FR 359 • FRENCH IN ITS SOCIAL CONTEXT
3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Within a given French dialect (e.g., "le français parisien", "le français canadien", etc.) there is usually tremendous linguistic variation which correlates with sociological criteria : age, sex, social class, education, etc. In this course we will explore the relation between the French language and French society. In particular, we will examine how language reflects social differences in the French speaking world as well as creates and maintains social differences. Some of the issues which will be addressed are: Language Attitudes Why are some varieties of French considered more prestigious than others? How do the French view their own language vis-à-vis other languages? Language Politics What is the French government's language policy? What is the current political situation in Quebec regarding language? Language Change How is the French language changing? What differences are there between younger and older speakers of French? Language Variation What language differences correlate with gender? What language differences correlate with social class? with levels of formality? What are the distinctive characteristics of the various dialects of French? Language Contact How has the French language been influenced by other languages? What is the relation of French Creole and Canadian French to Standard French?
ASSIGNMENTS & COMPUTATION OF GRADE: 1. Class participation (10%) --includes taking part in all discussions based on the readings, and submitting weekly discussion questions on the readings 2. Short papers (2@20% each) (40%) 3. Final paper (50%) You will be required to do quite a bit of reading, to think hard about complex issues, and to write three papers: two short papers (approx. 2 pages). summarizing/synthesizing any two readings of your choice, and a final paper (approx. 8 pages) that should be contrastive in orientation, in other words, a paper in which you will argue whether the French sociolinguistic situation is similar to or different from the American situation according to your own personal experience . As an introductory course in sociolinguistics, a background in linguistics is certainly helpful but not absolutely essential. If you have any questions about the nature of the readings, the assignments, or your background, please see me.
READINGS: Required Reading Packet