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ERIC Number: EJ1049702
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Feb
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1568-4555
Language Legislation in the Belgian Colonial Charter of 1908: A Textual-Historical Analysis
Meeuwis, Michael
Language Policy, v14 n1 p49-65 Feb 2015
When in 1908 the Belgian government took over the Congo from King Leopold II, a charter was drafted that would serve as a constitution-like statutory code for the new colony. Article 3 in this "Colonial Charter" dealt with language and linguistic rights. It epitomized the duality of language questions with which Belgium remained faced until Congolese independence in 1960, namely the tension between the French-Dutch language question (i.e., language choices for communication among the Belgian population in the colony) and the indigenous language question (i.e., choices for communication between colonizer and colonized). As such, article 3 was the expression of a microcosm of ideologies and political considerations that surrounded language and group relations at the time of its creation. Already hard to understand by laymen in its own time, the text defies a straightforward interpretation when read today in the absence of sufficient historical and contextual information. Presented in this paper are the following: an account of the article's genesis, a sentence-by-sentence exegesis and an examination of some of its consequences. These are followed by a discussion of the theoretical significance of a historical case study of this kind for better understanding the broader issue of linguistic human rights.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Belgium; Congo
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A