The effects of implicit awareness on perception and production in southern regional French.

Lead Research Organisation: Queen Mary, University of London
Department Name: School of Languages Linguistics and Film


This project will examine the extent to which speakers are implicitly, and explicitly, aware of regional accents and their social value. I will use a combination of
ociolinguistic and social cognitive methods to investigate how awareness of variation affects speakers' ability to perceive and produce regionally marked language and construct regional identities. This research will be conducted in the South of France, where there is evidence that despite a strong sense of regional identity, speakers appear largely unaware of localised accent features, and these are quickly receding in favour of a northern standard. While sociolinguistics has shown that speakers use regional accents differently depending on whether they are consciously aware of their social value, determining speaker awareness is challenging (Kerswill & Williams, 2002). Recent work shows that much social information is unconsciously understood (e.g. Babel, 2010), though it is unclear how much control speakers have over this information in their own speech. This is significant given the role that regional variation plays in constructing personal identities. This project will use an original combination of methods taken from sociolinguistics and cognitive science to distinguish between this automatic, implicit awareness, and more explicit awareness that is subject to commentary. This distinction is new and underexplored, but necessary to advance our models of how awareness influences language use.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000703/1 30/09/2017 29/09/2027
2457624 Studentship ES/P000703/1 30/09/2020 29/09/2024 Marc Elliot Barnard