Perception and production in French dialect leveling

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In the first part of this chapter we provide a rigorous definition of what might be meant by the proposition that the supralocal or dominant variety of the French of France is ‘leveled’. We consider firstly some evidence that supports the notion of leveling as the diminution of regional features, looking secondly at the definition of dialect leveling that has to do with ‘social leveling’. Comparing UK English and French, we then discuss some perceptual evidence suggesting that supralocal French is now regionally but not socially leveled. In a subsequent section we consider behavioral data, characterizing the current French leveled phonological system in terms of what structural adjustments speakers have made and need to make in order to converge to this system.


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