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Prosodie et contact de langues: le cas du système tonal du français centrafricain

Abstract : This study is concerned with prosody and language contact. The fact that language contact induces change is well documented, but few studies focus on the prosodic effects of contact-induced change. The aim of this study is to provide a case study of the prosodic system of the contact variety Central African French, which has emerged from the contact between French and the African tone language, Sango. The Central African Republic is a multilingual country with between 60 to 100 different regional languages spoken within its borders in addition to two official languages, the lingua franca Sango and French. French has been the main language of education and of public administration since colonial times. In the capital Bangui, Sango is the most used language in everyday communication whereas French is spoken in professional contexts. This study is based on recordings of spontaneous speech of 12 French-speaking informants from Bangui. Acoustic analyses of the recordings show that the prosody of Central African French shares with Sango some fundamental characteristics: most words have fixed tonal patterns independently of their position in the sentence and every syllable carries a static tone. This system greatly differs from the system of European varieties of French, where the sentence melody is determined at the post-lexical level and depends on factors such as rhythm, syntax and pragmatics. The main conclusion of this study is that Central African French may be classified as a tone language and thus is endowed with a prosodic system that is closer to Sango than to European French. This finding suggests that intonation might change radically in contact situations ; the change is not only superficial but concerns the underlying system.
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  • HAL Id : tel-00789349, version 1

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Bordal Guri. Prosodie et contact de langues: le cas du système tonal du français centrafricain. Psychologie. Université de Nanterre - Paris X, 2012. Français. ⟨tel-00789349⟩

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