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Variation, invariant et plasticité langagière

 | 
Isabelle Gaudy-Campbell
, 
Yvon Keromnes

Résumés en anglais/abstracts

Volltext

1Marc Fryd

2The present study investigates the case of morphological and/or phonological /Vr/ - /rV/ metathetic alternation in the English place-name element – thorp. It takes as a case in point the various pronunciations attested for the Northamptonshire place-name Althorp, widely known in connection with the Spencer family estate. The long-standing claim that Anglo-Saxon ‘throps’ may be distinguished from Scandinavian ‘thorps’ is discussed and rejected, and /r-metathesis/ is in turn discussed against a broad historical perspective, with a view to approaching a general definition of the sonority prerequisites for vocalic epenthesis or deletion in the context of liquids.

 

3Héloïse Lechevallier-Parent

4Generic noun phrases are expressed in contemporary English with varied formal devices, including definite singulars and bare plurals. More remarkably, generic texts typically use indefinite plural phrases in case of discourse anaphora. Considering this variation from the way anaphora works as well as from the way indefinite and definite noun phrases relate to one another in non generic contexts, we examine to what extent the definite article functions as a topic marker as well as anaphorically with regard to text coherence. In this paper, we propose an analysis of anaphoric noun phrases and determiner variations within their context-specific setting and in relation with the information structuring, based on a corpus of generic texts. Our study relies on data collected in two encyclopedia articles and two texts dedicated to popularizing scientific information about a generic referent that is given as the topic. As we analyse the predicative context, we show that although both bare plurals and definite singulars reemphasize an operation of categorization within a notional domain, they infer different discourse and utterance parameters. We assume that the definite article marks the mention of an already accessible semantic content that is re-affirmed and redefined. It also indicates that the referent is salient as it is located within its class and distinguished from all other constituents. We point at the fundamental function of the generic definite as presupposing an anaphoric dimension from a cognitive point of view.

 

5Denis Apothéloz et Bernard Combettes

6In narratives, French past perfect (plus-que-parfait) is regularly used to indicate that the situation referred to is located prior to another situation, i.e. before to the current point of the story. When these flashbacks stretch for a long time, and/or gain some autonomy, they form a real ‘narrative within a narrative’ (analepsis). It may happen, then, that the simple past (passé simple) takes over from the plus-que-parfait inside the analepsis. These two tenses are then, in some ways, in a situation of variation. This article examines the environments and the conditions of this tense switching, in a corpus of modern narrative prose of XIXth and XXth c.

 

7Matthias Tauveron

8This article on lexical semantics aims at studying the specialized languages coming with professional groups. I consider here that this variation in meaning is a kind of social variation which is not based on differences between social groups, but between professional groups. It is well known that some of these groups have communication habits, use specific text genres or terminologies.

9I put the focus here on the variation of the lexical meaning of the French noun événement, whose general meaning is clear. The use of a corpus made exclusively of handbooks and articles of human sciences (journalism, marketing, social psychology) shows that its meaning is very different from one professional group to another. For example, it occurs as an argument of different predicates. Consommation et production d’événements sportifs (consumption and production of sportive events) is attested in marketing, and interprétation d’événements (interpretation of events) in journalism. Thus, the argument spectrum of this noun is different from one discourse to another. This can be understood from a referential point of view : the entity denoted by événement is involved in different activities (here, consommation or interpretation). Then, I conclude that the semantic variation of the noun événement is correlated with the professional activity in which the texts are involved.

10Thus, I can bind the social variation attested in my corpus with the social fact defining the language variety I study here : the professional activity. My study shows the specificity of the specialized languages within the scope of social variation. Because they are defined by social activities, they rely on socio-cultural modellings, which allows a thin semantic variation of meaning of some language units.

 

11Christelle Rouet-Delarue

12Reformulation of meaning through discourse is a linguistic strategy. The notion of reformulation is extremely varied and covers many different uses but it requires a constant which does not change between the original formulation and the subsequent reformulation. The question remains as to where such a constant is to be found. We will show that this constant is not situated in the meaning of the utterance but rather in the argumentative or causal structure. We will also demonstrate that it is the repetition of this structure which makes the reformulation possible.

 

13Frédéric André, Marion Béchet, Fabrice Hirsch, Fabrice Marsac & Rudolph Sock

14The aim of this study is to investigate the use of pauses in political speech and see if there is substantial variation in the use of silences according to the type of speech. This study aims at examining whether the use and the characteristics of pauses vary depending on the type of debate.

15Our hypothesis is that politicians adapt the rhythm of their speech production, according to the kind of debate.

16To illustrate this, we chose to study silences in François Hollande’s speech production, first during the Socialist primary debate in 2011 against Martine Aubry, and then in a normal speech situation during the pre-election speech at Le Bourget.

17Thus, both programs of François Hollande’s speech production were transcribed. We examined the speaker’s posture, we identified silences and silence duration was quantified using Praat software. Other parameters (like articulation rate, number of syllables per rhythmic group, ...), were also quantified to observe variation in rhythm.

18The results of the study helped highlight significant differences in the use of pauses in François Hollande’s speech production. Indeed, the strategy differs depending on the type of communication. Thus, pauses increase, especially emphasis pauses, both in number and in length in François Hollande’s speech at Le Bourget.

