Approaching variation in PFC

Jacques Durand and Chantal Lyche

in Varieties of Spoken French

Published in print July 2016 | ISBN: 9780199573714
Published online October 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780191818011 | DOI:
Approaching variation in PFC

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  • Phonetics and Phonology
  • Sociolinguistics


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This chapter shows how the study of large corpora can help renew the description and interpretation of liaison. It starts with an overview of the main questions facing anyone wishing to understand French liaison, arguing that labels such as obligatory, optional, forbidden, are not the same as categorical, variable, and unattested. The chapter then examines the coding system adopted within the PFC program for examining liaison across an orthographically transcribed spoken corpus. It is argued that the coding system elaborated within PFC and applied to all our surveys has enabled us to renew the empirical base on which theoretical analyses may now be couched. The results have established a new taxonomy of liaison usage, with very few contexts responsible for a very large percentage of realized liaisons, a factor which must find its way to the classroom, if the language taught in schools is to be grounded in current usage.

Keywords: liaison; obligatory liaison; optional liaison; forbidden liaison; categorical liaison; variable liaison; unattested liaison; coding; linking; register

Chapter.  5442 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Phonetics and Phonology ; Sociolinguistics

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