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    Strasbourg revisited: “C’est chic de parler français"

    Gardner-Chloros, Penelope (2013) Strasbourg revisited: “C’est chic de parler français". International Journal of the Sociology of Language 224 , pp. 143-177. ISSN 1613-3668.

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    This article describes the results of a follow-up sociolinguistic study to assess changes which have taken place in Strasbourg, France, since the early 1980s, when the situation there was studied by the same author. The linguistic context and the results of the original study are described, as well as the implications and difficulties of such real-time studies. Although the latest large-scale statistical surveys are not directly comparable with the earlier ones, an accelerating shift away from the Alsatian dialect to the use of French is nonetheless evident. This results partly from diverse social changes affecting the city as opposed to the countryside. Alongside this, there is a snowball effect of trends which were already visible in the 1980s, reflecting the loss of an elderly dialect-speaking generation who helped maintain Alsatian within the family. Rapid anonymous surveys carried out in town show the dialect to be used only in specific “pockets”. Some six hours of conversations involving code-switching were also compared with a similar corpus collected earlier, and revealed a decline in more complex grammatical forms of switching in favor of more single-word switches. Alternation was the dominant pattern although different proportions of switch-types occurred in different conversations. The functions of code-switching, e.g., for humor and solidarity, remained similar. The conclusion reiterates the difficulties but also the advantages of real-time sociolinguistic comparisons, as different socioeconomic and lifestyle factors interact with ongoing linguistic shift and change.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): code-switching, Alsatian dialect, French, age-grading, language shift
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2014 15:42
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:34


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