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3/31/2017 Corpus approaches to sociolinguistic variation and semantic change: parce que bon...(because well…) Kate Beeching, Reader, Linguistics and French.

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1 3/31/2017 Corpus approaches to sociolinguistic variation and semantic change: parce que bon...(because well…) Kate Beeching, Reader, Linguistics and French Head, International Corpus Linguistics Research Unit (ICLRU) University of the West of England, Bristol

2 Bon, quand même, quoi ! Yeah but all the same, like
A sociolinguistic survey of semantic change. An investigation of the impact of daily interactional activity on the meanings of words and how sociolinguistic factors affect the way in which new meanings are propagated. « ….the real entities of language are utterances and speakers ’ grammars. Language change occurs via replication of these entities not through inherent change of an abstract system » Croft, 2000:4

3 Overview of the talk 1 What do sociolinguists study?
The relationship between diastratic, diaphasic and diachronic variation What are discourse/pragmatic markers? Are they a suitable case for (sociolinguistic) treatment? PISC - politeness induced semantic change

4 Overview of the talk 2 Case-studies : quand même bon quoi

5 What is sociolinguistics?
3/31/2017 What is sociolinguistics? The relationship between language and society Variationism: traditionally phonological a linguistic variable such as /t/ may have two variants /t/ and glottal stop: ‘butter’: distributional frequencies vary across populations (and indeed individuals)

6 Variation : The four “dias”
3/31/2017 Variation : The four “dias” Diatopic variation Diastratic variation (age, sex, social class) Diaphasic variation Diachronic variation

7 Studies in ‘real time’ and ‘apparent time’
3/31/2017 Studies in ‘real time’ and ‘apparent time’ Studies in ‘real time’ investigate differences observed in the speech of comparable groups of speakers separated by a significant period of time Studies in ‘apparent time’ investigate differences observed in the speech of different generations existing at the same time

8 Synchronic and diachronic variation
3/31/2017 Synchronic and diachronic variation For a while, the start and end-point of the change co-exist in the form of two different stylistic layers.... A change is, therefore, in the beginning, a synchronic phenomenon. Jakobson, 1952/1963:37 (KB translation). There are no pure varieties of contemporary French, merely quantitative differences in the distribution of key language variables. Lodge, 1993 : 232. Grammaticalization has to be conceived of as a panchronic process that presents both a diachronic perspective, since it involves change, and a synchronic perspective, since it implies variation that can be described as a system without reference to time. Heine, Claudi & Hünnemeyer, 1991:261 a weakening of lexical content which permits the item to appear in a greater number of contexts through a process of metonymic concomitance

9 What are pragmatic particles?
3/31/2017 What are pragmatic particles? Like, sort of, kind of, well, y’know, I mean, anyway, eh? Glasgow ‘but’ aber, ja, doch, eigentlich, eben, einmal, schon, mal bon, enfin, hein, quand même, quoi very frequent but tend not to appear in dictionaries and grammars

10 Defining pragmatic particles
3/31/2017 Defining pragmatic particles Brinton (1996: 33-35) highlights the following characteristics of ‘pragmatic markers’: marginal forms, difficult to place in a word class little or no propositional meaning multifunctional, operating on several linguistic levels feature of oral, rather than written discourse, associated with informality, often stigmatised appear with high frequency gender-specific? More typical of women’s speech?

11 Variationism and the use of particles
3/31/2017 Variationism and the use of particles Variationism is traditionally focused on phonology Recent studies (e.g. Fleischmann & Yaguello, 2004) suggest that certain DMs can be identity markers, and can function like phonological features

12 3/31/2017 To sum up Distributional frequencies of a small sub-set of frequently occurring DMs in French Investigating their correlation with demographic factors such as the age, sex, educational background and date of birth Investigating their etymology and the extent to which the hypothesis of PISC can be sustained.

