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Empire of LanguageToward a Critique of (Post) colonial Expression$
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Laurent Dubreuil

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450563

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450563.001.0001

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(Post)colonial Possessions

(Post)colonial Possessions

(p.15) Chapter 1 (Post)colonial Possessions
Empire of Language

Laurent Dubreuil

, David Fieni
Cornell University Press

This chapter explores possession in the (post)colonial context, indicating how the very term is even synonymous with “colony” during the ancien régime. Like “colony,” the word “possession” is well attested during moments when France extends its empire overseas; both words are used to describe this new expansion, as well as the control and the settlement they imply. The French conqueror, in the sixteenth century and the beginning of the seventeenth century, is often an explorer who arrives on an island, a land he decides to take charge of, in his own name or that of the king. In doing so, he is said to take possession of the colony, that place he annexes. In this vein the chapter examines these terms in relation to the French language, in order to lay the groundwork for further discourse into discrepancies among languages as well as colonial politics.

Keywords:   French imperialism, French expansion, French settlement, French control, French conquest, French language, colonial politics

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