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PAC 2017 conference - Phonology and interphonology of contemporary English: from native corpora to learner corpora

Publié le 23 mai 2017 Mis à jour le 25 juillet 2017
Phonology and interphonology of contemporary English
Phonology and interphonology of contemporary English

The PAC program (Phonologie de l'Anglais Contemporain), launched in 2004, is organizing its 13th international conference, for the first time at Université Paris-Nanterre, which will gather specialists of spoken English. We welcome speakers interested in the following themes: varieties of contemporary English, linguistic change, phonology & phonetics, learner corpora, the teaching of English as a second language etc.


du 28 septembre 2017 au 30 septembre 2017

International conference
Thursday, September 28th to Saturday, September 30th 2017
@ Université Paris Nanterre / Paris Nanterre University

Bâtiment W, campus de Nanterre

Organised by
Centre de Recherches Anglophones, EA 370
Université Paris Nanterre
Université Paris 8
Université Paris Lumières

Guest Speakers
Nicolas Ballier, Université Paris Diderot
Jacques Durand, Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès
Patrick Honeybone, University of Edinburgh
If you would like to attend the conference, please CONTACT US at
      The PAC program (Phonologie de l'Anglais Contemporain: usages, variétés et structure - The Phonology of Contemporary English: usage, varieties and structure) is coordinated by Anne Przewozny-Desriaux (Toulouse Jean Jaurès University), Sophie Herment (University of Aix-Marseille), Sylvain Navarro (Paris Diderot University) and Cécile Viollain (Paris Nanterre University). The main aims of the program can be summarized as follows: to give a better picture of spoken English in its unity and diversity (geographical, social and stylistic); to test existing theoretical models in phonology, phonetics and sociolinguistics from a synchronic and diachronic point of view, making room for the systematic study of variation; to favour communication between specialists in speech and in phonological theory; to provide corpus-based data and analyses which will help improve the teaching of English as a foreign language.
      To achieve these goals, the cornerstone of the PAC program is the creation of a large database on contemporary oral English, coming from a wide variety of linguistic areas in the English-speaking world (such as Great Britain: Received Pronunciation, Lancashire, York, Ayrshire, Edinburgh, Glasgow, West Midlands: Birmingham, Black Country ; Republic of Ireland: Limerick, Cork ; Canada: Alberta, Ontario ; Australia: New South Wales ; New Zealand: Christchurch, Dunedin ; India: Delhi English, Mumbai ; USA: California, West Texas, Saint Louis, Boston, North Carolina). The protocol used is shared by all researchers in every survey location and was inspired by the classical methodology of William Labov. Although significant corpora of oral English already exist, many of them have been conceived along exclusively sociolinguistic rather than explicitly phonological lines. In other cases, hardly any information is available on speakers beyond gender and regional affiliation. Furthermore, few corpora are based upon a single methodology permitting a fully comparative analysis of the data. The approach chosen by the PAC program is modelled on the French PFC program (La Phonologie du Français Contemporain, coordinated by M.-H. Côté (Ottawa University), J. Durand (Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès), B. Laks (Université Paris Nanterre) and C. Lyche (Oslo/Tromsø). This parent program has demonstrated how a corpus which was originally conceived for phonology can lend itself to many other types of linguistic exploitation: the lexicon, morpho-syntax, prosody, pragmatics, dialectology, sociolinguistics and interaction.
For its 13th edition, the program will be articulated around 2 main sessions

- the general PAC session will be dedicated to the following theme: 'Usage-based accounts and phonological models: how to articulate phonetic-acoustic studies and phonological theory?'.

In recent years, usage-based accounts, especially within the framework of Exemplar Theory (Pierrehumbert 2001, 2006), have been put forward as relevant explanations for various phenomena observed, on the basis of oral corpora, in the different varieties of oral English. By relying on frequency effects, such accounts have shed light on the emergence and evolution of New Zealand and Australian English (Trudgill 2004, Gordon et al. 2004) or on the dynamics of rhoticity and r-sandhi phenomena in contemporary non-rhotic varieties (Cox et al. 2014) for example. However, such accounts are often criticised for lacking phonological abstraction and for not being able to fully account for the phenomena in question as they do not model their underlying mechanisms at the phonological level. That is why many phonologists have rejected these accounts. However, other phonologists have shown how the results provided by phonetic-acoustic studies and usage-based accounts of corpora can lend themselves to theoretical analyses and help model the emergence and evolution of phenomena at the phonological level (see Patrick Honeybone's work on T-to-R in Liverpool English (to appear) for an example of such an approach). 

- the interphonology session will be dedicated to the following theme: 'Variation, correctness and correction'.

We encourage participants to investigate the phonetic and phonological systems developed by non-native speakers/learners of English who have command of English either as a foreign language (EFL) or a second language (ESL) in various parts of the world and in different contexts of communication. Interphonology will be discussed both as a theoretical, linguistic construct and empirically by looking into aspects of the learners' new phonological system, while in the process of establishing itself or when it has already been stabilised and/or regularised. Inter-speaker and intra-speaker variation will also be central to our study of interphonology to understand, for instance, how segmental variability is integrated in the newly developed phonological system and how the phonologies of two (or more) languages at work mutually influence each other. 'Correction' can be envisaged as a didactic tool for improving students' oral performances. It can also be rejected on theoretical grounds. It can be tackled as the adaptation process, or modification process, put in place by students when trying to reach specific phonological or phonetic targets. 'Correctness' can constitute a goal as far as communication and interaction in English are concerned for learners. It can also be questioned as a pedagogical goal, for instance with the prevalence of RP as a target accent in the French academic context. The problem of conciliating variation and correction in the study / teaching of English as a foreign or second language can lend itself to relevant reflections here.

Mis à jour le 25 juillet 2017