13 3/31/2017 Corpus Data FRANTEXT literary corpus: contains 210 million words in 3,737 texts from the 16th. to the 20th. century Orléans (ESLO) Corpus ( ) : hours of spoken French (902,755 words transcribed); Beeching Corpus ( ) : hours of spoken French, (155,000 words transcribed), 95 speakers. Corpus de Référence du Français Parlé "CRFP" (2002): 40 towns in France, 400,000 words. See Véronis (2005).

14 Quand même: The coalesced form quand même appears to have started life as a strengthened form of quand - ‘at the very moment when’ The conjunction acquired a concessive force (cf. ‘while’) from at least 1500 In the 19th. Century, it appears as an adverb - and begins to lose its strong adversative or concessive sense In 20th./21st. Century spoken French, it is exclusively adverbial and may be either adversative or expressive (hedging/boosting)

15 From concessive conjunction>adverb
Je prépare un discours qui la pourroit toucher Quand mesme au lieu d’un coeur elle auroit un rocher. (Du Ryer, Pierre, Les vendanges de Suresne, 1636, page 62, Acte 1, scène iv (vi)) I’m preparing a speech which should tear her apart Even though she’d a stone where she should have a heart.

16 Conjunction to adverb Et quand même nous ne réussirions pas, nos petites-filles réussiront. (Marivaux, La Colonie, 1750, page 1851/Scène première). And even though we might not succeed, our grand-daughters will. Si je meurs, ce sera en t’adorant quand même, ainsi que j’ai vécu! (STENDHAL La Chartreuse de Parme, II, XXIII). If I die, I’ll go on loving you all the same, just as I did when I was alive.

17 Grammatical and semantic change
Period CONJUNCTIONS ADVERBS Concessive Temporal or contrastive Adversative Relational N % N % N % N % Table 1 Number and relative percentage rates of occurrence of Quand mesme/quand même in theatrical works in FRANTEXT, used as conjunctions with a concessive vs. temporal function or adverbs with an adversative vs. relational function, from

18 Spoken data: adverb>particle
ce n’est pas une ville qui bouge c’est une ville qui a quand même un cinéma la saison estivale pendant la saison estivale et deux boîtes de nuit deux discothèques (Beeching Corpus, 4, 35-–36) it’s not exactly leaping, as towns go, but it does have a cinema in the summer season during the summer season and two night clubs, two discotheques ça a l’air d’être une famille quand même assez riche (Beeching Corpus, 1, 647) It seems to be quite a rich family really.

19 An excuse or apology This mode has a familiar tone, more spoken than the first. Robert’s definition is Il faut avouer, à vrai dire, on en conviendra. To that list, one should probably add je ne devrais pas le dire mais... In speech it is a tactical gambit which, by sketching an apparent attenuation of what might be sensed as the impropriety of an affirmation, can enable the reinforcement of the latter. … offers a justification for the statement it accompanies, even a sort of excuse or apology for it. But thereby it too has an adversative quality, faint and implicit, in that it hints at contradicting an assumed objection. (Grieve, 1996: 417, my emphasis).

20 Semantic bleaching/pragmatic enrichment
Continuum M1 > M1/M2 [> M2] Propositional(concession)explicit adversative implicit adversative Hedging/Boosting Expression Conjunction  Adverb Particle

21 Bon Hansen (1998) « Acceptance »
Hansen (1998 : 253) claims that ‘the discourse marker bon is, of course, derived from the corresponding adjective’; she adds that it is clear that the adjective and the DM are different: the DM is invariable (uninflected) and behaves like an adverb. Hansen suggests that adjectival bon indicates a positive evaluation of something and that the DM also ‘marks acceptance in a rather wide sense of the word’. She gives examples (1998 : ) of interjective and turn-initial uses which can be interpreted in this way.

22 Jayez (2004) « mot de la fin » The utterance of bon by an agent a mediates the following conventional implicature : a believes or desires that a process in train is or should be ended. (Jayez, 2004: 4 – KB translates).

