n French Studies in Southern Africa - Dérive à la Derrida : du français à / de la francophonie en dérivant

Volume 2011, Issue 41
  • ISSN : 0259-0247



It is possible to read Jacques Derrida's essay, ), as the ultimate refutation of what has been called linguistic nationalism: identity founded on one's sense of belonging to a language (for example French), or, perhaps more accurately, on the sense that a language belongs to one. The erasure represented by this Derridian disavowal of linguistic nationalism for that most famous of derivatives of (in a linguistic sense), namely, is patently obvious. The latter, not least through the institutionalization it represents, appeals only too clearly to the idea that it is something to be identified with, an identity which is simultaneously identification with a language, identification through a language. And yet,, although it derives itself from a conference having as its stated concern "the problems of outside of France", contains not a single mention of the derivative () in question. Does this mean that Derrida, who also declares himself "attached" to French, can be said to somehow fall outside its embrace? This study argues that the "monolanguage" set out by Derrida is, in fact, nothing but the site of his own attachment to French - an attachment which, mediated by writing, is absolute - and which, notwithstanding the absence of the derivative, can be read as being remarkably reconcilable with the notion of at various levels of conception.

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