Writing in the Language of the Other

Prof. Denise Egéa-Kuehne
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This paper is based on the linguistic and cultural experiences described in the opening section by three francophone writers: Kourouma (Abidjan, Ivory Coast) Dracius (Martinique), and Ancelet (Louisiana, United States). Against this background, a reading of Derrida's "Le Monolinguisme de l'Autre" enables us to open a discussion on the impossibility of absolute monolingualism demanded by "linguistic imperialism". It also enables us to underscore the multiplicity inherent in any language, and the violence of a language which claims to be unique, while serving some ideology or power. In the last section, I address the double interdict to which Derrida believes education must respond, and the double entitlement for which it is responsible.

Whereas the United States, holding on to a monolingual view of the world and a subtractive view of bilingualism, advocate a monolinguistic educational policy, many countries have experienced and recognized the value of plurality and plural education. They have realized that variety does not threaten a language but enriches it, and it is entirely possible to teach one's own language, history, literature and culture, plus those of neighboring nations. Several countries in Europe manage this quite well.

(Testimonies taped during a presentation at the annual conference of the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages, 1997)

Keywords: monolinguism, multilinguism, linguistic imperialism, plural education, multiciltural education
Stream: Ethnicity, Difference, Identity
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Writing in the Language of the Other

Prof. Denise Egéa-Kuehne

Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction
College of Education, Louisiana State University

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

Dr. Egéa-Kuehne is Professor in the College of Education and Director of the French Education Project for Research and Teacher Education at Louisiana State University. She publishes and lectures in English and in French in North America and in Europe on ethico-political and responsibility issues focusing on questions of diversity and social exclusion, on problems of languages, cultures and intercultural communication, and on human, cultural, and linguistic rights, especially in the contexts of education, knowledge, and educational institutions. She published "Derrida & Education", Routledge (co-edited with Gert J. J. Biesta), and edited "Levinas and Education: At the Intersection of Faith and Reason" (Routledge, to be released in 2006).

Ref: H06P0616