Corsican language: is that excerpt true?

Dr. Alexandra Jaffe is a linguistics professor at the California State University. She made the following statements about Corsican that I find hard to believe. Do you agree with them?

> It’s not recommended that you make any effort to communicate with Corsicans in Corsican.

As Alexandra Jaffe says in her excellent Ideologies in Action: Language Politics in Corsica, Corsican is the language of the Corsican heart and hearth.

> French ‘commands the domain of the formal, the authoritative, the instrumental and intellectual’. You may think you are being ingratiating if you attempt a few words of Corsican. More likely, however, you’ll be perceived as patronising or condescending, as if the person you are addressing didn’t speak French perfectly well.

> You may be perceived to be baiting the person you are addressing on what is in Corsica a heavily charged political issue. Finally, again Corsican being the language of the Corsican heart and hearth, you may be perceived as intruding on personal and private space – as if, invited into a stranger’s living room, you proceeded immediately into their bedroom.

> Another way to put it is that presuming to address a stranger in Corsican is akin to the liberty you take in addressing a stranger in the familiar pan-Mediterranean ‘tu’ form rather than in the more respectful ‘vous’, ‘lei’ or ‘usted’ form.

3 Answers

  • 1 month ago
    Favourite answer

    In Corsica they speak French, however if you speak Corsican I don't think they would find it offensive. Especially if it is correctly spoken. 

    I have been in Corsica but I only speak French. 

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    I don't know where Dr Jaffe's allegiances lie. Lots of French are quite chauvinist, and will use excuses/lies to convince you to not speak anything but (parisian-style) French.

    If you study corsican *seriously*, the original corsicans probably will appreciate your effort

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    I have never been to Corsica but I find the observation believable as having been true (even if it might no longer be true).  By way of analogy there's no faster way to make a group of Gaidhilg speakers in Lewis switch to English en masse, even though nobody is talking to you, than to be the stranger attempting a few words.  I've witnessed this myself.  The effect in Welsh-speaking parts of Wales would be the opposite.

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