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Dialectal speech and sacred language in conflict in Clermont-Ferrand

Date publication : 07/11/2016
Dossier : Traduction éditoriaux

During a passionate and impassioned day organised in Clermont-Ferrand by our colleagues, I put forward the following, which was revealed despite its evident difficulty in being recognised: the Arab language differentiates between dialectal speech and sacred language, that of the Koran. Our friend Safouan always rebelled against this state of affairs, whose political and subjective consequences are weighty, and he published Freud and Shakespeare in dialectal Arab: with no success whatsoever in the bookstores.What are the consequences?This bipartition which renders one of its speakers a stranger to the other, introduces a difference between them which is not one of position, nor of sex, but of essence. Between the master and the subject there is but one bond, submission, in Arab, Islam.No doubt, mastery is potentially acquired through knowledge, and then the division occurs between the scholar and he who is vowed to ignorance: that is his—ontological—status, as the philosophers would say.I therefore put forward that it is legitimate for the little Beur(1) (I learnt through certain people on this occasion that this denomination was humiliating, or even racist, but personally I have nothing against verlan (2), quite the contrary) to project upon his adopted language this bipartition (tripartition in reality, including literary Arab) that he experiences by virtue of the fact of the language spoken at home.If this is the case, classical French would become an enemy language, since its mastery confers no redemption upon the speaker, but rather assimilation. Whilst Anglo-American lends itself to be articulated by the most diverse identities, French frees you.This is thus a double difficulty, since the young person would be invited to violate a prohibition (wanting to be a master), or else to become the imam of a foreign authority (to become a French scholar): a double effect of depersonalisation.This analysis is, of course, to be verified, although from the outset it would seem give an account of a great number of difficulties faced by these young people, including of course that of being candidates for the jihad.But if we recall the violence of the reactions to these propositions from the side of the teachers in the hall, we also risk believing that tolerance towards a discourse that could have been taken for that of a master, has no less become a type of Jihadist discourse coming from some of us: submitted to the one we elect, Kalashnikovly against the other, even if his mastery is only a projected one.

Charles Melman

23 October 2016.

(1) TN. Cf. Le petit beurre: a biscuit(2) TN. A type of French slang in which the syllables are inverted. : Arab → BeurTranslation : Michael Plastow

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