Linguistics: Variation in Contemporary French

lrom1221  2019-2020  Louvain-la-Neuve

Linguistics: Variation in Contemporary French
Note from June 29, 2020
Although we do not yet know how long the social distancing related to the Covid-19 pandemic will last, and regardless of the changes that had to be made in the evaluation of the June 2020 session in relation to what is provided for in this learning unit description, new learnig unit evaluation methods may still be adopted by the teachers; details of these methods have been - or will be - communicated to the students by the teachers, as soon as possible.
5 credits
30.0 h + 15.0 h
Simon Anne-Catherine;
LFIAL1530 Introduction to linguistics
Level C1-C2 in French. 

The prerequisite(s) for this Teaching Unit (Unité d’enseignement – UE) for the programmes/courses that offer this Teaching Unit are specified at the end of this sheet.
Main themes
Examination of the usage (spoken and written) of present-day French reveals that the language is subject to significant variations that affect, among others, pronunciation, vocabulary and syntax. This course offers a series of theoretical and methodological tools for the identification, description and analysis of linguistic variants, and attempts to explain the causes of this variation. The approach is both disciplinary (phonology, lexicology, syntax) and sociolinguistic. The course aims to develop reflection about the idea of 'reference French' and about the characteristics of the different 'varieties' of French, whether regional, social or stylistic.

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

By the end of this course students will be able to
' Identify linguistic variation (variables and variants) in spoken and written French usage, at the phonetic-phonological, written, morphological, lexical and syntactical levels;
' Describe variants in a qualitative manner, in relation to 'reference French';
' Interpret the social value of a variant by relating it to one or more dimensions of variation (social, geographical, stylistic, etc.);
' Distinguish between the normative and scientific viewpoints on language, and take a critical perspective on value judgements relative to usage of French.

The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
The following questions will be considered: which aspects of French pronunciation vary (vowels, consonants, schwa) and why? What do the phonological systems of different varieties of French (in Belgium, in the south of France, in Quebec, etc.) have in common? What questions, and what problems, are posed by gender-neutral writing (making it possible to ensure equality of representations between men and women) and the feminisation of job titles, etc.? How can one describe the origins and status of lexical regionalisms (Belgicisms, Helvetisms, etc.)? Is the syntax of the spoken language the same as that of the written language? Etc.
Teaching materials
  • La variation en français contemporain (syllabus disponible à la DUC)
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Minor in Linguistics

Minor in French Studies

Bachelor in Psychology and Education : Speech and Language Therapy

Bachelor in Ancient and Modern Languages and Literatures

Bachelor in French and Romance Languages and Literatures : General

Bachelor in Modern Languages and Literatures : General