Francitan vs. Standard French Pronunciation in Southeastern France

Alain Thomas

Abstract


This article presents the results of a survey on French pronunciation in the Nice (France) area, which attempts to determine whether southern pronunciation is being lost in that region and, if so, to what extent, on which features of the system and according to what stylistic and sociolinguistic modalities. To this end, a corpus of readings and spontaneous speech recordings was gathered through the interview of 25 subjects belonging to five families, which all spanned at least three generations and in which the oldest members were all
manual workers with obvious southern accents. A Labovian-style analysis was then conducted on three typically Francitan phonetic features: mute "e", nasal vowels and mid- and low vowels.
Results show a shift from the vernacular variants to the standard French equivalents, with negligible gender and stylistic variation. This change can be explained in terms of convergence or opposition between the internal and external
factors of evolution. To the extent that a study of 25 subjects in "dynamic synchrony" can be considered representative of the actual phonetic evolution of the local dialect, our survey illustrates the gradual disappearance of southern French pronunciation in the Nice area.

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