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Top-down or bottom-up? Understanding diffusion of supralocal norms in France

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Damien Hall



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of a book chapter that has been published in its final definitive form by Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.

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


A plethora of recent studies attest to regional dialect levelling of a particularly intense kind in France. Explanations for the decline in regional variation usually appeal either to ‘top-down’ political factors - often labelled ‘linguistic jacobinism’ - or to ‘bottom-up’ ones involving contact between speakers in urban areas. We will argue that such explanations are insufficient, and that levelling phenomena are in fact promoted by the peculiar socio-spatial arrangements of France’s cities. Away from urban conurbations, a different picture emerges. We present evidence from the Normandy communities of Darnétal and La Bonneville that little-noticed changes in isolated areas are driving divergence from both traditional dialect and the supralocal norm.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hall DJ, Hornsby D

Editor(s): Davies, WV; Ziegler, E

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Language Planning and Microlinguistics: From Policy to Interaction and Vice Versa

Year: 2015

Pages: 105-127

Print publication date: 01/05/2015

Acceptance date: 01/01/1900

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Place Published: Basingstoke, Hampshire


Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781137361233