Francophonie: in Books or on Screen?

Francophone authors from here and elsewhere play an important role in the development of the French language. Whether you are an avid reader or just curious, books open doors to an inner world all our own. For example, the International Organization of La Francophonie (IOF) believes that reading is an effective way to promote the education of French-speaking people, especially in developing countries.

The IOF donated more than 200,000 books to the African Centers for Reading last year alone. The books will be consulted by scholars, students, teachers and workers. Through reading, the Francophone world is strengthened. According to the IOF, these books will have a significant impact not only on education but also on social and economic development. I welcome this gesture, and I firmly believe that the power of the French language is expressed through reading.

On the Screen

While I believe in the importance of reading and the role it plays in ensuring the survival and growth of the French language, I must admit that I am not the most avid of readers. Yes, I know it's a bit embarrassing for an editor. I most assuredly spend too much energy in writing and not enough in feeding my mind by immersing myself in literature. However, I used to read quite a bit, and I still do, but on my computer screen.

Digital information has replaced the smell of ink and the sound of pages being turned. I am a new generation reader who consumes words on the screen. Like many people of my generation and younger, books do not have the same interest. Touch pads, smart phones and all the other new technologies are transforming our reading habits. Does this make us a less educated generation than our predecessors or, on the contrary, are new technologies offering us new opportunities to grow?

As a blogger of the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie, I would be foolish to think that technology is bad for my culture. The more ways we have to express ourselves through language, the greater our chances of being understood.

Thank you for reading!

Philippe Daoust