n French Studies in Southern Africa - Analyse lexicographique du vocabulaire familier des films des années 30




Today in France, there seems to be a resurgence of interest in 1930s French culture, with the release of (2001), set in Montmartre, and Patrick Bruel's re-edition of 1930s popular songs in his new album (2002). French films of the 1930s have hardly been exploited by linguists. This study analyses a 1930s film corpus ( and ) to assess how language has evolved. The stereotypical representation of the lower class which was a popular theme in gangster films at that time permits the analysis of vernacular forms used at the beginning of the 20th century. An attempt is made to establish the change in attitudes towards the standard and stigmatised language varieties in France by looking at lexicographers' labelling of non-standard items with stylistic indicators such as familier, populaire and argotique. A survey conducted recently in France helps to decide whether the once denigrated français populaire found in 1930s French films is obsolete or whether it is still used in the 21st century.


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