Skip to main content Accessibility help

Benchmark varieties and the individual speaker: Indispensable touchstones in studies on language contact



The authors of ‘Phrase-final prepositions in Quebec French: An empirical study of contact, code-switching and resistance to convergence’, Poplack, Zentz & Dion (2011, this issue), henceforth cited as PZD, make a strong case for showing that, in spite of surface similarities, preposition stranding in Canadian French relative clauses cannot be qualified as a case of grammatical convergence due to language contact with English, but that it rather turns out to be a result of analogical extension of a native French strategy, preposition orphaning, to a new context. The application of a particularly sound and accountable methodology, the comparative method of variationist sociolinguistics (Poplack & Meechan, 1998; Tagliamonte, 2002), allows them to invalidate the hypothesis of a causal relationship between contact and the phenomenon under study.



Hide All
Labov, W. (1972). Sociolinguistic patterns. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Poplack, S., & Levey, S. (2010). Contact-induced grammatical change: A cautionary tale. In Auer, P. & Schmidt, J. (eds.), Language and space: An international handbook of linguistic variation, pp. 391418. Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Poplack, S., & Meechan, M. (1998). Introduction: How languages fit together in codemixing. International Journal of Bilingualism, 2 (2), 127138.
Poplack, S., & Tagliamonte, S. (2001). African American English in the diaspora. Oxford: Blackwell.
Poplack, S., Zentz, L., & Dion, N. (2011). Phrase-final prepositions in Quebec French: An empirical study of contact, code-switching and resistance to convergence. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, doi:10.1017/S1366728911000204. Published online by Cambridge University Press on 11 August 2011.
Sankoff, G., & Blondeau, H. (2007). Language change across the lifespan: /r/ in Montréal French. Language, 83 (3), 560588.
Tagliamonte, S. (2002). Comparative sociolinguistics. In Chambers, J., Trudgill, P. & Schilling-Estes, N. (eds.), Handbook of language variation and change, pp. 729763. Oxford: Blackwell.
Thomason, S., & Kaufman, T. (1988). Language contact, creolization, and genetic linguistics. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Wolfram, W. (1993). Identifying and interpreting variables. In Preston, D. R. (ed.), American dialect research, pp. 193221. Amsterdam & Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins.


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed