Author

Chelsea McNay

Date of Award

2014

First Advisor

Nancy Bonvillain

Second Advisor

Maryann Tebben

Abstract

The aim of this thesis is to describe the current state of French dialect in southern Maine in the context of past research and an independent pilot study conducted in Lewiston-Auburn. Historical context for the speech community will be presented, along with its place in the ensemble of French-speaking communities in the United States. Then, past research on lexical, morphological, syntactic and phonological traits of the dialect will be introduced, focusing on the significance of these traits in conjunction with English-language influence and code-switching. The future of the dialect and its possible obsolescence will be considered, in addition to current theories regarding minority languages and language death. Finally, the results of my linguistic pilot study, based on the methodology of Brault (1961, 1986), Bernard (1982) and Fox & Smith (2007), will be presented in order to justify or refute past studies conducted in the region.

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