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The University of Southampton

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

Learning Outcomes

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
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


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

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

Wardhaugh, R (2011). Introduction to sociolinguistics. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



MethodPercentage contribution
Digital presentation 10%
Essay 40%
Research project 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Project  (2000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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