Why France may ban discrimination against accents?


Team Udayavani, Nov 29, 2020, 12:15 PM IST

The French Parliament has taken the first steps toward approving a law that would ban discrimination based on a person’s accent. Violations could be punished by a maximum of 3 years in prison and a fine up to €45,000.

If passed, the new law will make linguistic discrimination a criminal offence along with sexism, racism and other forms of outlawed bigotry.

It is said that accent based discrimination is a real problem in France. France cannot boast quite the same diversity of accents as the UK.

As reported  by BBC, The biggest family of accents is the southern one, marked, among other things, by pronunciation of the normally silent ‘e’ at the end of words, and the famous “pang” and “vang” for pain and vin (bread and wine). Other regional accents can be found in Corsica, eastern France, Alsace (influenced by German), Brittany and the north – influenced by the local dialect Ch’ti. There is also an identifiable banlieue accent, popular among people of immigrant origin.

According to Indian Express, the 30 million French people who do not speak with a Parisian accent, 17 million have said they were mocked for it, while another 11 million claim to have faced discrimination while interviewing for a job or seeking a promotion, the Independent reported.

According to Ouest-France, a poll conducted in January 2020 showed that around 16 per cent of the French population claim to have been discriminated against during hiring because of their accent.

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