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Quelques connecteurs et modalisateurs dans le français parlé d’apprenants avancés. Étude comparative entre suédophones et locuteurs natifs
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of French, Italian and Classical Languages.
2000 (French)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The intention of this study is to give a qualitative and quantitative description of the usage of connectors, especially mais, parce que and donc, and of some epistemic modifiers in the spoken French of Swedish advanced learners. The study includes eight advanced learners, six highly advanced learners and eight native speakers from the French learner corpus InterFra, all interviewed by the same native speaker. In total, 22 interviews of learners (39,000 words) and eight interviews of native speakers (23,000 words) were examined. One of the goals was to find typical advanced learner features (interlanguage features) in connector and modifier usage, and also to describe individual variation in the group. We highlight the importance of comparative studies and of taking into account recent studies of spoken French to establish advanced interlanguage features, as normative French grammar fails to account for some spoken usage of connectors.

The aim in studying interlanguage features that involve connectors and modifiers is twofold: first, we try to understand the function of certain connectors/modifiers at the semantic, discourse organizing, interactional and speech act levels. Second, we look at the syntactic dependence and integration of discourse sequences introduced by parce que and modifiers like je crois (que).

The study of mais (chapters 2 and 3) showed that learners used turn-introducing mais more often than native speakers. Mais was also found to be an important reformulation marker in the learner group. In the study of parce que (chapter 4), we found that the macro-syntactic (paratactic) parce que was frequent in both speaker groupes, but that a function like introducing ”specifications” was more frequent in the learner group, while parce que introducing parenthetic remarks (incises) – commonly used by native speakers of French – was found in only a few cases in the learner corpus. We suggest that this latter usage is a property of the highly advanced user. The study of epistemic phrases like je crois/ je pense/ je trouve (que) (chapter 5) revealed a small quantitative difference in syntactic dependence between the two groupes of speakers: the learners more frequently used independent expressions. From a qualitative point of view, the difference was partly due to the high number of isolated phrases (like je crois oui) and post-positioned phrases in the learner material. Both groups of speakers used modifiers as discourse-structuring devices and as fillers, but their use as fillers was more frequent in the learner group. Finally (chapter 6), by carrying out a prosodic analysis (variation in fundamental frequency) coupled with an analysis of the information structure, we segmented the speech into functional discourse units (les paragraphes oraux). This analysis suggested some characteristics of highly advanced learner usage for the position of the connector donc. One such feature was the incorporation of donc in a constituent of the discourse unit, both from a syntactic and prosodic point of view.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of French, Italian and Classical Languages, Stockholm University , 2000. , 206 p.
Forskningsrapporter / Stockholms universitet, Institutionen för franska och italienska: cahiers de la recherche, ISSN 1654-1294 ; 16
Keyword [en]
second language acquisition, usage of connectors and modifiers, advanced learners, spoken French
National Category
Specific Languages Specific Languages
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-9540ISBN: 91-973736-4-8OAI: diva2:176059
Public defence
2001-01-27, 10:00 (French)
Available from: 2009-02-27 Created: 2007-11-21 Last updated: 2010-04-23Bibliographically approved

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