© 2004 Russon Wooldridge
The following will examine the case of the word altermondialisation, of particular interest to socio-political scientists and lexicographers.
It had to come. The anti-globablization forces ("antimondialistes" in French) finally realized that their movement is perceived as essentially negative - they oppose "globalization", but they don't have any constructive alternative to put in place.
For the first time I've noticed a different labelling in the mainstream media: "altermondialiste", applied to Jose Bove in Le Monde today. This translates literally as "alternative-world-ist," but that hardly flows. [...]
PS. Today (23 June) I saw the term "altermondialiste" many, many times, and "antimondialiste" never. So usage has definitely changed. The movement and its supporters in the French press are trying to effect a branding change. [...]"
("Volatility from Paris", http://www.andrewboucher.com/blog/)
What is the currency of these terms? Google produced the following figures for the French-language pages of the Web of 8 September 2003:
antimondialisation x 12,100 + anti-mondialisation x 14,600 = 26,700
antimondialisme x 310 + anti-mondialisme x 304 = 614
antimondialiste(s) x 4,770 (1,870 + 2,900) + anti-mondialiste(s) x 4,510 (1,820 + 2,690) = 9,280
We have just seen a synchronic snapshot. The Web is also very revealing of the diachronic aspect of the subject. The idea of "another form, or type, of globalization" didn't wait for the term altermondialisation to appear. The Monde diplomatique site has an attestation dated 1999 of "l'autre mondialisation" ("L'autre mondialisation. Depuis quelques années, des voix s'élèvent pour dénoncer la «pensée unique» néo-libérale. Comment cette contestation est-elle devenue un phénomène planétaire? Quelles sont les solutions alternatives?"); the site of the altermondialist ocganization Attac66 talks on 9 May 2000 of "une alternative citoyenne à la mondialisation"; Wikipédia ("L'Encyclopédie libre") dates the movement back to the anti-WTO demonstrations in Seattle in 1999; Jean-Louis Bourque, in L'Action nationale of September 2002, writes a long article on "Voyage au coeur de la mondialisation", including a final section on "Pour une autre mondialisation".
As for the terms which crystallized the concept, altermondialisation can be dated on the Web back to 3 January 2002 (document entitled "Manifeste Initiatique Révolutionnaire"; Libération's archives give 21 March 2002; those of Le Monde give the word on 8 June 2002); the noun altermondialistes is used in an opinion piece on 18 December 2001 (Libération, 21 March 2002); the adjective altermondialiste is used by the Communist newspaper L'Humanité on 2 February 2002 (Libération, 2 November 2002); altermondialisme occurs on 23 July 2002 on AlphaVert.net (Libération, 18 March 2003).
Let us take as a small demonstration corpus the article by Jean-Louis Bourque mentioned above. A search on the string alter- is not interesting since the French doesn't have a paradigm of words thus prefixed, the meaning of the term being self-evident from such words as altérité ("otherness") or alter ego; the etymological link between the Latin alter and the French autre is also obvious. On the other hand the prefix anti- occurs several times, in anti-mondialistes (2), anti-mondialisation (4) and anti-OMC (1). The suffix -isation, however, presents a more varied case. Upon reading
The discoveries yielded up by TACT/TACTweb can then be explored on the Web with Google. None of the quoted words used by Bourque are idiolectal. To take the case of mcdonaldisation, here is what Google came up with on the Web of 14 September 2003:
analphabétisme (2) |
TACT/TACTweb has other features. The distribution graph for -isation shows that 35 (25.7%) of the total of 136 word tokens occur in the section on "Qu'est-ce que la mondialisation?" (12.3% or 1,515 of a total of 12,286 words of text); 10 (23.3%) of the -isme words occur in the same section.
Further details on the above can be found elsewhere: