From: Damien Hall <djh514york.ac.uk>
Subject: A Sociolinguistic Study of the Regional French of Normandy
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Institution: University of Pennsylvania
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2008
Author: Damien Hall
Dissertation Title: A Sociolinguistic Study of the Regional French of Normandy
Dissertation URL: http://www.york.ac.uk/depts/lang/people/pdf/DamienHall_PhD.pdf
Subject Language(s): French (fra)
Donald A. Ringe
This dissertation is the first investigation of the Regional French of
Normandy using sociolinguistic principles of data collection and analysis
(Labov 2001). It provides a partial characterisation of the regional
variety of French spoken in Normandy, France, by analysis of linguistic,
dialectological and attitudinal data collected in two sites in Normandy: La
Bonneville (rural Lower Normandy) and Darnétal (urban Upper Normandy). It
is the first sociolinguistic study of any variety of European French to
make exclusive use of instrumental measurements for the investigation of
phonological variables (the vowels in this study). Two vowel variables and
one morphosyntactic variable are investigated, all of which have been noted
in the literature as characteristic of the Regional French of Normandy.
In the dialectological/attitudinal part of the study, informants were asked
to fill in maps of Normandy according to where they thought people spoke
differently. They were then asked whether there was a local accent in their
area, whether they had it themselves, whether they could give any examples
of the accent and whether they thought the accent was a good one. In the
final part of the dissertation, the results of these questions are compared
with the phonological results speaker-by-speaker, to determine in
particular whether there is any correlation between and individual
speaker's opinion about the 'goodness' of the accent and their phonological
results (whether or not they actually use the Normandy variant of the vowel
The study contributes to the sociolinguistics of French inasmuch as it
represents an advance in the investigative techniques used in the field
(instrumental measurements for vowels), and also because it is the first
such sociolinguistic investigation of the Regional French of Normandy (it
joins a growing number of sociolinguistic investigations of other regional
varieties of European French). It also contributes to the wider field of
sociolinguistics by making explicit the connection between linguistic
results and the attitudinal results for individual speakers.
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