La quête du vernaculaire dans l’étude de la variation grammaticale.
SHS Web of Conferences
EDP Sciences (www.linguistiquefrancaise.org)
This is the final version of the article. Available from EDP Sciences via the DOI in this record.
Variationist sociolinguistics often accords pride of place to the vernacular style, defined as the style in which minimal attention is paid to the monitoring of one’s own speech: firstly because it is the most systematic and regular variety, being immune from the hypercorrection found in more formal styles; and secondly because it is in the vernacular that many linguistic innovations first appear, and this style thus gives the most reliable indication of the current state of the language, from historical and typological perspectives. When comparing two samples of non-vernacular speech, we must consider the possibility that the two groups of speakers have spoken in two different styles, more or less distant from the vernacular. Whilst tutoiement does not necessarily entail the use of the vernacular (i.e. the use by an individual of the maximum level of informal variants at their disposal), it does seem to be a necessary condition for the emergence of this style. We therefore hypothesize that the vernacular is pragmatically incongruous (and non-existent) alongside vouvoiement in the same discourse. However in several corpora of sociolinguistic interviews, vouvoiement is the majority address form, and is sometimes even categorical, and therefore caution is necessary when comparing variation in different corpora. Moreover the interpersonal dynamics of the interview directly affect the use of certain grammatical features such as indefinite personal pronouns and syntactic structures associated with directive and expressive speech acts, including direct interrogatives and emphatic negation. Finally we propose a “variationist paradox” (in parallel with the famous “observer’s paradox”): in most variationist research, the ideal goal is to record, in a limited time, a significant amount of vernacular speech from a representative sample of the speech community. The most practical context in which to obtain this type of data from such a sample of speakers is the sociolinguistic interview, which, by definition, involves two strangers and therefore excludes the vernacular style. This paradox can be resolved through self-recording or peer-group conversations.
SHS Web of Conferences, Vol. 27, Issue Actes du CMLF 2016 - 5ème Congrès Mondial de Linguistique Française, pp. 1 - 13
Place of publication