TYPOLOGY OF THE FRENCH-SPEAKING SPACE: ON THE BOUNDS AND PROSPECTS

Kamilla I. Kurbanova-Ilyutko
Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia

Abstract

The description of the regional varieties of the French language is traditionally accompanied by the analysis of the general linguistic situation in the studied region / country, the history of the formation of the French-speaking space and the determination of the place occupied by the French language in the existing language hierarchy in case of multilingual situation. Generally, researchers turn to the following typologies: in accordance with the legal status, the official / co-official / unofficial French language are distinguished; from the point of view of the functional load, French as a vernacular language and French as a vehicular language are opposed. In the present article we propose to take into account the third criterion of native / non-native language. However, the example of the special situation of the French language in Andorra and the Aosta Valley, described on the basis of Andorran statistics and our own sociolinguistic questionnaires of Valdôtains, reveals that the above criteria (official status, functionality, degree of language proficiency) are not enough: co-official in the Aosta Valley and one of the languages of education in Andorra, French is not a vernacular language for most of its Valdôtain and Andorran speakers, is not native, but also cannot be recognized as foreign. Thus, we apply the concept of the “second language”, describe its theoretical basis, and our further analysis takes into consideration the trichotomy of the native VS the second VS foreign language, which allows us to determine correctly the status of the French language in certain countries / regions with French as an official language or with French as a language of education, administration.

Keywords: the French language, official language, dominant language, vernacular language, vehicular language, native language, second language, foreign language

For citation: Kurbanova-Ilyutko K.I. Typology of the french-speaking space: on the bounds and prospects. Sociolinguistic Studies, 2020, no. 4(4) [online], pp. 75–87. (In Russ.)

DOI: 10.37892/2713-2951-2020-4-4-75-87