Image: “Speak French, be clean”, written on the wall of an old school in Aiguatèbia i Talau, Northern Catalonia. These messages were part of France’s policies to eliminate all languages native to the territory and replace them with French carried out during the 19th and 20th century.
The policies also included punishing the children who were heard speaking their mother language by hitting them or humiliating them. One of the most used humiliation was having a symbol around the child who had said a word in their native tongue.
This symols included clogs, horseshoes, shingles, slates, wooden plates with a message, coins with a cross on them, and others.
More about the Linguistic Genocide of France, known by the Occitan word Vergonha (meaning “shame”), here.