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La variation en question(s)

Hommages à Françoise Gadet

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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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9. Parallel Innovations in Conflictual Rhetorical Questions in the Multicultural Vernaculars of London English and Parisian French (Aidan Coveney / Laurie Dekhissi)

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9

Parallel Innovations in Conflictual Rhetorical Questions in the Multicultural Vernaculars of London English and Parisian French1

Aidan COVENEY and Laurie DEKHISSI

1. Introduction

Writing in 2001, as a variationist specialising in historical syntax, Anthony Kroch (2001: 725) called for sociolinguistic research into syntactic change in contemporary spoken languages:

Given the strong possibility that textual data do not give evidence for the process of language change in a vernacular, there is a real need for the study of syntactic innovations in living languages, using sociolinguistic methods to observe unreflecting speech. Such studies do not at present exist, in part because syntactic change is relatively rare and hard to catch on the fly.

Although it is surprising that Kroch believed no such research had already been conducted, one can nevertheless readily concur with his view that syntactic changes are hard to ‘catch’, and that studies of syntactic innovation in contemporary spoken language will contribute greatly to our understanding of change at this level of language.

This contribution investigates two apparently innovative structures, which are syntactically comparable and serve similar pragmatic functions, in the multicultural vernacular varieties of English in London, and of French in the Paris region. The structures involve a WH interrogative clause in which the WH-item corresponds to why and pourquoi in the standard varieties of English and French, respectively, but which, in these vernacular varieties, is replaced (in French) or reinforced...

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