From défrichement to déchiffrement: the linguistic cultivation of rural France in the nineteenth century and the aftermath of traductologie

Abstract : At the end of the nineteenth century, a policy of linguistic défrichement (‘clearing’) was imposed on the French provinces. Dialect elements that were encroaching on local French, especially rural and territorial vocabulary, were systematically eradicated in the national schools by a pedagogy of linguistic standardisation. This policy was the superstructural mechanism of an infrastructural project to transform and expand land use, suggests this article: défrichement in the literal sense. It was therefore related to the bourgeois reification of the word culture in French (and then, via Matthew Arnold, in English), which implied the subordination of rural activities of cultivation to urban (scientific) culture. Meanwhile, a rapid increase in the intertranslation of European scientific discourses stimulated the innovation of a number of new sciences (including Comparative Linguistics and Sociology), which in turn led to a new scientific interest in translation. This nascent translation science was directly implicated in the policy of linguistic défrichement via experiments with patois-French translation exercises designed to improve the didactics of standardisation. The fact that modern French translation scholars have largely overlooked this thorny issue in their subject’s development – including Antoine Berman, who had translated the standard history of the Modernization of Rural France – is called into question.
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Samuel Trainor. From défrichement to déchiffrement: the linguistic cultivation of rural France in the nineteenth century and the aftermath of traductologie. Ronald Jenn; Corinne Oster. Territoires de la traduction, Artois Presses Université, pp.55-78, 2015, 978-2-84832-205-6. ⟨http://apu.univ-artois.fr/Revues-et-collections/Traductologie/Territoires-de-la-traduction⟩. ⟨hal-01465144⟩

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