23 Bon Marks the stages in a narrative:
j'avais perdu mon père à douze ans + et je ne connaissais pas tellement la fabrication + ma mère + a fait tout ce qu'elle a pu mais eh eh + elle était pas du métier bon + alors /j'ai cherché, je cherchais/ + à ayant deux frè- deux frères et une soeur + à leur laisser la place pour t- + avoir une profession + CRFP PRI-AMI-3 Marks a reformulation: frère aîné qui avait quatre ans de plus que moi était très gâté parce qu'il passait de de fille en fille vous comprenez + tandis que moi j'ai été élevé de bon il a servi de brouillon pour moi or j'étais apparemment mieux réussi que que

24 Bon - restriction/concession and hedge
Marks a restriction or concession (bon….mais): prend ses fleurs en Hollande mais nous c'est que des fleurs de France + on (n') en prend pas en Hollande + bon il y en a qui viennent de Hollande mais c'est un fournisseur + en particulier qui fait des cultivations euh + en France (CRFP, PRI-BES-2) Hesitatory or hedging Oui alors bon oui je bon ma fille a bon elle a pas poursuivi ses études pour la bonne raison c’est qu’on l’a foutue dehors à l’âge de seize ans (from Jayez, 2004)

25 Brémond (2004) With respect to dialogic situations, Brémond (2004:7) notes that (KB translates): The (very frequent) use of the little mark bon in spoken exchanges rarely indicates agreement, or, at least, it never indicates agreement without indicating at the same time traces of disagreement… the use of this mark seems rather, perhaps by giving the surface appearance of agreement, to indicate the management of intersubjective heterogeneity; the use of the little mark seems to indicate an ongoing negotiation . [bon] … might be seen as playing a role in the cooperative management of the exchange.

26 3/31/2017 Bon – a (surface) agreement marker masking what is actually a disagreement Ca y’a des haricots verts dans votre plat ↑ E oui Ca bon Mar ben c’est-à-dire que si on met [pas les haricots verts on peut mettre de la laitue E t’en veux pas d’haricots verts ↑ ] Ca Non ↓ j(e ) veux pas d’haricots verts ↓ Caroline; Elodie; Margot

27 Bon – a (surface) agreement marker masking what is actually a disagreement
Ca are there green beans in your dish↑ E yes Ca bon (OK) Mar well that’s to say that if you don’t [have green beans you can have lettuce E you don’t want green beans ↑ ] Ca No ↓ I don’t want green beans↓

28 Linguistic change in progress
Hypothesis: In spontaneous spoken contexts, the ‘acceptance ’ and `mot de la fin` usages are gradually being superseded by a new sense which includes concession or what Brémond 2004 calls ‘traces de désaccord /négociation` Would support Traugott ’s (1982) thesis that semantic change follows a unidirectional path: Propositional >Textual>Expressive (Intersubjective)

29 3/31/2017 Generalization As it becomes semantically bleached, it can be used in more contexts and can thus increase in frequency. As Haspelmath (1999: 1062) remarks: Semantic generalization or bleaching is usually a prerequisite for use in a basic discourse function, that is, for the increase in frequency that triggers the other changes.

30 Quantitative survey - real time

31 Quantitative survey - apparent time

32 Example 1: a 92 year-old woman
L1 en contact avec euh l'Ecole normale + alors tant sur le plan de l'art + tout seul que sur le plan du langage L2 hum hum L1 bon et je me suis toujours + attachée à ce que les enfants parlent + bien + juste + construisent une phrase et réfléchissent + réfléchissent bon + vous voyez la formation de l'esprit à l'école maternelle c'est important + il y a la la formation du langage + il y a la lecture c'est évident + bon il y a un minimum de calcul c'est bien évident + mais l'art + euh fait à mon avis beaucoup l'art et la musique hein la peinture et la musique c’est ça CRFP PRI-BEL-2

