LINGUIST List 13.2247

Mon Sep 9 2002

Diss: Socioling: Golembeski "French Language..."

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  1. golembed, Socioling: Golembeski "French Language Maintenance..."

Message 1: Socioling: Golembeski "French Language Maintenance..."

Date: Sun, 08 Sep 2002 18:46:20 +0000
From: golembed <golembedgvsu.edu>
Subject: Socioling: Golembeski "French Language Maintenance..."


New Dissertation Abstract

Institution: Indiana University
Program: Department of French and Italian
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 1999

Author: Daniel Golembeski 

Dissertation Title: 
French Language Maintenance in Ontario, Canada: A sociolinguistic
portrait of the community of Hearst

Linguistic Field: Text/Corpus Linguistics, Sociolinguistics

Subject Language: French

Dissertation Director 1: Albert Valdman
Dissertation Director 2: Kathleen Bardovi-Harlig
Dissertation Director 3: Julie Auger
Dissertation Director 4: Samuel N. Rosenberg


Dissertation Abstract: 

Of the many situations of language contact worldwide, minority
language maintenance is extremely rare. Examples of minority language
maintenance provide a unique perspective on contact phenomena, and may
provide important data for those engaged in language revitalization
efforts in other minority communities.

The study focuses on the survival of French in the town of Hearst,
Ontario, where the vitality of French has increased despite the fact
that French is a declining minority language in the province as a
whole, spoken in less than 4% of all households (1996). Although
immigration to Hearst from Quebec is in large part responsible for
this increase, French language use has spread even to some ethnic
anglophones.

The study is divided into two parts: an overview of the
macro-linguistic situation followed by an analysis of certain lexical
features of Hearst French. The linguistic portrait is based on a
sociolinguistic survey of 292 residents who provided self-reports of
language use in a variety of communicative contexts. The corpus of
oral French was collected in 34 interviews and through participant
observation.

Although statistics reveal that the number of francophones has
increased dramatically, the survey provides evidence of the increased
use of English among French speakers. This increase is, however,
offset by other factors, such as improved institutional support for
French and the blossoming of Franco-Ontarian culture. Marriage
between francophones and anglophones - a factor which has been
associated with the decline of French elsewhere - is relatively low.
An investigation of the structure of Hearst French contributes to an
understanding of the complex maintenance situation revealed by the
survey. The younger generation uses a greater percentage of English
loanwords than the older generation. There is however evidence of the
standardization of loanword use among younger francophones.
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