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Tags Current Affairs

France to ban discrimination on the basis of accents

Date: 30 November 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

France will introduce a bill in its National Assembly under which it will become an offence under the labour and penal codes to discriminate against an individual on the basis of accent.

 

Background

If passed, it will make linguistic discrimination an offence along with sexism, racism, and other forms of outlawed bigotry.

 

Details

  • Glottophobia or la glottophobie is the term coined for discriminating an individual on the basis of his/ her accent.

  • A person found to be guilty will face a prison sentence of maximum 3 years along with a fine of up to 45,000 Euros.

  • A large number of minorities are expected to benefit from the law as they are most affected groups due to accent discrimination.

  • Accent discrimination is not a recent phenomenon in France. People belonging to region beyond Paris or mainland are often victims of discrimination.

 

Accent

  • In sociolinguistics, an accent is a manner of pronunciation peculiar to a particular individual, location, or nation.

  • An accent may be identified with the locality in which its speakers reside (a regional or geographical accent), the socioeconomic status of its speakers, their ethnicity, their caste or social class (a social accent), or influence from their first language (a foreign accent).

  • An important factor in predicting the degree to which the accent will be noticeable (or strong) is the age at which the non-native language was learned.

  • The critical period theory states that if learning takes place after the critical period (usually considered around puberty) for acquiring native-like pronunciation, an individual is unlikely to acquire a native-like accent.

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