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Journal > Volumes > 43 (2012) / 2 (Summer)
Orthography and National Identity in the Sixteenth Century
Laurence de Looze
University of Western Ontario

This essay will first contextualize the linguistic concerns of the French and Spanish nations as they vied for power in Europe and abroad. Then, after sketching the common linguistic concerns of the Romance languages, especially the extension of language and power, it will investigate the debates regarding the grammar and orthography of the national language that characterized France in the mid- sixteenth century. What has seemed a dispute regarding minutiae—namely, the picky and prickly details of spelling— appears, when viewed within the context of transnational preoccupations, to have been a profound debate about how France was to see itself and about the importance of the European past to the national identity. In debating the details of spelling, the grammarians were investing themselves in arguments about the place of Europe

Pages: 371 - 389