 

19Patrice Larroque

20The relevance of the notion of normativeness (i.e. it pertains to a norm regarded as the standard of correctness in speech) for many people and linguists rests on the fact that only one or two varieties of the English language act as a model or norm, typically Standard English. I believe that, while that reference to the norm is somewhat linguistically and pedagogically necessary, particularly as far as language acquisition and second language learning are concerned, it is arguably a minority use and greater emphasis ought to be laid on describing non-standard varieties of the language at the morphosyntactic level.

21A large number of dialectologists and sociolinguists have been carrying out research on varieties of English and dialects other than Standard British English or General American, but I seek to bolster interest in analyzing the grammar of non-standard English in utterer-centered terms.

22An important topic in the study of non-standard varieties of English is the distance there may be between the core system of the English language and the actual linguistic realization of it. There is evidence of two competing forces, one centripetal and one centrifugal with a risk of fragmenting.

23One of the issues relating to the notion of linguistic norm is, therefore, the status of observed irregularities in language behavior, and whether one can reasonably deem these “errors” or “mistakes”, since native speakers perform them and by essence people who speak their mother tongue do not make mistakes. These irregularities may reflect inadequate competence as regards the norm, but they generally do not question the grammaticality of the performance, which is, I argue, intuitive. Thus, the notion of grammaticality not only depends on linguistic knowledge, but also resembles a sometimes unconscious codification of the language by users. Their grammar corresponds to internalized patterns which may relate to a fluctuating norm.

 

24Charles Brasart

25This article looks at how bilingual speakers switch languages within their communities, in an attempt at determining whether certain norms emerge — whether they be group-dependent or not —, or if the production of code-switched utterances happens on a case-by-case basis. Can a quantifiable measure of invariance be found in a phenomenon that is at its core defined by variation from the (monolingual) norm ? Or is it shaped by how speakers in a given group interact with one another ? In order to answer this question, we performed a comparative analysis of two bilingual corpora, from which two tendencies emerge. First, our statistics show that in the majority of cases, not only can the same bilingual phenomena be found in both our corpora, they also appear at extremely similar frequencies. Second, the numbers show that approximately a quarter of bilingual phenomena are different across our corpora, which would seem to show that at least some of them do depend on the group in which they appear. In our conclusion we put forward the theory that these bilingual phenomena can be better explained if the discursive purpose of code-switching is taken into account, i.e. the creation of a message that is optimally easy and fast both to produce for the speaker and to understand for the listener.

 

26Günther Schmale

27Phraseological research generally differentiates three notions as to the form an idiomatic expression may exhibit : the basic form, its – common – variations, and its – occasional – modifications. Whereas basic forms and – less frequently – variations are lemmatized in dictionaries, modifications are not. What is more, modifications may be deliberate or involuntary. A study of four conversational corpora reveals that a great number of IEs used by participants is deviant from the lemmata of specialized phraseological dictionaries. Following a brief look into known variations of IEs and deliberate modifications for journalistic or publicity purposes, the paper then proposes a systematic comparison of potentially modified IE forms in the corpora with the respective entries in three specialized diction naries (Duden 11, Pons-Schemann, redensarten-index.de). The study shows that the three dictionaries exploited considerably vary in the extent to which IEs are being lemmatized : Pons-Schemann has more than Duden 11 and redensarten-index.de has more than the former. And sometimes a Google search produces a hit where none of the dictionaries have an entry. Considering that several years may elapse before an IE finds its entry into a dictionary or may even never be lemmatized although widely used, one can at best conclude to potential modification from a basic form. The paper finally offers two hypotheses as to how participants achieve understanding of an IE at first sight considerably deviating from a lemmatized form.

 

28Isabelle Gaudy-Campbell

29Being the stereotype of non-standard speech, ain’t subsitutes for do, be, have in their negative forms. Rather than considering ain’t as a mere variant, we underline that it has the capacity to substitute for all the auxiliaries, whatever their tense or orientation. On a syntactic level, it regularly appears at key moments of speech in progress or in question-tags, making up for any predicative link that might have been elided (British National Corpus, AC5 3106 Just trying to get used to him, ain’t I). Both on a predicative and on a syntactic level, ain’t operates as a multi-auxiliary. It also works as a meta-linguistic tool, underlining the oral status of the clause that it targets whether the speaker freely reports speech or performs a discourse act (AC5 1062 ‘I tell you, you ain’t leaving me here !’). Thus, we argue that far from being a substandard variant, ain’t is an invariant tool.

 

30Ruth Huart

31The terms used in the subtitle are often considered sloppy speech or socially or culturally marked. However, it is not rare to find them in educated British speech. Using recordings from English radio de-bates or interviews, we examined cases where a given speaker used both the “correct” and the “sloppy” version of a given marker in a single stretch of speech (want to/wanna, got to/gotta, kind of/kinda…). We propose that the variations observed are not haphazard, but rather that they might reflect different enunciative operations. When the initial /t/ of to or the final /v/ of of are maintained, it could signify that the speaker requires these markers to express his or her meaning. On the other hand, when the particle is amalgamated with the preceding term as an indistinguishable “schwa”, the ending, identical with the agentive or comparative suffix er, might be construed as having a weaker, purely relational function. In addition to the “grammaticalisation” of modal expressions like going to and kind of, an additional step in the process would extend to the common ending.

© Presses universitaires de Franche-Comté, 2016

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