By R. Anthony Lodge

Paris grew to become the most important urban within the Western international in the course of the 13th century, and has remained influential ever on account that. This publication examines the interlinked heritage of Parisian speech and the Parisian inhabitants via a number of levels of immigration, dialect-mixing and social stratification from the center a while to the current. It finds how new city modes of speech constructed in periods of growth, how the city's elites sought to differentiate their language from that of the loads, and the way a working-class vernacular finally emerged with its personal "slang" vocabulary.

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Sample text

G. the creole continuum, basilectal, mesolectal, acrolectal varieties) are proving helpful in understanding the development of non-creolised languages. Many of them were examined by Trudgill (1986) in Dialects in Contact. In the first section of this work (pp. 1–82) the author describes the mechanism known as ‘accommodation’, whereby speakers of mutually intelligible dialects subconsciously reduce or eliminate linguistic variants which impede communication or which breach Grice’s ‘co-operative principle’, that is features which are felt to be too typical of the speaker’s place or region of origin.

Linguistic change is slow to the extent that the relevant populations are well-established and bound by strong ties; whereas it is rapid to the extent that weak ties exist in populations. 2 29 Dialect-mixing Traditional dialectology is above all concerned with recovering and recording dialectal speech in its ‘pure’ rustic form, typified by the type of informant optimally required, the so-called NORMs (= Non-mobile, Older, Rural Males). It concedes that dialect-mixing takes place in border areas, but tends not to find this phenomenon intrinsically interesting.

From the medieval period we have only a tiny amount of metalinguistic comment, so we are left with only what we can glean (a) from literary texts, (b) from variation present in manuscripts written before language standardisation, and (c) from back-projecting data drawn from surveys of modern dialects. Literary texts composed in Paris have something to tell us about the spoken language – we should not underestimate the quantity of literary production which went on in medieval Paris – with dramatic texts like the Miracle plays probably reflecting it more closely than the work of poets like Rutebeuf and Geofroi de Paris.

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