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(e) in Normandy: The sociolinguistics, phonology and phonetics of the Loi de Position

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Damien Hall



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Cambridge University Press, 2019.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


This article uses the pronunciation of stressed Intonational Phrase-final /ε/ and /e/ in two communities in Normandy, France, to illustrate the convergence of two sociolinguistic processes on the same phonological result: increasing application of the Loi de Position. In both communities (one rural and further from Paris, one urban and closer to Paris), there is now no consistent community-wide phonetic distinction between the two phonemes in that environment. It is suggested that the Loi de Position is already widely applied in the rural site, but speakers are still conscious of the formal norm whereby it is not applied; for the urban site, apparent-time changes for this variable reflect changes in Parisian speech. The theoretical implications of the study concerning speakers’ organisation of their vowel-space, and concerning the increasing application of the Loi de Position in the French of France, are examined. These conclusions are reached by per-speaker analysis of F1 and F2 separately from each other (rare in French linguistics). As a measure of community cohesion, the article introduces to linguistics the coefficient of variation (more common in biology and medicine).

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hall DJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of French Language Studies

Year: 2019

Volume: 29

Issue: 1

Pages: 1-33

Print publication date: 01/03/2019

Online publication date: 08/08/2018

Acceptance date: 06/02/2018

Date deposited: 20/03/2018

ISSN (print): 0959-2695

ISSN (electronic): 1474-0079

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S0959269518000157


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