Ècarts et apports des médias francophones: lexique et grammaire ed. by Michaël Abecassis, Gudrun Ledegen (review)
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Ècarts et apports des médias francophones: lexique et grammaire. Edité par Michaël Abecassis et Gudrun Ledegen. (Modern French Identities, 108.) Oxford: Peter Lang, 2013. x + 290 pp.

This volume gathers together contributions on trends in the evolution of the French language, through the prism of francophone media but with chapters that privilege cinema, rap, and textbooks. The first part, dedicated to spoken media, is prefaced by Alain Bentolila’s appeal to consider all aspects of the media, including paper and virtual formats. Angeline Djoum Nkwescheu examines forensically her corpus of the speech of eighty-eight French-speakers from Cameroon and concludes that stress in Cameroonian French differs from that in standard French largely because of the manner of teaching, whose stress patterns became the norm. Mats Forsgren’s short chapter reports on a work-in-progress examining the use of connectives such as quand même and en effet in talk [End Page 443] shows and presidential election debates, and he points to a categorization of these terms based on their usage. Alice Krieg-Planque reconsiders the key characteristics of speech in political and institutional discourse, highlighting among other conclusions the fragmentation of text in written media and the shortening of utterances as a consequence of the evolution of sound bites and buzz marketing. Philippe Martin synthesizes research undertaken into prosody in French, and argues that, while the field of discussion, the speaker’s geographic origins, and their age can trigger variation in the realization of phonemes, these factors do not necessarily permit predictions of stress patterns. Michaël Abecassis reviews the use of languages in French cinema before the Second World War, tracing the evolution of the polyphony of sound over this period. Alena Podhorná-Polická and Anne-Caroline Fiévet explore French rap as a vector for the creation and diffusion of new terms, focusing on three particular items — sisi, bicrave, and werss — and concluding that the extent to which their creations are adopted and used actively is limited. Catherine Kerbrat-Orecchioni opens the section on written media with an examination of regret in diplomatic contexts, and, in identifying conditions for the offering of an apology, she infers that success is not necessarily assured by the aligning of these factors. The contribution by Poul Søren Kjærsgaard discusses grammatical errors in the media and concludes that written journalism cannot be seen as model usage, especially for the teaching of French as a foreign language, given the interference on spelling by pronunciation conventions. The main headlines from Libération and Le Canard enchaîné are the focus of the chapter by Françoise Sullet-Nylander; where both newspapers converge is in the frequent use of paronymy in word play. Romain Vanoudheusden examines a corpus of texts from sports journalists and identifies the trends in morphology and lexicon that are exploited to create hyperbole in this genre of French. Marie-Pascale Hamez considers textbooks for the teaching of French as a foreign language, and argues that there is a prevailing tendency to use journalistic texts for teaching purposes. Though needing a clearer thread to provide greater internal coherence, this collection provides a state-of-the-art commentary on research into trends in French language studies in many forms of the media.

Robert Blackwood
University of Liverpool
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