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First-person plural in Prince Edward Island Acadian French: The fate of the vernacular variant je...ons

First-person plural in Prince Edward Island Acadian French: The fate of the vernacular variant je...ons

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Title: First-person plural in Prince Edward Island Acadian French: The fate of the vernacular variant je...ons
Author: King, Ruth
Nadasdi, Terry
Butler, Gary
Abstract: In Atlantic Canada Acadian communities, definite on is in competition with the
traditional vernacular variant je . . . ons (e.g., on parle vs. je parlons “we speak”),
with the latter variant stable only in isolated communities, but losing ground in
communities in which there is substantial contact with external varieties of French.
We analyze the distribution of the two variants in two Prince Edward Island communities
that differ in terms of amount of such contact. The results of earlier studies
of Acadian French are confirmed in that je . . . ons usage remains robust in the more
isolated community but is much lower in the less isolated one. However, in the latter
community, the declining variant, while accounting for less than 20% of tokens for
the variable, has not faded away. Although it is not used at all by some speakers, it
is actually the variant of choice for others, and for still other speakers, it has taken
on a particular discourse function, that of indexing narration. Comparison with
variation in the third-person plural, in which a traditional variant is also in competition
with an external variant, shows that the decline of je . . . ons is linked to its
greater saliency, making it a prime candidate for social reevaluation.
Subject: French -- Prince Edward Island
Sociolinguistic Variation
Minority Language Variation
French
Type: Article
Rights: http://www.cambridge.org/
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10315/2868
Published: Cambridge University Press
Citation: Language Variation and Change; 16 (3): 237-255
ISSN: 0954-3945
Date: 2004

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