Speaking Atlas of French Varieties in Canada

Project TitleSpeaking Atlas of French Varieties in Canada
Principal InvestigatorMarie-Eve Bouchard
Co-ApplicantsAmanda Cardoso, lecturer, Department of Linguistics, Faculty of Arts
Funding Year2022
Project Summary
We propose to create a sound map of French-speaking Canada. This sound map will be available online and will offer a visual and auditive map of different varieties of French across Canada.* French-speaking participants from all around Canada are invited to record their reading of a short story, tell us about the role of French in their lives, upload the audio files to our webpage, and fill out a demographic questionnaire. These audio files will be used to create the sound map and people will be able to click on different cities, towns and villages of Canada to hear the local French accents. This sound map will be available online to the general public, and it will be useful in the (socio)linguistics courses offered at UBC (FREN370, FREN476, LING100, LING445) as well as in the French courses at FHIS. It will also be available online for the general public.

The fundamental reason for this project is that the French varieties spoken in minority and/or English- dominant contexts in Canada are not adequately documented compared to French varieties in majority contexts (as in Quebec, for instance), and French speakers and learners are rarely exposed to these varieties. This creates inequalities and a hierarchization of the different varieties of French, with certain varieties being perceived as more prestigious while others are socially stigmatized.

Therefore, the primary anticipated outcomes of this project are: 1) a new learning tool that can be used in class and that will be available online to the public, 2) to raise awareness about language variation, the diversity of varieties of French and the values attributed to different varieties of French i) more generally, for all language users in Canada and internationally, and ii) specifically among French speakers, French learners, and linguistic students, and 3) new data on French across Canada.
Grant type Rapid Innovation
Funded Amount $1,500