Why was France more determined to hold onto its colonial empire after WWII than Britain was?

Linschoten

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
16,071
Welsh Marches
#61
It means that French people consider their own language to be more cultured than English.
It is more that they like to think that English owes its dominance to commerce and mass culture than to any particular qualities that it possesses, or to any cultural values that are conveyed through it. Now this is obviously true in a certain sense, English has attained its dominance for complex historical reasons connected with Britain's and then the USA's position as world powers, not because it is the language of Shakespeare and Wordsworth. But it is also laughable that a teacher of English should feel the need to protest that he is teaching English to French people for merely practical reasons as though it were in some way less a language of culture than French!!
 
Oct 2011
7,654
MARE PACIFICVM
#63
Puerto Rico could do it because it is not a state, but Hawai’i? No. Once in, never out.
Well, that's exactly how many French felt about l'Algérie française. They didn't view it as just another colony, but as an integral part of the country, the same way most Americans view Hawaii today. Northern Algeria, the part which bordered the Med, was divided into and administered as various départements français, just like territory in mainland France. It was a totally different situation than the rest of the French colonial empire. Unlike most French overseas territory, it also had a substantial population of native French.
 
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Likes: Futurist
Mar 2014
37
Paris (France)
#64
I have heard it said that most French lycee students spend a considerable number of years studying English, but few students emerge from this study being fluent in or even nearly fluent in English. Sounds like the British analog with respect to France. We won’t even bring up theAmerican experience with French (or English, for that matter)
As a French, I can tell you that it's true : I spent something like 2 to 4 hours per school week (around 35 per year) from 11 year old to 22 year old (so 11 years) and my english was crap. I know today French pupils learn english way earlier. Clearly it's not thanks to school that I managed to understand or to be understood in english.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
18,074
SoCal
#65
Well, that's exactly how many French felt about l'Algérie française. They didn't view it as just another colony, but as an integral part of the country, the same way most Americans view Hawaii today. Northern Algeria, the part which bordered the Med, was divided into and administered as various départements français, just like territory in mainland France. It was a totally different situation than the rest of the French colonial empire. Unlike most French overseas territory, it also had a substantial population of native French.
Interestingly enough, had France refrained from gerrymandering against the Muslim Algerians after it gave them French citizenship in 1947, then there could perhaps have been a chance for France to keep Algeria. This would have been especially true if France would have been willing to heavily subsidize Algeria in order to improve the quality of life for the people there. That way, Algerians would have lived more comfortably and would have had more say in the affairs of France and thus might have perhaps been less inclined to secede from France. Puerto Ricans and US Virgin Islanders live relatively comfortably under US rule and thus don't wish to acquire independence.

Of course, from a French perspective, perpetually subsidizing Algeria (I don't know if Algeria will ever acquire France's levels of human capital) and allowing unlimited Algerian Muslim immigration into European France might not have been very attractive options. Plus, it might have been much, much more difficult for France to do things such as legalizing same-sex marriage if it would have had an extremely massive and presumably mostly homophobic Muslim population.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
18,074
SoCal
#66
Also, interestingly enough, had France experienced an extremely massive wave of population growth during the Industrial Revolution like Britain and Germany did (even if some of their growth was diverted elsewhere--such as towards the US), it would have been easier for France to permanently hold onto Algeria since Algeria would have represented less of a demographic threat. Of course, given the fact that many French nationalists presumably dislike the presence of large numbers of Muslims in France in real life, I don't think that they would have been too happy even if Algerian Muslims would have made up 20% rather than 40% of France's total population.
 

deaf tuner

Ad Honoris
Oct 2013
14,088
Europix
#67
As a French, I can tell you that it's true : I spent something like 2 to 4 hours per school week (around 35 per year) from 11 year old to 22 year old (so 11 years) and my english was crap. I know today French pupils learn english way earlier. Clearly it's not thanks to school that I managed to understand or to be understood in english.
There's an aspect that is all two often forgotten: movie dubbing.

If You care to look at European statistics on proficiency in foreign languages, You'll see that the countries practicing original version movie are better.

And it's logical: even if You don't learn that language, Your brain is acustomed with different sounds, intonations, frequencies. Your brain is more "prepared" for a foreign language.

On the other hand, French are amongst those having an objective handicap: the French language has a more narrower frequency spectrum than most languages. Your throat is simply not prepared, not able to reproduce conviently the sounds, intonations, frequencies, other languages require. It why You can hear French that master English at a highest level, a level that most native English speakers do not reach ..... with an awfully strong French accent.
 
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royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,387
San Antonio, Tx
#69
Well, that's exactly how many French felt about l'Algérie française. They didn't view it as just another colony, but as an integral part of the country, the same way most Americans view Hawaii today. Northern Algeria, the part which bordered the Med, was divided into and administered as various départements français, just like territory in mainland France. It was a totally different situation than the rest of the French colonial empire. Unlike most French overseas territory, it also had a substantial population of native French.
Yeah, um, but the native Algerians had no vote, so how integral could “Algerie Francaise” really be to France? Wishful thinking, perhaps...
 
Likes: Futurist

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
18,074
SoCal
#70
Yeah, um, but the native Algerians had no vote, so how integral could “Algerie Francaise” really be to France? Wishful thinking, perhaps...
Algerians could vote starting from 1947, but the voting system was still gerrymandered against them. Combined, Muslim Algerians had as much say in the French parliament as the pieds-noirs had even though their numbers were several times greater.