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giugno 2009

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Portrait of M. Charles KIEFFER


Mr. Charles KIEFFER is a very nice person who makes me honor to grant me his friendship. Besides his friendship and his kindness, he as sometimes grants me a little his precious time to make me share some parcels of his immense knowledge.

To the age of 87 years, and in spite of problems of health, he is again very active pass of the hours to write some books notably on his native country, Alsace, and on his country of adoption, Afghanistan where he passed more than twenty years to study the numerous languages of the country.

His Curriculum Vitea is long and rich. Judge by yourselves

License of Letters,
Diploma of Superior studies of Philosophy to the university of Paris,
Doctorate of state of Letters and Liberal arts, University of the Sorbonne, Paris,

He taught philosophy, French, Latin and Greek as well in various colleges and high schools in France - Paris, Lyons, Marseille, Limoux and Dreux - that abroad of which several years in Cairo, in Egypt, then in Kabul, in Afghanistan.

Secretary of the Delegation Archaeological French in Afghanistan
Researcher to the National Center of Scientific research (NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH)
Director of research for this same Institute.

Specialist in "Languages and Oriental Civilizations" his work was about the languages and dialects more especially.
First collaborator of the Atlas Linguistique of Afghanistan with Georges Redard, University of Bern.

He published many works and gave a lot of conferences, in particular on l ' Afghanistan.

It is a real well of science of which I summarized the Curriculum Vitae that would have been a lot longer.

It is therefore an eminent specialist's that I addressed to ask him for his opinion on the importance that the survival of a dialect dons as the PONASEN.


Here are its answers.

To "defend his dialect often constitutes a fight of rear guard."

Indeed, when a human group feels threatened by the conqueror's arrival or merely of those that transport a culture that risks to choke his traditions to it, it forbids himself beak and nail and the defense of sound to speak constitutes the fight often the most spectacular and most profitable.

In maintaining his to speak against the aggressions of the other, he has the impression to defend his identity and by there same the lineage of prestigious forebear of which he is now one of the last representatives.

The defense of a dialect today in way of disappearance deserves to be analyzed how he makes himself that this minority dialect could survive until today. While answering this question, one prepares the way to defend it today same.

Indeed, a minority dialect always maintains itself for historic questions that can be very different. In general, he defends a people that feels exploited and that holds courageously to interrupt the cycle of subjection in which he feels committed definitely.

A dialect can want to survive also for ideological reasons, for example, his speakers feel funded of an almost mystical mission. It is the case of a language that survived of centuries because his speakers felt funded of the mission to defend against all, their religious traditions.

Such a language, carrier of an ideology threatened by the big culture of the region or the country, can also act as secret language and a sign of recognition.

What to make to invigorate his to speak threatened? For it it is necessary to analyze with precision the reasons of his decline. An essential point concerns the speakers themselves that give up speaking their dialect more and more.

It is often a question of output. The business community has horror of the "languages", it is Ŕ to say, those that only have a number restrict speakers and that offers a number therefore only restricts customers."


Subject collected by A.B.

Cernay 16.04.2009 Alsace - France



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