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Evolutionary Syntax

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Academic Paper

Title: ‘chtileu qu'i m'freumereu m'bouque i n'est point coér au monne’: Grammatical variation and diglossia in Picardie
Author: Anne-José Villeneuve
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Toronto
Author: Julie Auger
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Institution: Indiana University Bloomington
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: French
Abstract: In this article, we analyze French and Picard data, extracted from sociolinguistic interviews with four Picard–French bilingual speakers and four French monolingual speakers from the Vimeu (Somme) area of France, in order to determine whether the two closely-related varieties maintain distinct grammars or whether they now constitute varieties of the same language. Focusing on two linguistic variables, subject doubling and ne deletion, we argue that the variation observed in our French data results from variation within a single grammar, while our Picard data display markedly different patterns that can only be explained by a speaker's switch to a Picard grammar. We propose a model that schematises our results and attempts to reconcile the notions of diglossia and variation. In addition to providing empirical evidence in favour of an approach that recognises the structurally distinct status of Picard, our data indicate that resorting to a diglossic approach for French fails to capture the intrinsically variable nature of human language.


This article appears IN Journal of French Language Studies Vol. 23, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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