ABSTRACT

Paris, like all large European capital cities, is a multilingual city where a large number of languages meet, brought there by speakers from around the world. The use of these languages manifests itself in the family or in local interactions, at work, in the media or on the street. People with different languages and different origins are communicating there, using all the resources available to them – verbal, non-verbal, gestural, mediated through a third party, etc. Such practices, which are observable in everyday places of socialization and increasingly often in public encounters, have been subsumed for several years under the term of “metrolingualism”, as proposed by Otsuji and Pennycook (2010). 1 Metrolingualism is not uniform because it manifests in specific urban contexts as a consequence of the particular history and geography of the place in question. Let me, therefore, start with a brief history of Paris and its suburbs as it relates to language issues.