33 Example 2: a 20 year-old woman
je suis rentrée dans cette entreprise pour un mois + /donc, bon/ c'était court + mais bon euh ça m'a permis de voir un peu ce que c'était + et euh donc j'ai travaillé en collaboration avec le D.R.H. et ça ça m'a plu + on a on a fait un tas de trucs et euh j'ai je me suis occupée de formation informatique pour euh les salariés + je me suis occupée des des détachés qui étaient à l'étranger euh avec les missions les ordres de euh + des exportés etc. donc euh donc ça ça m'a permis et puis bon j'étais euh j'étais assez autonome + dans le sens où il y avait personne à côté de moi pour me dire tu fais ci tu fais ça j'avais ça à faire je le savais et il fallait que je me débrouille + mais bon euh sa- sachant toujours que si j'avais un problème euh il y avait quelqu'un tu peux m'aider euh oui donc ça posait pas + ça posait pas de problème puis il y a eu une bonne ambiance + bon c'était dur forcément c'était la première fois que je travaillais donc euh + mais bon ça ça m'a vachement plu + et euh + et voilà ….. CRFP PRI-PNE-1

34 Compound Forms Rate of occurrence of bon ben, mais bon and parce que bon in the ESLO Corpus (1968), the Beeching Corpus (1988) and the CRFP (2002)

35 Bon ben, mais bon, parce que bon

36 Educational background

37 Change in the sense of bon
Most occurrences of bon can be classified as « mots de la fin » as textual, structuring usages Textual « bon » is often associated metonymically with contexts to do with restriction or as a hesitation marker The « acceptance» sense > « acceptance up to a point», demurral Far from being a « mot de la fin », bon opens the door to co-construction of meaning and negotiation.

38 C’est superbe quoi! Examples from spoken corpora
je suis de nationalité française mais je suis très contente d’être bretonne je suis fière d’être bretonne quand même quoi (Beeching Corpus, 77, ). I’m of French nationality but I am very happy to be Breton I am really kind of proud to be Breton ah oui moi je, j'ai un travail qui me plaît beaucoup quoi.(Beeching Corpus, 16, 312) Ah yes I I have a job which I kind of love. c’est superbe quoi! (Beeching Corpus, 5, ) It’s kind of fantastic!


40 3/31/2017 Politeness markers bon, quand même and quoi, in their different syntactic positions, work together to oil the wheels of social interaction These usages are associated with spoken, informal contexts; quoi, in particular, is highly demotic (stigmatised) Wheeler (1994) suggests that speakers adopt a casual style in order to implement Positive Politeness Social payoff in being informal > Positive feedback loop ‘To do otherwise would be to invite the hearer to infer that the speaker evaluated the relationship as less than satisfactorily solidary’.

41 “Apparent time” data: intergenerational usage in the CRFP
3/31/2017 “Apparent time” data: intergenerational usage in the CRFP

42 3/31/2017 Language and identity Linguistic identity appears to conform more to generational norms than to class or sex Older speakers tend to make a restrained use of particles and adopt a formal mode of speech All speakers use ‘deferent’ markers, this is a default position and is stable across time Younger speakers tend to use ‘camaraderie’ markers such as quoi, enfin and bon

43 Diaphasic and Diachronic Variation
3/31/2017 Diaphasic and Diachronic Variation Through strategic use or non-use of particular particles, speakers can adapt to circumstance, and their role in the conversation, appearing more formal (expert), young/old, deferent or friendly Younger people appear to be moving towards a less formal mode of politeness - a type of democratisation: their speech is solidary yet deferent, warm yet hedged, characterised in particular by a plethora of PPs


45 The question remains... To what can we attribute the increased distributional frequency of bon and quoi? Metonymic concomitance? Semantic bleaching? A change in society? Wheeler’s ‘positive feedback loop’? (‘Yesterday’s informal is today’s formal’.) “Face redress is a powerful functional pressure on any linguistic system.” B & L 1987: 255.



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