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Penelope Gardner-Chloros  

(Principal Investigator)

Birkbeck College

Jenny Cheshire (Co-Investigator)   

Queen Mary, University of London     

Maria Secova (Research Fellow)

Coventry University

Raymonde Sneddon (Consultant)

University of East London

Zsuzsanna Fagyal (Consultant)

University of Illinois

The project is the first systematic comparison of two large Western metropolitan areas from a sociolinguistic perspective. By comparing language variation and change in the two locations we attempt to identify general processes of language contact and language variation and change in large multicultural metropolises. We seek a better understanding not only of sociolinguistic aspects of language contact and language change but also of social questions connected with migration and the consequences for education.

A corpus of spontaneous spoken French has been compiled in Paris using a similar methodology to that used for the Linguistic Innovators and the Multicultural London English projects, with due regard to the different ethnic compositions of the two cities.

Recordings have been collected in areas of Paris with a heavy concentration of migrant populations and also in areas where there are smaller numbers of immigrants.

We have compared innovations in discourse-pragmatics, morphosyntax and phonology in each city, determining the extent to which innovations relate to ethnically- based variation as well as to more traditional processes such as dialect levelling in the UK and the influence of 'le français populaire' in France. Particular attention has been paid to processes involving  ‘crossing’ and code-switching.

The project was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

2010-2012: Collaboration with MODYCO, supported by the Agence nationale de la recherche.