La Situation du Langage

To mark the publication of Claire Joubert’s new book Critiques de l’anglais, the Paris Center hosted a discussion surrounding the question of language in academic disciplines, in literary criticism, and in publishing

June 07, 2016

On May 30th, to mark the publication of Claire Joubert’s new book Critiques de l’anglais, the Paris Center hosted a discussion surrounding the question of language in academic disciplines, in literary criticism, and in publishing. Joining Joubert was Catherine Bernard, professor of British Literature and Art History at Paris VII, Marc Arabyan, professor of semiotics and linguistics at the University of Limoges, and François Rastier, a semanticist and the director of study at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.

The book and discussion each centered around a focus of the lack of interdisciplinary studies in France, contrasting this to the American tendency of studying individual disciplines by setting them within the context of one another. The book exemplifies this multidisciplinary approach in citing not only English literature, with examples found in James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, and J.M. Coetzee, but also making references in philosophy, translation studies, postcolonial studies and anthropology.

Claire Joubert, Critiques de l’anglais
Claire Joubert, Critiques de l’anglais

Catherine Bernard contextualized this notion in alluding to and commenting upon several passages throughout Joubert’s book, looking at early sections where Joubert cites Roland Barthes in discussing “the problematics of language,” relating these questions of English to the poststructuralist movement, which focused on “decentering” the author, looking for other sources of meaning in relation to the text.

The book grounds itself in the notion of "Globish," a term defining a subset of English grammar which Joubert posits as being the result of postcolonial globalization and the symptom of an increase in social knowledge, the making available of knowledge to society with the intent of bettering the human condition. However, this suggests the issue of the possible deletion of the question of language, the result of it no longer becoming a conversation, the concern upon which the discussion involved itself.