Language Policies, Intercultural Antagonisms and Dialogue
Edited By Kamal Salhi
Nigel Armstrong and Mikaël Jamin - Le franrçais des banlieues: Uniformity and Discontinuity in the French of the Hexagone 107
NIGEL ARMSTRONG AND MIKAEL JAMIN Le fram;ais des banlieues: Uniformity and Discon- tinuity in the French of the Hexagone The French language in the lzexagone is interesting to the sociolinguist on account of the paradoxes it presents. This introductory section will discuss these from a threefold perspective. The chapter will then go on to describe some changes that may be in progress in the speech of ban- lieue French speakers, and concludes with a consideration of the relation between these changes and the relative uniformity of 'mainstream' French. Firstly, French shows a particularly wide gulf between the standard and non-standard varieties of the language, wider perhaps than in other comparable (i.e. standardised Western) languages. Moreover, this gulf is more apparent on certain linguistic levels than others. As is conventional, the linguistic levels of analysis used in this chapter are lexis, grammar and pronunciation. Variation between the standard and non-standard varieties is of course apparent in French at all linguistic levels, but as Lodge suggests in the course of a discussion of whether contemporary French may be characterised by a form of diglossia, 'it is probably in the lexicon that style-shifting in French is indicated most obviously.' 1 In one sense, this is unsurprising, since the lexical level is characterised by the greatest degree of salience. Nevertheless, French seems distinctive on account of the rather large number of the pairs of lexical doublets or alternants that speakers have available. One example from this lexical set is the pair voiture (standard)...
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