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Thread: Alsace: Bilingualism a Thing of the Past

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    Alsace: Bilingualism a Thing of the Past

    The Alsace region is defined by two of Europe's dominant cultures - the French and the Germans. But the ability to speak German is no longer taken for granted among the people of the region.



    Young people, especially those from big cities, only speak French. The once typical bilingualism in Alsace is a thing of the past. Since the early 1990s, thousands of jobs were lost in neighboring Germany and Switzerland, as well as in Alsace itself - especially jobs that required both languages. It’s also a result of official French policy that once set the goal of driving the German language from the region.

    If the person was alive during World War Two, they definitely speak Alsatian and German.

    They may speak French.

    And they may not speak it very well.

    I have met a few older people who I have trouble understanding when they speak French.

    You know, one day they were in school learning French and then, all of a sudden for 5 years, they were learning German (and it's not likely that their family spoke French at home either).

    If the person is around the age of the average grandparent...or maybe even a little younger...

    They probably speak Alsatian, French and German.

    Although they may be hesitant to speak High German even though they can--most likely their parents have very bad memories of Germany and the German language.)

    I remember my former husband's mom telling me that she didn't learn French until she started Preschool!

    Her parents didn't speak much French at home.

    Anyone younger than that may speak Alsatian and German fluently.

    My husband did.

    But then he spent a lot of time around his grandparents and he works in Switzerland.

    I've found plenty of people in Alsace that don't speak Alsatian at all or very little.

    Now that's a general rule and, of course, there are always exceptions to every rule. But I have found it to be true most of the time.
    https://www.getalsaced.com/languages-in-alsace.html


    Die Sonne scheint noch.

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    Thanks for your post, very relevant.

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