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‘Français populaire’ in the French-speaking artistic field


Colloquial French in the Arts in French-speaking Africa : The Paradoxes of an Existence. -- In the Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso, colloquial French (français populaire) is quite comparable with pidgin English in Nigeria or Ghana. Although the latter is a recognized literary language in English-speaking lands, such is not the case for the former in French-speaking ones. Explanations for this paradox lie in history and in the way literary circles in ex-colonies and in the colonizing country conceive of French. Should we continue paying no heed to colloquial French, even though it is now an unescapable part of modern culture in French-speaking Africa? It is high time to recognize the literary status of colloquial French if we want to see a literature emerge that corresponds to the African definition of art, that is democratic and harmonious with its environment that is authentic. This would also represent an opening toward a literature in African languages.

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