The story is set in the days of the Franco-Prussian war. The French district of Alsace and Lorraine were captured by Germans. The new master was to come the next day in a school in Alsace to teach German in place of French. The story tells the effect of this news on the life at a school in Alsace.
The Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 was the first modern war in Europe. It was the longest military conflict fought on European soil since the end of the Napoleonic Wars. The end of the war marked the ascendancy of Imperial Germany as the preeminent military power on the continent.
ALSACE & LORRAINE
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- Find similarities & dissimilarities between your text and the movie.
Lines to PONDER
“Will they make them sing in German, even the pigeons” (Franz’s thoughts)
Explanation: Man under the intoxication of power can enslave the people and dictate them what to do and what not to do. The same has happened in the case of Franco-Prussian War. Germany had taken control over French districts. The Germans wanted not only to rule France politically ( physically) but also to rule the minds of the French. Hence, they imposed their language on the French. They forgot that they could force the French to learn their language but couldn’t compel the cooing pigeons to speak German. The forceful imposition of German over the French has only choked their love for German and the German.
LIST OF ENGLISH WORDS OF FOREIGN ORIGIN Click Here
“Chauvinism” is a devotion for or against something, just based on what you feel (not necessarily what you may know). So, Linguistic chauvinism is the idea that one’s language is superior to that of others. This happens generally when the language is that of the ruling class. Linguistic chauvinism is the overt preference for one language over others.
Language is considered to be the cultural identity of a particular group of people who use it. Hence, imposing some other language on the people hammers their emotions and is a step to annex their relationship with their culture.
- After reading the above answer write a speech to be delivered in the morning assembly/ an article on
“How to protect linguistic rights of minorities in India.”
- Use your imagination and write the NOTICE announcing the teaching of German which Franz may have seen that day.
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