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COPING WITH ENGLISH BORROWINGS IN THE DICTIONNAIRE DU FRANÇAIS QUÉBÉCOIS1 Claude Poirier The topic I wish to focus on concerns an aspect of the lexicographical project of the "Trésor de la langue française au Québec" research team, at Laval University. The results of the research have begun being published as the Dictionnaire du français québécois (DFQ), a dictionary intended to provide a complete description of the vocabulary specific to French speakers of Quebec from the time of settlement in the seventeenth century until today. The project has a staff of twelve full-time researchers (including three professors of the Department of Linguistics) and ten to fifteen part-time assistants. A grant obtained in 1977 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada has currently provided the money to forward the research and publish its results. The DFQ and the History ofQuebec French Because of the comprehensive lexicographical treatment the words are subjected to, the DFQ has to be classified among scholarly dictionaries. Its corpus includes archive documents, literature, newspapers, texts of radio and television programs, and oral sources, especially tape recordings. The main questions we are going to deal with in this dictionary are: In Quebec French, what is different from Standard French? Where does it come from? How is it used in everyday language? What are the relations between Quebec French régionalisme and their Standard French equivalents in actual usage (synonymy, registers, comparative frequency of items, etc.)? So far no dictionary of Quebec French has ever been published, and no thorough examination of Québécois vocabulary has ever been undertaken until recently. Mention must, however, be made of the constantly growing number of word-lists, glossaries, and purist treatises since Viger's Néologie 94 Claude Poirier95 canadienne in 1810: Maguire 1841, Dunn 1880, Clapin 1894, Dionne 1909, etc. The Glossaire du parler français au Canada (Rivard 1930) is the masterpiece of this collection and is still today the best general reference work. However, Quebecers are still waiting for "a language dictionary" worthy of the name. The editors of the DFQ. have decided to lay stress on the origins of the vocabulary, because this question is of the greatest significance for the French-speaking people of Quebec. Quebec French is made up of Standard French words, which represent the bulk of the vocabulary, and of regionalisms, whose number seems to be greater than in other French idioms (especially in France, in Belgium, or in Switzerland). Let us make it clear right from the start that the word regionalism refers to a lexical item, be it a word, a phrase, or a meaning, that is not part of Standard French present-day usage. The word could also be used with regard to regional differences inside Quebec itself, but I will not refer to this second possible meaning in this paper. Anglicisms are an important, though not a prevailing, part of these regionalisms, which are chiefly French archaisms, Western France dialectalisms, and local innovations. But because of a very strong movement for the purification of language that arose in the wake of the military defeat of 1 760, a movement that developed into a real linguistic prohibition at the end of the nineteenth century, Quebecers have got the impression that their language has been turned upside down by the influence of English. They have the feeling that most of the differences between their French and Standard French are due to English. This bias is still firmly rooted, even among a number of specialists. Thus we think that a first dictionary of Quebec French has to highlight the historical sources of this language. Then one can imagine the interest people involved in linguistic issues from a scientific or a social point of view take in the question of anglicisms. Our research team had to deal with several aspects of this question while laying down the principles governing our methods and procedures and while 96English Borrowings in the DFQ editing a series of articles that appeared in a first installment of the dictionary, published last February. The aim of this first book was to elucidate the methodology and bring...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5076
Print ISSN
0197-6745
Pages
pp. 94-111
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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