A Sociolinguistic Comparison of the French and Anglo-Saxon Cultures From codeswitched substantives to borrowings: the issue of grammatical gender

Abstract : Grammatical gender attribution is quite a difficult notion to logically explain in French, due to the fact that it is, most of the time, arbitrary. This PhD thesis aims to theorise the grammatical gender allocated to codeswitched and borrowed substantives from English to French. Codeswitching and borrowing being generally considered as two distinct linguistic phenomena, since the former is an individual phenomenon, while the latter is a collective phenomenon, the second objective of this thesis is to demonstrate the existence of a codeswitching – borrowing continuum. Throughout three chapters, key concepts are firstly presented to lay the foundation of the thesis. Then, the main notions characterising codeswitching and borrowing are detailed – which naturally opposes these two linguistic devices – in order to eventually analyse them as a continuum, when hypothesising grammatical gender attribution. The last chapter devoted to case studies, and more precisely to the analysis of four different corpora, confirms the hypotheses exposed in the two previous chapters, and enables to classify them into five categories to explain grammatical gender attribution. These categories represent extralinguistic, interlinguistic, metalinguistic, both interlinguistic and metalinguistic, and grammatical reasons. Results on the percentages of feminine and masculine substantives, as well as the reasons explaining the grammatical gender allocated to codeswitched substantives, optional borrowings, and compulsory borrowings are displayed through graphs so that their interpretation is clearer, more objective, and more scientific. Additionally, the existence of a codeswitching – borrowing continuum is therefore demonstrated through the explanation of grammatical gender attribution, linking codeswitching with optional borrowing, as well as through the process of lexicalisation, in which codeswitching is the starting point of the chain, leading to optional borrowing. As for compulsory borrowing, connecting it with codeswitching is not that obvious considering that they do not share common features compared with optional borrowing.
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Elodie Martin. A Sociolinguistic Comparison of the French and Anglo-Saxon Cultures From codeswitched substantives to borrowings: the issue of grammatical gender. Linguistics. Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3, 2017. English. ⟨tel-02048613⟩

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