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FREN3031 French Sociolinguistics (online)

Module Overview

This module in French sociolinguistics aims to build on, and re-evaluate your existing knowledge of the French language from a sociolinguistic perspective. The module has three major themes language change, language variation and language identity in relation to the French language in France and other parts of the world. It looks at French as a standard language, regional variation, minority languages in France, French in Canada and Africa, and French Creoles. It provides a challenge to the way you think about French and its relation to other languages.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Stimulate and develop your existing interest in (socio)linguistic phenomena; • Broaden and deepen your interest in the French language; • Look at the French language from different perspectives, and in relation to the phenomenon of language in general; • Stimulate and enhance understanding of the interaction between variation and change in the evolution of languages; • Become more aware of how language relates to society, and of the role of historical, geographical, social and personal factors; • Advance training and practice in research methodology.

Learning Outcomes

Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Produce complex readings of texts in various media
  • Discuss debates about language from a sociolinguistic perspective
  • Carry out advanced research into a specific area of French sociolinguistics
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Analyse theoretical work on language change, language variation and language and identity
  • Think critically about the French language, and other minority languages in France and La Francophonie
  • Think critically about questions of language identity in France and La Francophonie


The module will broaden and deepen your interest in the French language from a sociolinguistic perspective and stimulate and develop your existing interest in (socio)linguistic phenomena. You will gain an understanding of the French language as a system which allows for many variations, some of which are favoured by choice, culture and usage. The module will follow three themes in connection to French and other languages spoken in France and La Francophonie: • Language Change • Language Variation • Language and Identity

Special Features

• You will carry out a research project in a francophonie country involving the collection of empirical data. This project will be related to a topic area in the module. You will be asked to present a short presentation of your project using Mailvu. • This module will include a teaching session in the semester before you go abroad, to introduce you to the technical aspects of the module. • The module is online but the you will receive regular support from lecturers/ tutors at

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: • Regular recorded lectures from module leaders delivered online (using Panopto - lecture capture software) • Associated online chat and Discussion Forum activities • Student participation and interaction through group blogging tasks • Student online presentations using MailVu videocasts Learning activities include • Organisation of material and own ideas for oral presentation • Developing own interpretation of theoretical works and texts • Debating ideas with tutor and fellow colleagues in online forums • Independent study.

Preparation for scheduled sessions50
Follow-up work10
Wider reading or practice20
Completion of assessment task45
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Aitchison, J (2013). Language change: progress or decay?. 

Description and/or list, with URL, library reference, etc.

Lodge, R. A (1993). French from dialect to standard. 

Wardhaugh, R (2011). Introduction to sociolinguistics. 

Hintze, M. A. et al (eds) (2001). French accents: phonological and sociolinguistic perspectives. 

Coveney, A (2001). The sounds of contemporary French: articulation and diversity. 

Gadet, Françoise (2003). La variation sociale en français. 

Coveney, A., M-AC-E Hintze, CC-E Sanders (2004). Variation et francophonie. 

Description and/or list, with URL, library reference, etc.

Rickard, P (1989). A history of the French language [electronic resource]. 

Posner, Rebecca (1997). Linguistic change in French. 

Offord., M (ed) (1996). A reader in French sociolinguistics. Series title: (Applications in French linguistics ; vol.1). 

Detey, Sylvain; Durand, Jacques; Laks, Bernard; & Lyche, Chantal (eds) (2010). Les Variétés du Français Parlé dans l'Espace Francophone: ressources pour l'enseignement. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Digital presentation %
Essay %
Research project %

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisite: FREN1016- The Making of Modern French

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