Sociolinguistics in France

Authored by: Nadine Di Vito

The Routledge Handbook of Sociolinguistics Around the World

Print publication date:  November  2009
Online publication date:  December  2009

Print ISBN: 9780415422789
eBook ISBN: 9780203869659
Adobe ISBN: 9781135261054


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For hundreds of years merely one of many competing language varieties, at the end of the eighteenth century French was spoken by only a third of the population (Chaurand 1999). In the nineteenth century its use spread to the upper classes in northern urban areas, and similar enough to local varieties for those users to be considered French-speaking, it acquired the valuable social perception of being widespread (Lodge 1993). French continued to establish itself throughout rural Gallo-Romance areas and in major cities, first in the upper classes as a vehicle for sociopolitical advancement, and then, with increasing mobility and access to educational institutions, in the middle and lower classes. As the French language was founded in sociocultural and sociolinguistic diversity, so today it remains a vibrant reflection of the multifaceted life of its speakers.

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