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ERIC Number: EJ982035
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 61
ISSN: ISSN-0034-0553
Appropriating Written French: Literacy Practices in a Parisian Elementary Classroom
Rockwell, Elsie
Reading Research Quarterly, v47 n4 p382-403 Oct-Dec 2012
In this article, I examine French language instruction in an elementary classroom serving primarily children of Afro-French immigrants in Paris. I show that a prevalent French language ideology privileges written over oral expression and associates full mastery of written French with rational thought and full inclusion in the French polity. This ideology has over two centuries generated particular means for regimenting standard language forms through classroom instruction, inculcating enduring orthographic and grammatical forms, and socializing literary works as models of correct French prose. My field research employed ethnographic principles and data collection techniques including participant ethnographic observation in multiple school and community settings during six months of 2005-2006, with a follow-up study in 2010. Data for this article are taken from ethnographic interviews, field notes, writing samples and audiotaped language classes of a fifth grade class, as well as relevant contextual documentation. Although ethnographic observation confirmed the cultural reproduction of the historically constructed distinction between written and oral French, closer examination of typical classroom sequences in which work with texts was embedded in verbal interaction revealed the shifting and permeable boundaries that existed among varieties of oral and written French language, as the normative structures were enacted but also continually negotiated, ignored or contested by both teacher and children. By regarding "scriptal-schooled" French as a "regime of language" (Kroskrity, 2000), the interweaving of oral and written language performances and their contradictory and contested nature is examined as "dialectically related linguistic practices" (Collins & Blot, 2003, p. 165). By focusing on the multiple appropriations (R. Chartier, 1995) of literacy occurring in the classroom, which tend to blur boundaries between oral and written language, my findings help recast prevailing explanations that assume that reflexive mastery of written French requires severing links with an oral-practical relation to language (Lahire 2008). (Contains 10 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 5
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: France (Paris)