A phonological and sociolinguistic survey of students in a French Canadian high school.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
The bipartite organization of this thesis shows the development and application of two linguistic surveys involving different approaches. A review of the previous studies of the language question in Quebec shows the recent revival of phonetic and phonological analyses after several years of sociolinguistic investigations. Following this, the theoretical and methodological aspects of the two approaches to linguistic research; the 'phonological' and the 'sociolinguistic', are reviewed and applied in the French Canadian context. A phonological analysis and an attitude survey involved twenty-five subjects between the ages of 16 and 17. For the phonological study, an interviewer-administered questionnaire consisting of two parts was employed. The attitudinal investigation incorporating two 'self-evaluation' tests and a Likert type scale was used to measure the degree of presence of subject's attitudes towards their own speech, and Quebec French as a whole. Results of the sociolinguistic survey indicate that Amos informants are linguistically secure; they do not undermine their own speech, nor do they recognize standard French or English as superior to Quebec French. Analysis of the phonological findings show that certain features of the phonemic systems of subjects differ from both standard French and Quebec French. Distinctions which are disappearing in standard French, namely /œ / ~ / E /, and /a/ ~ / a / in final enclosed position, are shown to be stable in the speech of Amos informants. A distinction rarely maintained in certain minimal pairs in Montreal speech,/o/~ /a/ is shown to be maintained in Amos. Phonetic variants of all phonemes tested are shown. Finally, the two different approaches applied in the study are contrasted and the relative merits and downfalls of each one are discussed. The 'phonological approach' to language study is favoured over the 'sociolinguistic approach' as it is theoretically superior and of greater value in empirical language study.