University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics


In this paper I examine the use of future temporal reference in real-time in the majority French community of Hawkesbury, Ontario, Canada. The corpora, established in 1978 and 2005, contain sociolinguistic interviews of Francophone adolescents 15 to 18 years of age enrolled in French-medium schools. At issue in this research is the variation between the periphrastic and inflected future forms. Over the 28-year time span, the periphrastic future has assumed new prestige in this variety, now the preferred variant of the middle class. Moreover, this form has made significant gains into negative contexts, the formerly privileged and nearly exclusive site of the inflected future. In light of this unprecedented behavior, the question remains as to what will become of the inflected future. I discuss here a number of important signs discovered in the real-time data for Hawkesbury that lend further support for the waning force of the inflected future in Laurentian varieties of spoken French.