The French Language and Questions of Identity

Edited by Wendy Ayres-Bennett and Mari C. Jones

Studies In Linguistics 4


5 July 2007  •  254pp

ISBN: 978-1-904350-68-2 (hardback)  •  RRP £80, $110, €95


Our choice of linguistic code is one of the most fundamental ways open to us of establishing our membership of some groups and our distance from others. This symbolic value of language may often leave it open to exploitation, especially by the state. The present volume demonstrates how the multi-faceted nature of the concept of identity makes its relationship with language both complex and unpredictable. Because of its particular historical and social characteristics, the French language provides especially fertile territory for the exploration of this theme.

Four main axes stand out in the French context: 'institutionalized' identity, regional identity, social identity and competing identities. These themes are explored from different perspectives by leading experts from Britain, Europe and North America: Roger Baines, Kate Beeching, Danielle Bouverot, David Cowling, Edith Esch, Françoise Gadet, Penelope Gardner-Chloros, David Hornsby, John E. Joseph, Dominique Lagorgette, Jacques Landrecies, Dawn Marley, Nicolas Pepin, Tim Pooley, Gilles Siouffi, Albert Valdman, Barbara von Gemmingen and Chantal Wionet.

Wendy Ayres-Bennett is Professor of French Philology and Linguistics, University of Cambridge and Fellow in Modern and Medieval Languages, New Hall, Cambridge. Mari C. Jones is Senior Lecturer in French, University of Cambridge and Fellow in Modern and Medieval Languages, Peterhouse, Cambridge.


  • ‘All in all, this volume is a stimulating contribution to the sociolinguistics of French.’ — Aidan Coveney, Modern Language Review 104.3, 2009, 855-56 (full text online)
  • ‘All of these excellent articled examine important aspects of identity. However [...] only the hexagon is explored in detail.’ — Helene Ossipov, French Review 82.3, 2009, 678-79
  • ‘En conclusion, on devra tout d'abord admirer les efforts des éditeurs pour intégrer en quatre parties ces dix-sept articles sensiblement variés... Le présent volume en est d'autant plus précieux.’ — Yuji Kawaguchi, Zeitschrift für französische Sprache und Literatur 118.3, 2008, 267-69
  • ‘This is an exciting book because it looks at various sociolinguistic problems from an unusual angle: instead of explaining them in terms of social and demographic factors, the aim is to study the attitudes they evoke... Altogether a delightful book, full of fascinating information and new insights, presented in a highly readable form.’ — Anne Judge, French Language Studies 19, 2009, 135-50
  • ‘This well-produced hardback presents 19 chapters written by scholars from a variety of backgrounds around the theme of the title... very enjoyable and very readable.’ — Richard Towell, French Studies 63.1, 2009, 125-26
  • ‘Der sorgfältig redigierte Sammelband behandelt facettenreich die aktuellen Probleme der sprachlich-kulturellen Identifikation an überzeugenden Beispielen und macht verständlich, warum in Frankreich, wo er Staat für die Nationalsprache verantwortlich zu machen ist, vieles sich anders darstellt als in den übrigen mittel- und westeuropäischen Staaten.’ — Christian Schmitt, Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie 125.4 (2009), 638-44


Wendy Ayres-Bennett, Mari C. Jones
Langue française et questions d’identité: quelques propositions sur le xviie siècle
Gilles Siouffi
L’Institutionnalisation de la langue commune à la fin du xviie siècle
Chantal Wionet
Norme et identité(s) dans un dictionnaire institutionnel, le TLF
Danielle Bouverot
842, 1871, and All That: Alsace-Lorraine and the Transformations of Linguistic Nationalism
John E. Joseph
Français d’ailleurs: The Pluricentricity of French Identities?
Edith Esch
Variations des rapports à la langue et brouillage identitaire dans l’aire picardophone
Jacques Landrecies
Dialect Lite? The Rise of the Semi-Speaker in an Obsolescent Dialect Community
David Hornsby
Picard and Identity in Lille and the Nord–Pas-de-Calais
Tim Pooley
Tu/vous Choices: An ‘Act of Identity’?
Penelope Gardner-Chloros
Termes d’adresse et insultes: discours sur l’autre ou sur moi?
Dominique Lagorgette
Identity, Gender, and Perceptions of Insult Performance in Adolescent French
Roger Baines
Social Identity, Salience, and Language Change: The Case of Post-Rhematic quoi
Kate Beeching
Catégoriser la langue, catégoriser les locuteurs. Variantes, emblèmes et identité située: le cas de septante–soixante-dix, nonante–quatre-vingt-dix
Nicolas Pepin
Henri Estienne and the Problem of French–Italian Code-Switching in Sixteenth-Century France
David Cowling
‘On voit ... se répandre par-tout, un jargon colon-germanisé’: recherches sur le français des Huguenots à Berlin au xviiième siècle
Barbara Von Gemmingen
Maghrebians via French
Dawn Marley
Variation et revitalisation du français en Louisiane
Albert Valdman
Envoi. Identités françaises différentielles et linguistique du contact
Françoise Gadet

Bibliography entry:

Ayres-Bennett, Wendy, and Mari C. Jones (eds), The French Language and Questions of Identity, Studies In Linguistics, 4 (Legenda, 2007)

First footnote reference: 35 The French Language and Questions of Identity, ed. by Wendy Ayres-Bennett and Mari C. Jones, Studies In Linguistics, 4 (Legenda, 2007), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Ayres-Bennett and Jones, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Ayres-Bennett, Wendy, and Mari C. Jones (eds). 2007. The French Language and Questions of Identity, Studies In Linguistics, 4 (Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Ayres-Bennett and Jones 2007: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Ayres-Bennett and Jones 2007: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

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