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Séminaire de recherche en linguistique | Conférence Daniel Johnson Post-doctoral researcher PALSE project - Université Lyon 2

Publié le 3 mars 2017 Mis à jour le 27 mars 2018

Le département de linguistique de l’Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3 a le plaisir de vous inviter dans le cadre de son séminaire de recherche à l’exposé de Daniel Johnson Post-doctoral researcher PALSE project « Immigration, identité et diversité sociolinguistique en contexte créolophone au Canada » (directed by Véronique LACOSTE - MCF Université Lyon 2/CRTT EA 416).

« The nasal vowels of Wallonia»

 This talk investigates the nasal vowels found in the oïl dialects of Wallonia in southern Belgium. Using 19th- and 20th-century data from the Atlas linguistique de la Wallonie and a range of community studies, I will describe the nasal vowels of Wallonia from both a synchronic and a diachronic point of view. From the synchronic (phonological) point of view, I will discuss the range of nasal vowel inventories found in the varieties of the region. Most have a system of four nasal vowel phonemes like Standard French, but some have as many as six, while others have none at all. From the diachronic (historical-phonetic) point of view, I identify the Vulgar Latin word classes that can potentially yield nasal vowels, and follow their development in the modern dialects. This shows that even the varieties with similar inventories as French have evolved rather differently.

The talk then will focus on three geographic areas, where there is either a distinct high front nasal vowel such as / ĩ /, an approximation or merger between the low / ã / and the back / ɔ̃ /, or a lack of nasalization before nasal consonants (as in French), or in all environments. I hope to show how studying Wallonia, on the periphery of the Romance-speaking language area, can shed some light on the evolution of a central dialect like French. It is also an opportunity to assess the potential influence of a neighboring language area (Germanic, in this case). Finally, it provides evidence against the view that peripheral dialect areas are conservative relic areas, “unreached” by changes spreading from (prestigious) centers. While in some cases this is true, in other respects Wallonia has been innovative. The talk will conclude with a more general discussion of internal vs. external factors in dialect evolution.
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