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Habilitation à diriger des recherches

Towards a multidimensional approach to linguistics variation

Abstract : The aim of this dissertation is to show the imbrications of three dimensions of field linguistics, e.g. description of facts, fieldwork and theoretical considerations, in order to develop a multidimensional approach to variation. Each of the three parts of the dissertation deals with one of these dimensions. The first part Descriptions dans un français contains five chapters. Chapter 1 and 2 establish some theoretical bases that underlie the following analyses. Certain concepts are questioned and discussed, namely the view that language is a collection of a structurally constituted varieties. Other concepts are preferred, such as aire communicative, representation, réseau, fonctionnalisation, innovation and métissage. Chapter 3, 4 and 5 are concerned with syntax/syntactic descriptions and focus on methods for description of linguistic facts. In the second part of the dissertation, La recherche de la vaiation/méthodologie de l'enquête fieldwork methodology is discussed on the basis of personal experiences. Chapter 6 and 7 explores issues related to the difficulties and possibilities to keep tight relations between field reality and corpus. The relations between the researcher and his field as well as the participants of the study and the study itself are the subjects of chapter 8. Chapter 9 gives an overview of experiences concerning construction of databases, and presents arguments in favour of an "ecological" methodology where interactions between speakers and their environment are taken into account and where a strong involvement of researchers is central in every step of the fieldwork. Reflexions about variation in a broader sense than the description proper of linguistic forms, are presented in the third part, Des explications pour la variation? Chapter 10 proposes explanations for linguistic variation on the individual level. Language contact is the subject of chapter 11. It is argued that contact is not disturbing for linguistic theory in general, neither an eccentric phenomenon among variationnists. Chapter 12 integrates some well-defined phenomena that have already been analysed: grammticalisations en discours, réanalyses, fonctionnalisations liées à la subjectivation, érosions et syncrétismes phonologiques. The conclusion returns to the ecological metaphor and emphasises the difficulty of taking into account all the different levels of analysis of the same facts, a difficulty which seems to be a shared be by all the sciences that deal with living organisms, in particular human-beings.
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Habilitation à diriger des recherches
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Contributor : Béatrice Akissi Boutin <>
Submitted on : Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 4:09:08 PM
Last modification on : Friday, October 23, 2020 - 5:02:59 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 3:53:43 AM


  • HAL Id : tel-00766908, version 2


Béatrice Akissi Boutin. Towards a multidimensional approach to linguistics variation. Linguistique. Université de Nanterre - Paris X, 2012. ⟨tel-00766908v2⟩



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