A sociolinguistic study of the regional French of Normandy

Damien John Hall, University of Pennsylvania


This dissertation is the first investigation of the Regional French of Normandy using sociolinguistic principles of data collection and analysis as outlined by 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: La Bonneville (rural Lower Normandy) and Darnétal (urban Upper Normandy). This 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, all of which have been noted in the literature as characteristic of the Regional French of Normandy, are investigated in the purely linguistic part of the study. 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 an individual speaker's opinion about the ‘goodness’ of the accent and their on phonological results (whether or not they actually use the Normandy variant of the vowel variables). The conclusions of the study are that the effect of a Norman-language substrate in the Regional French of Normandy is limited at best, and that, in linguistic terms, Normandy still constitutes a single speech-community. However, in perceptual-dialectological terms, Normandy is arguably not a single speech-community, since there is little shared knowledge of norms between the communities, at opposite ends of Normandy, which are investigated here. Reference. Labov, William. 2001. Principles of Linguistic Change, Volume 2: Social Factors. Oxford, UK and Malden, MA, USA: Blackwell.

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Recommended Citation

Hall, Damien John, "A sociolinguistic study of the regional French of Normandy" (2008). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3346125.