Introduction to French Linguistics

Fall 2023
Class No: 23152
B3 Dwinelle Hall
Mairi McLaughlin
2:00 PM - 3:29 PM

This course provides an introduction to the linguistic analysis of Contemporary French. You will develop the basic skills of linguistic analysis in order to understand how French works. We consider four different levels: phonology (sounds), morphology (internal structure of words), syntax (word order), and lexis (vocabulary). The course places considerable emphasis not just on the linguistic system but also on the variation that characterizes French and all other natural languages. We will explore, for example, why the negative particle ne is often not used in spoken French, how French varies in different places around the world, and how inclusive and non-binary language is currently evolving in French. We use real linguistic data as much as possible, so alongside formal written texts, you will find yourself analyzing conversations, social media, and excerpts from films.

The following are recommended works only.

  • Abeillé, Anne, and Daneille Godard (eds) (2021) La grande grammaire du français. Arles: Actes Sud.
  • Ayres-Bennett, Wendy and Janice Carruthers with Rosalind Temple (2001) Problems and Perspectives: Studies in the Modern French Language. Harlow: Pearson Education Ltd.
  • Battye, Adrian, Marie-Anne Hintze and Paul Rowlett (2000) The French Language Today: A Linguistic Introduction. London – New York: Routledge.
  • Blanche-Benveniste, Claire with Philippe Martin (2010). Le français: usages de la langue parlée. Leuven/Paris: Peeters.
  • Fagyal, Zsuzsanna, Douglas Kibbee and Fred Jenkins (2006) French: A Linguistic Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Léon, Pierre et Parth Bhatt (2005) Structure du français moderne: introduction à l'analyse linguistique. Toronto: Canadian Scholars' Press Inc.
  • Polzin-Haumann and Wolfgang Schweickard (eds) (2015) Manuel de linguistique française. Berlin – Boston: De Gruyter.
  • Reutner, Ursula (ed.) (2017) Manuel des francophonies. Berlin – Boston: De Gruyter.
  • Riegel, Martin, Jean-Christophe Pellat, and René Rioul (2004) Grammaire méthodique du français. 3rd edn. Paris: Presses universitaires de France.