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Title:Perceptions of Parisian French: From Language Attitudes to Speech Perception
Author(s):Stewart, Christopher Michael
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Fagyal, Zsuzsanna; Peter Scott Golato
Department / Program:French
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Language, Modern
Abstract:This dissertation examines how Parisians perceive the French spoken in the Parisian region. A large scale language attitudes survey provided evidence that Parisians possess fine-grained mental maps that geographically represent linguistic prestige. These maps were shown to be influenced much more by cities' reputations than by perceptions of their residential desirability. Subjects' mental maps of the Parisian region were indicated to be constrained by subjects' age, gender, socio-economic status and level of anti-immigrant bias. A subsequent study demonstrated that such language attitudes align with the perception of prosodic variation within Parisian French. Acoustically resynthesized stimuli containing increasingly strong levels of prosodic traits observed in a Parisian urban youth vernacular were reliably placed in cities with low levels of linguistic prestige, as indicated by the language attitudes survey. Sociolinguistic experience, a measure of subjects' variable experience with non-standard French, regional varieties and foreign languages, was shown to predict evaluations of the Parisian urban youth vernacular. Subjects with lower levels of sociolinguistic experience placed negatively evaluated stimuli in cities with lower levels of linguistic prestige than those with higher levels of sociolinguistic experience. These studies then speak to the potential of a field of urban dialectology for studying contexts in which socio-geographic perception shapes language attitudes and, potentially, speech perception. Additionally, it is argued that these dissertation studies test a cognitive linguistic hypothesis on how social cognition shapes the perception of socio-phonetic variation. Finally, these studies provide a snapshot of language attitudes towards Parisian French, indicating that increased socio-geographic segregation may be driving perceptions of sociolinguistic stratification within the Parisian region.
Issue Date:2009
Description:248 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2009.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3392486
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2009

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