Africanismes du continent

Les particularités rencontrées dans des conversations se passant en français en Côte d’Ivoire, au Sénégal, au Burkina Faso, en Guinée, au Mali, en Algérie, au Maroc, en Tunisie, au Niger, au Tchad, en Centrafrique, au Togo, au Bénin, au Cameroun, au Gabon, au Congo (B ou K), au Rwanda ou au Burundi ont leur place ici.

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15 réponses à “Africanismes du continent

  1. A. J. P. Crown

    What about Lebanon?

  2. A. J. P. Crown

    Or even more African, what about Egypt? Have the Egyptian French words all disappeared by now?

  3. A.J.P., I wonder if French is still spoken in Lebanon or Egypt. Nasser made a lot of French speakers flee the banks of the river Nile and since the 1980s civil war the number of Lebanese French speakers must have been dwindling.

    However, when you read writers like Egyptian-born Robert Solé you realise that some of these people were speaking a French that could be heavily influenced by Arabic, which produced a kind of creolised French in a sense. (I specifically remember the word « habibi » — chéri — being used fairly often in the books.)

    I don’t know much about specifically Egyptian French words, which does not mean that they don’t exist, or haven’t existed.

  4. I specifically remember the word “habibi” — chéri — being used fairly often in the books.

    This is the first thing anyone who visits Jordan notices about the country. Every single song on the radio has the word « habibi » in it, not to mention wedding music and conversations on the street. It is from the verb حب « love » or « like »–pronounced « hobe »–the same word being used for a person or for food or for liking your English class. It’s certainly a word that native English speaking ex-pats pick up pretty quickly and add to their in-country vocabulary.

  5. Here in Canada I know a number of Lebanese adults who went to French-speaking schools in Lebanon. Their French may have a few peduliarities but is far from being « creolised ».

  6. Marie-Lucie, there can be a debate here about how creolised somebody’s French can be or how frenchified his/her Creole can be (see for instance the post Mauricien ou morisyen ?). Using ‘creolised’ in case of a mixture of Arabic and French that may be or may have been spoken in Lebanon or Egypt was just an allusion. However, in certain cases I imagine that some people might have used a heavily-mixed language blending Arabic and French with modified words or a modified syntax, far from the type of ‘habibi pickup’ mentioned above by Nijma, and that wouldn’t be too far from some sort of creole I think. Unfortunately this is just a wild guess.

  7. You can’t base the standards of creolity on the writings of a few disgruntled and transmyopic leftist academics most of whom were either left disappointed at the outcome of the last general elections or who would be tactfully subverted to some more use by the current ministry.

  8. French with a lot of Arabic mixed in, or for that matter Arabic with a lot of French mixed in, does not make a creole. The essence of a creole is that it is a radically new language system, though drawing potentially unlimited amounts of vocabulary from the lexifier language (Portuguese, French, English, etc.) Similarly, grammatical structures can be borrowed, though less easily, creating a fluid continuum between pure creole and pure lexifier language. But creoles historically arise in situations where communication is urgently necessary but no languages are found in common, whereas heavy borrowing generally occurs in situations of widespread bilingualism (the heavy borrowing of Norman French words into English is an example of the latter).

  9. marie-lucie

    There has been a lot of linguistic research about creoles and other mixed forms of language communication, and it is well established that the origin of creoles is not societal bilingualism but pidgins, which are simplified, at first improvised means of linguistic communication arising from specific social situations where groups of people need to communicate but neither group is actually learning the whole language of the other group (especially if more than two languages are involved).

    There must have been many pidgins in the world, wherever there was long-distance trade, and only some of which are documented historically, for instance a Basque-Micmac pidgin on the fishing grounds on the East coast of Canada before French and English colonization began, or the Chinook Jargon which was used extensively on the Pacific Northwest Coast of the US and Canada, again before extensive European settlement. The CJ was based on a simplified form of the actual Chinook language of the Columbia River, supplemented by words from other native languages and later French and English. These pidgins, learned by adults for limited communication with other adults, arose in the context of trading activities, and died out when one European language became dominant as the result of the influx of speakers and was learned by the native population.

    Pidgins evolve into creoles when they become the sole means of communication possible between groups which do not have a common language, and especially when such groups intermarry and mixed families use the pidgin as their only language. In the absence of a norm shared by all adults (whose own use of the pidgin may be influenced by their own native language), children quickly develop a pidgin in creative ways in order to meet all the needs of linguistic communication, and in a couple of generations the resulting new language, by now the first language of an entire community, becomes stabilized into what is called a creole. The Chinook Jargon was on its way to becoming a creole in the two large reservations in Oregon where several tribes with different languages were relocated together and had the Jargon as their only common language, so that a number of children were raised with it as their first or only language. But the spread of English put a stop to the use and therefore the evolution of this new creole.

