Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

A Sociolinguistic Study of the Regional French of Normandy

Hall, Damien J. (2008) A Sociolinguistic Study of the Regional French of Normandy. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Pennsylvania. (KAR id:29541)

Language: English
Download this file
[thumbnail of DamienHall_PhD.pdf]


This dissertation is the first investigation of the Regional French of Normandy using

sociolinguistic principles of data collection and analysis as outlined by Labov (2001). It

provides a partial characterisation of the regional variety of French spoken in Normandy,

France, by analysis of linguistic, dialectological and attitudinal data collected in two sites:

La Bonneville (rural Lower Normandy) and Darnétal (urban Upper Normandy). This is

the first sociolinguistic study of any variety of European French to make exclusive use of

instrumental measurements for the investigation of phonological variables (the vowels in

this study). Two vowel variables and one morphosyntactic variable, all of which have

been noted in the literature as characteristic of the Regional French of Normandy, are

investigated in the purely linguistic part of the study.

In the dialectological / attitudinal part of the study, informants were asked to fill in maps

of Normandy according to where they thought people spoke differently. They were then

asked whether there was a local accent in their area, whether they had it themselves,

whether they could give any examples of the accent and whether they thought the accent

was a good one. In the final part of the dissertation, the results of these questions are

compared with the phonological results speaker-by-speaker, to determine in particular

whether there is any correlation between an individual speaker's opinion about the

'goodness' of the accent and their own phonological results (whether or not they actually

use the Normandy variant of the vowel variables).

The conclusions of the study are that the effect of a Norman-language substrate in the

Regional French of Normandy is limited at best, and that, in linguistic terms, Normandy

still constitutes a single speech-community. However, in perceptual-dialectological

terms, Normandy is arguably not a single speech-community, since there is little shared

knowledge of norms between the communities, at opposite ends of Normandy, which are

investigated here.


Labov, William. 2001. Principles of Linguistic Change, Volume 2: Social Factors.

Oxford, UK and Malden, MA, USA: Blackwell.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Uncontrolled keywords: France, French, Normandy, Norman, dialectology, history, linguistics, sociolinguistics, phonetics, sociophonetics, ethnography, francais, français, Normandie, normand, dialectologie, histoire, linguistique, sociolinguistique, phonétique, sociophonétique, ethnographie
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PC Romance philology and languages
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Culture and Languages
Funders: Organisations -1 not found.
Depositing User: Damien Hall
Date Deposited: 18 May 2012 13:50 UTC
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2022 12:06 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Hall, Damien J..

Creator's ORCID:
CReDIT Contributor Roles:
  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.