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Corsican language ban sparks outrage

18 Mar 2023 2 minute read
The Corsician flag. Photo by wejphotos is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

A court in Corsica has sparked outrage by banning the use of the Corsican language in the Mediterranean island’s parliament.

The court in Bastia cited France’s constitution in a ruling last week that only French is allowed “in exercise of public office” on Corsica.

Corsican, which has about 150,000 native speakers, is related to the Florentine-based standard Italian and is also spoken on the northern end of the Italian island of Sardinia.

The language is considered by the UN’s cultural organisation Unesco to be in danger of becoming extinct.


The court’s verdict ruled the Corsican assembly’s custom of allowing Corsican for debates was unconstitutional and therefore banned.

The court also designated local rules effectively establishing “the existence of a Corsican people” as a violation of the constitution.

“This decision amounts to stripping Corsican parliament members of the right to speak their language during debates,” said the island’s executive council president, Gilles Simeoni, and Corsican assembly president, Marie-Antoinette Maupertuis, according to Agence France-Presse.

“Accepting this state of affairs is unthinkable for us,” they said in a joint statement, announcing an appeal against the verdict.

The Corsican language needed to be given official status alongside French for it to survive and develop, they added.

The ruling follows a lawsuit brought by the prefect of Corsica – the central government’s highest representative on the island – and comes as French President Emmanuel Macron’s administration is discussing granting Corsica greater autonomy.

Macron said last month that he had “no taboos” about reforming the status of Corsica but insisted that Corsica had to remain part of France.

Corsican nationalists have demanded more autonomy or independence for several decades and the latest round of talks with Paris appear to be linked to the conditional release of two men convicted of participating in the 1998 murder of the island’s prefect Claude Érignac, the highest-ranking French official to have ever been assassinated.

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Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 year ago

Oh the Tories will be watching this one and using it as a precedent to ban Gymraeg yn Y Senedd. If they were to get any ideas in this direction, there should be a sworn oath introduced to demand ALL Senedd members commit to uphold and protect the language and interests of Cymru at all times as a condition of attempting to be elected to and sit in our nations’ Parliament. The RT mob would all have to leave.

1 year ago

I wonder what ‘ el presidenti ‘ would say if French was treated like this in Quebec ?

1 year ago

France needs to be brought to task by the EU for its treatment of its national minority languages. They’re breaking EU law with impunity.

Arthur Owen
Arthur Owen
1 year ago
Reply to  Rhosddu

I am not a brexiteer,but we should realize that there not everyone on our side of the argument is as liberal as Sir Wyn Roberts or as tolerant,if uncomprehending as his boss Margaret Thatcher.

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