Publication details [#62754]

Vandenbroucke, Mieke. 2017. Whose French is it anyway? Language ideologies and re-emerging indexicalities of French in Flanders. Language in Society 46 (3) : 407–432.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher
Cambridge University Press


This paper handles some recent controversial language-linked incidents and ideological statements concerning the use of French in the public sphere by Flemish nationalist aldermen in two Flemish towns. Using interviews with several stakeholders (shop owners, aldermen, and passers-by), it deals with the different perceptions and ideological indexicalities of French shop names and signs in these Flemish contexts. In the data, the indexical field (Eckert 2008) of French in Flanders appears as both polyvalent and indexically ordered, while the Flemish nationalist interpretations involve rescaled and historically recursive indexical meaning that can only be grasped vis-à-vis the historical language ideological debate in Belgium. Language use in the public sphere has thus become a tool to impose monolingual ‘doxic logics’ (Bourdieu 1977) in Flanders, despite the fact that commercial and private language use is not organized by language laws in Belgium.