Languages of French overseas territories and the French educational system


  • Michel Launey Université Paris 7



Regional languages, French overseas, Education, Bilingualism


This article deals with the Regional Languages issue in French overseas territories, and how it is met by the educational system. It shows that the national framework, with French as the only teaching language in schools, as well as a very restrictive law about regional languages, works in an unsatisfactory way in a highly multilingual situation, which is very different from one place to another, and in which some children arrive at school with no knowledge of French. The obvious inadequacy of programs and methods, which brings about school failure for too many children and professional unease among most teachers, has led to increasing concerns, to deeper insights, and, at least in some places, to a few fruitful innovations, which may or may not be supported by the educational hierarchy.

Author Biography

Michel Launey, Université Paris 7

Michel Launey, born 1942, now retired, was professor (linguistics) at Paris 7 University and Institut de Recherches pour le Développement, French Guiana. He works on language typology, morphosyntax, Nahuatl and Palikur, and the educational system in French Guiana. Publications: Introduction à la langue et à la littérature aztèques. L’Harmattan: Paris, 1979 (trans. 2011, An Introduction to Classical Nahuatl. Cambridge University Press); Une grammaire omniprédicative. CNRS-Editions: Paris, 1994; Awna parikwaki: introduction à la langue palikur. IRD-Editions: Paris, 2003.



How to Cite

Launey, M. (2013). Languages of French overseas territories and the French educational system. Sociolinguistic Studies, 7(1-2), 97–112.