Variation in (Sub)standard language
  • ISSN 0774-5141
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9676
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Abstract. Relying on recent sociolinguistic research, this paper questions some generally accepted ideas concerning the French spoken by Walloons and Brussels Francophones. In particular, it is shown that the observation of real linguistic usage does not allow one to postulate the existence of a variant like "Standard Belgian French", "Walloon French" or "Brussels French". Contrary to what is implied by naive collections of so-called "Belgicisms", any possible definition of "Belgian French" in terms of specific linguistic features is doomed to failure, because similar phenomena can be registered in other French-speaking areas. On the other hand, Walloons and Brussels Francophones often assume a kind of "identity by substraction" grounded on their own representation of " Belgian French" as a variant devoid of any normative legitimacy. Yet, it is argued here that sociolinguistic changes currently in progress will favour the emergence of an endogenous regional norm.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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