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Le baromètre linguistique de Bruxelles enfin disponible en français

Just published : "Le multilinguisme urbain. Le cas de Bruxelles", by Rudi Janssens (Editions Racine, Brussels, 2014, 154p.). This is an important event for the spreading of knowledge among Brusselers about their own linguistic situation. In 2001, 2006 and 2011, a team headed by VUB researcher Rudi Janssens collected a large amount of data from a representative sample of 2500 adult Brussels residents, mainly about their linguistic competence and practices. All three of these "taalbarometers" led to a book-length publication in Dutch, each of them authored by Rudi Janssens : "Taalgebruik in Brussels" (VUB Press, 2001), "Van Brussel gesproken" (VUB Press, 2007) and "Meertaligheid als cement van de stedelijke samenleving" (VUB Press, 2012). For the first time, this latter publication has also been made available in French : "Le multilinguisme urbain".

When compared to the first two surveys, some striking trends are being documented. For example, owing to dramatic demographic changes in the first decade of this century, the proportion of Brusselers with only French as their native language fell from 52 to 34% and the proportion of those with only Dutch as their native language from 9 to 5%. Over the same period, competence in French fell from 96 to 89%, in Dutch from 33 to 23% and in English from 33 to 30%, while the proportion of adult Brusselers unable to speak any of these three languages rose from 3 to 8%. The book contains many other puzzling data and insightful analyses, including about the rising strength of territorial identification with one’s commune or Brussels as a whole (as opposed to ethnic identification as Flemings or Walloons, French or Dutch speakers. The data the book summarizes provide the most reliable source for detecting how quickly and deeply the Brussels population is changing, not only linguistically. Highly recommended !