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La variation en question(s)

Hommages à Françoise Gadet


Edited By Henry Tyne, Mireille Bilger, Paul Cappeau and Emmanuelle Guerin

Cet ouvrage réunit des articles autour de différents questionnements que suscite la prise en compte de la variation en français aujourd’hui. Il apparaît plus que jamais que l’étude de la variation, ayant contribué à élargir le périmètre de la sociolinguistique, investit progressivement différents domaines et branches de la linguistique et de la linguistique appliquée. Organisé en six sections (Aborder la variation, Sociolinguistique historique, Contact des langues, Études du français parlé, Oral et écrit, Acquisition et enseignement), cet ouvrage a pour objectif de présenter différentes études portant sur la variation en relation avec les travaux de Françoise Gadet mais également dans une perspective plus large.

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8. Reflexivity and Discourse-pragmatic Variation and Change (Kate Beeching)


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Reflexivity and Discourse-pragmatic Variation and Change


1. Introduction

Gadet (2003) highlights key features of ordinary everyday spoken French, focusing on the relationship between form and function, social factors and language change. Gadet’s argument is illustrated with a wealth of case studies and examples drawn from corpora of spoken French. The present chapter hopes to contribute to debates in the field of social variation by focusing on a particular feature of the “matériau variationnel” tabulated by Gadet (2003: 44), that of the “fréquence des ponctuants ou appuis du discours”, with particular reference to the metacommenting expressions si tu veux / si vous voulez.

Classic variationist approaches in the Labovian tradition have generally focused on phonological variables, whereby two variants of a phonemic variable can be demonstrated to pattern in systematic ways in what has been termed “orderly heterogeneity” (Weinreich et al. 1968). One of the cornerstones of the approach is that phonological variables are free of semantic meaning. Some syntactic studies have been conducted drawing on this method and, more recently, scholars of discourse-pragmatic variation and change have been developing ways of applying variationist methods to the investigation of the use and evolution of what have been referred to variously as “ponctuants” (Vincent 1993), “discourse markers” (Schiffrin 1987) “marqueurs discursifs” (Dostie & Pusch 2007) or “pragmatic markers” (Brinton 1996; Aijmer 2013; Beeching 2016). Two thorny issues facing sociolinguists wishing to apply variationist techniques...

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