Analyse argumentative du discours épilinguistique au Québec les lieux communs comme indicateurs de normes
Date de publication2010
The purpose of this thesis is to gain a better understanding of linguistic representations among young Québec adults between 25 and 35 years old. Few studies have dealt with this subject since the 1990s, and the more recent work has been concerned with future teachers (Remysen, 2002) or high school students (Razafimandimbimanana, 2005). I chose to focus on young Québec adults raised after the Quiet Revolution and the adoption of the Charter of the French Language (1977) and who are not working in a field related to language in order to determine if, on the one hand, linguistic representations have changed since the 1990s and, on the other hand, if the facts of not being a"language professional" and of not being assessed by a learning institution anymore could affect their attitude towards language. Based on a corpus of interviews conducted with 30 young Québec adults living in and around Sherbrooke, this study aims firstly at collecting the opinions of my informants on various themes related to linguistic representations in Québec, i. e. superiority of French from France, the threat of English in Québec, the use of anglicisms, the degeneration of French in Québec, the concept of mistakes and the complexity of written French. Second, I identify the normative criteria revealed in the informants' discourse that are used to assess the French that is spoken in Québec. This identification is based on an argumentative analysis of the epilinguistic discourse in order to shed light on commonplaces, which are clues of what the informants view as being part of the common standards. Based on the criteria I found, in combination with the standards of A.-M. Houdebine's linguistic imaginary, I developed a hierarchy allowing to determine, on the one hand, which criteria most often lead to a conclusion, and on the other hand, which ones are only used as a concession, indicating that they are acknowledged as a common standard but not taken up by the informant. As some commonplaces are not agreed upon in the discourse on language, I analyse the discourse in which these contradictions are found while paying special attention to the scope of the arguments put forward and to the dissociation of concepts, which helps foster a better understanding of these apparent contradictions.The results of this research reveal, among the group of a speakers interviewed, a certain tolerance towards discrepancies from the standard described in reference works as well as a certain indifference regarding the standard coming from France. Moreover, the normative criteria that bear the greatest argumentative weight are criteria associated to the use of the language, not to the standard of reference. This distinction between use and standard is also found in the explanation of contradictions, which means that the informants make a distinction between assessment of their own use of French and assessment of the use of others (for instance using French of France) and between the spoken language and the"ideal" language.The conclusions drawn from the various analyses carried out in this study reveal a greater linguistic security among my informants than among the populations that had been examined in previous studies.