian President V. Tolstoy, shared his impressions regarding the current situation and outlined different directions to develop a language policy.

Pierre Morel, Co-Chair of the Trianon Dialogue, spoke about the common challenges Russia and France are confronted with in the sphere of language policy. Pierre Morel described the Trianon project «Dear Tomorrow!», a competition in which schoolchildren can show their literary creativity and which is supervised by V. Grigoriev and C. Haignere, members of the Coordination Council. MGIMO’s Vice-Rector A. Malgin gave a talk about the importance of publishing Russian literature in France and French literature in Russia. The Dean of the Faculty of Journalism at Moscow State University E. Vartanova noted the need to promote the Russian language abroad as well as in Russia and to develop a strategic policy on the basis of the best world practices. The Special Representative for the Promotion of the French Language at the French Ministry of Culture spoke about the Republic’s experience promoting the French language abroad, opening a wider discussion on the subject.

The first plenary session dealt with the different strategies to promote French and Russian. The First Deputy Minister of Russia for Education P. Zenkovich acted as moderator for the discussions. Bernard Cerquiglini, Chairman of the Scientific Committee of the Francophone Dictionary, noted the multifaceted nature of linguistic policy and the need to take into account the current political context when designing the strategies for language promotion. The Vice-Rector of Moscow State University and Vice-President of the International Association of Teachers of Russian Language and Literature T. Kortava insisted upon the need to fight linguistic imperialism and to develop carefully an internal language policy to preserve each country’s culture.

During the second part of the plenary session, the participants discussed the institutional and legal framework for the use of French and Russian. Among those attending were the Deputy Special Representative of the French Ministry of Culture for the Promotion of the French Language Jean-Francois Baldi and the Director of the State Language Research Institute at St Petersburg State University S. Belov. The Leading Researcher at the Institute of Applied Russian Studies at the Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia M. Marusenko spoke about how Russia studies the institutional mechanism for preserving the French language and languages of France. The sides also remarked upon the large selection of folk languages in both countries and the need to protect them.

The conference continued with a session on the evolution and modernization of a language, how it is confronted to social realities and adapts to the needs of its citizens. E. Vartanova moderated the meeting. The speakers mulled over the methods and resources aimed at supporting the French and Russian languages in society, and the fight against Anglicisms. The Director of Radio France International (RFI) analysed the role played by journalists in disseminating and enriching the national language. A representative of the General Delegation for the French language and the languages of France Etienne Chilot, a Professor at the State Russian Language Institute V. Karasik, the Editor-in-chief of the portal «Gramota. ru» V. Pakhomov and the composer G. Gladkov all participated in the discussions.

The session on the International Status of the French and Russian Languages was moderated by the Head of MGIMO’s Department of World Literature and Culture, Y. Vyazemsky. Nicolas Bergeret, Deputy Representative for Francophone Affairs at the French Foreign Ministry spoke about the status of the French Language and O. Rebkovets discussed the popularization of the Russian language abroad. The day ended on December 11th on an artistic note with speeches by the Soviet and Russian literary critic I. Volgin and the French poet Alain Borer.

December 12th, the session on the «Promotion of French and Russian Languages Abroad» was moderated by A. Emelyanov, Director of the Department of International Cooperation and Public Relations at the Ministry of Education. Participants first focused on how the French language is taught in Russia and the Russian language in France. The Rector of Moscow State Linguistic University I. Kraeva spoke about her experience teaching French in Russian universities. The regional pedagogical inspector of the Russian language in France C. Odan noted the challenges associated with teaching Russian in French schools. The Deputy Director of the Center for Sociological Research of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education A. Arefiev also shared his impressions on the topic. During the second part of the session, the parties thought through different issues related to maintaining linguistic diversity. Among the speakers were the Inspector General for Culture C. Nors, the Head of the Mission for the Languages of France and Overseas Departments V. Lorenzini, the Vice-Rector for Science at the Russian State Institute of the Russian Language M. Osadchiy, the translator and publisher M. Amelin and the Head of the laboratory for the study and preservation of small languages of the Institute of Linguistics of the Russian Academy of Sciences O. Kazakevich. The seminar was the first in a number of events planned to discuss language policy in France and Russia.

— See the MGIMO web-site for russian version