The Novel as an Insight into Linguistic Attitudes and Ideologies: Or What Can the Novel Bring to the Understanding of Language Decline and/or Maintenance?

By Sylvie Gagnon.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper seeks to show that the subjectivity inherent within literary works of art can provide data particularly well suited to the analysis of attitudes and ideologies associated with less-used languages. This will be demonstrated using examples from a research project focused upon representations of Breton people in an electronic corpus of the French literary arts between 1539 and 2007. The first part of the paper demonstrates that literary arts and linguistics can combine to contribute to a better understanding of language decline. The second part of the paper examines occurrences of the literary representations of the Bretons, in the French electronic corpus Frantext. The discussion shows the potential of the findings to further the explanation of language decline in relation to language attitudes and ideologies. The conclusion suggests that corpus linguistics can be used not only for the study of literature for also for linguistic purposes.

Keywords: Corpus Linguistics and Literature, Language Attitudes and Ideologies, Language Decline and/or Maintenance

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp.219-230. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 682.943KB).

Dr. Sylvie Gagnon

Head of Programme, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

Sylvie Gagnon is Head of the French Programme at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. She is currently working on a funded project about the representation of minority languages in a corpus of the French literary arts and is writing a novel about the meaning of language death.


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