The Linguistic Geography of the French of Northern France: do we have the basic data?

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Hall, Damien J. (2013)

Linguistic geography and dialectology in France have a long and distinguished history. It can be argued that the academic study of the geography of accents and dialects started there in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with the work of Gilliéron and Edmont. Later, such distinguished figures as Martinet, Walter, Tuaillon and others continued the tradition. Most of this dialectology, though, has in common the fact that it is done by ear: a trained fieldworker interviews participants and writes down what he / she hears. Meanwhile, in the United States, Labov, Ash and Boberg have pioneered a new method of phonetic and phonological dialectology, where maps are made not from a linguist’s impressions of sounds but from actual phonetic measurements of those sounds. This article describes the French dialectological tradition and these more recent techniques from the United States, then goes on to describe Towards A New Linguistic Atlas of France, a project which will apply these American phonetic and phonological techniques to the linguistic geography of the regional French varieties of Northern France.
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    Figure 7: Urban areas to be covered in TANLAF (© Google Maps 2012)

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