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French in and out of France

Language Policies, Intercultural Antagonisms and Dialogue

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Edited By Kamal Salhi

This book examines policy planning and implementation and language variation in the realm of intercultural communication in France, Europe, the Americas, Australia, North and Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. The book aims to discern trends in the development of the capacity of Francophone speakers to engage in dialogue across linguistic boundaries. Each study in the volume seeks to evaluate and analyse the antagonistic situations that have resulted from colonial culture and the post-independence hegemonic cultures. These situations are investigated through their expression in the French language and the languages with which it coexists in the countries considered here. The expertise of linguists and language specialists in this volume provides formalist and structural insights and an innovative phenomenology of language and newly available quantitative and qualitative studies of synchronic language. These methodologies are applied to a wide range of subject areas: law, history, literature, politics and society. Taken as a whole the book offers a fresh perspective on the issues surrounding French within and beyond France in the post-colonial and Francophone contexts.

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Nigel Armstrong and Mikaël Jamin - Le franrçais des banlieues: Uniformity and Discontinuity in the French of the Hexagone 107

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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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