The man-woman differenciation
when speaking regional languages in France
Langage et Société n° 106, December 2003, p. 9-31
In this article I seek to show that one of the most solid findings of variationist studies, the so-called sociolinguistic gender pattern, has clear historical parallels in the use of the regional languages of France. As men use more vernacular variants of mainstream languages, so in situations characterised by diglossia, they tend to use autochtonous languages, which are traditionally heavily stigmatised, more than women. Such differences in linguisic behaviour are all the more marked if the communities concerned are/were dependent on primary or secondary activities, which gave rise to separation of gender roles and male economic and social domination. As attitudes towards regional languages have become more positive in recent years, one may ask whether the traditionally strong gender bias will begin to change.
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