[lg policy] dissertation: A Sociolinguistic Study of Vimeu French

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Tue Aug 9 14:40:53 UTC 2011

A Sociolinguistic Study of Vimeu French

Institution: Indiana University
Program: French Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2011

Author: Anne-José Villeneuve

Dissertation Title: A Sociolinguistic Study of Vimeu French

Linguistic Field(s): Phonology

Subject Language(s): French (fra)
                            Picard (pcd)

Dissertation Director:
Julie Auger

Dissertation Abstract:

The French Constitution states that 'la langue de la République est le
français' [the language of the French Republic is French]. Yet, this
prescription does not make France a linguistically uniform country, given
that what we hear in many areas are regional varieties that may have arisen
in part due to the influence of obsolescent regional languages.

This study examines the variety of French spoken in Vimeu, a rural area of
northwestern France which borders on Upper Normandy and where Picard, a
Gallo-Romance language, still enjoys a relative vitality. Based on a corpus
of sociolinguistic interviews I conducted in 2006-2007 with 31 adult
speakers of Vimeu French, this study investigates the extent to which local
French features are constrained by social and linguistic factors. By
analyzing data from both Picard-French bilinguals and French monolinguals,
I also look into the possible influence of Picard on Vimeu French.

Using the methods of variationist sociolinguistics, I argue that the use of
phonological and morphophonological features which distinguish this variety
from the standard are influenced by a speaker's sex, age, social network or
cultural identity, and - most importantly - bilingual status. Moreover, a
quantitative analysis of variables that Picard shares with colloquial
French - liquid deletion in word-final Obstruent-Liquid (OL) clusters, for
instance - reveals finer-grained differences between the bilinguals'
linguistic system and monolinguals' linguistic system.


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