    The French linguist André Martinet was a prisoner in a German camp during WW2 and wrote about an incipient pidgin that was developing among the prisoners, who came from a number of European countries and were learning a small amount of survival German from their captors but had to improvise with bits and pieces of other languages spoken in the camp in order to communicate with their fellow prisoners.

    a fluid continuum between pure creole and pure lexifier language.

    This happens when the creole is being spoken next to the more prestigious lexifier language (the language that most of the vocabulary comes from) taught in school and used in the media, as is the case in the Caribbean and, apparently, Mauritius. There can be mutual influence if speakers of each form of speech strive to imitate the other (but influence is usually in favour of the lexifier language).

  10. A la différence de Sig, qui a, semble-t-il, baigné depuis sa plus petite enfance dans un environnement multilingue, je me souviens très précisément de ma toute première rencontre avec une langue autre que le français : j’avais neuf ans, j’accompagnais mes parents lors d’un voyage en Irlande, et je ne comprenais absolument pas pourquoi je ne comprenais pas un traître mot de ce que disaient les gens que nous rencontrions. Il ne m’est pas venu à l’idée que ma langue pût ne pas être universelle et que ces gens, de leur côté, ne comprissent pas non plus ce que je disais – et donc je me suis exprimé pendant 10 jours dans une langue imaginaire et incompréhensible, histoire de rétablir l’équilibre…

    Des années et des années plus tard, j’ai lu à mes fils une magnifique histoire intitulée Le Hollandais sans peine, qui raconte la façon dont un petit Français se lie d’amitié pendant les vacances, dans un camping en Allemagne, avec un jeune garçon « hollandais » de son âge, à la très grande satisfaction des parents respectifs, convaincus des bénéfices linguistiques de cette rencontre. Et de fait, au bout de quelques semaines, ils ont suffisamment appris la langue de l’autre pour avoir de vraies conversations et servir d’interprètes aux parents -et même sauver leurs petites soeurs d’un grave danger. Sauf que cette langue est une langue imaginaire, et que lorsque les deux garçons se quittent en échangeant leurs adresses, il apparaît que le jeune « Hollandais » était en fait Irlandais.

    On oublie, je crois, à quel point il est difficilement concevable qu’il puisse exister différentes façons d’exprimer la même chose, différentes langues, différents mots que ceux de notre langue maternelle. Et donc, à mon avis, on n’apprend pas la langue de l’autre (pas plus que l’on n’essaye de lui apprendre la sienne propre), mais on « invente » une langue nouvelle, rudimentaire certes, mais compréhensible de part et d’autre, et dans laquelle les linguistes pourront ultérieurement retrouver certaines structures et certains mots des langues d’origine respectives…

  11. marie-lucie

    Il existe un certain nombre de cas documentés d’enfants élevés ensemble (souvent jumeaux, ou presque du même âge) qui se sont inventé une langue à eux, incompréhensible par leurs proches. Ce cas n’est pas du tout le même que celui des pidgins, fabriqués par des adultes, dans lesquels on reconnaît (même simplifiés) les mots et structures des deux ou plusieurs langues qui leur ont donné naissance.

    Il est rare que les adultes inventent totalement des mots (à part les noms propres, par exemple pour les produits nouveaux): souvent ils les fabriquent à partir de mots existants, selon des modèles déjà attestés dans la langue qu’ils parlent. .

  12. zerbinette

    Comment Aquinze, vous n’avez pas baigné dans le breton ?

  13. Off topic: can anyone shed light on this use of « mutant » in Zanzibar?

  14. Siganus K.

    Because they generally tend to be ill-considered, creoles are seldom written and formalised. This is one of the reasons why they often vary rather rapidly over time. Due to the way they were born and to their oral nature, no borrowing can seriously be deemed to “corrupt” the language, which is intrinsically seen as being a mixed language.

  15. Siganus K.

    Linus: You can’t base the standards of creolity on the writings of a few disgruntled and transmyopic leftist academics

    Okay, but on whose writings should it be based then? The MMM government published Grafi Larmoni but obviously they can’t apply it to themselves. I think it’ll be a cold day in hell before we get Martians to write Creole in a harmonised way.

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