Community and lifespan changes in music: Sociophonetic variation in Laurentian French


  • Kaitlyn Owens Indiana University - Bloomington
  • Jeffrey Lamontagne Indiana University - Bloomington



sociophonetics, language variation, Quebec French, Laurentian French, music, lifespan change


Previous studies on English have highlighted various instances where individual singers or small groups change which dialectal features appear in their music (e.g. Trudgill 1997; Beal 2009; Coupland 2011; Eberhardt & Freeman 2015; Lyon 2019). Whereas corpus studies on music have the option between real-time or apparent-time analyses, most previous research on music has largely been conducted via case studies on change across a singer or group’s career (see Gibson in press a). Focusing on Laurentian French (also known as Quebec French or Canadian French), multiple singers may moderate dialectal traits in music due to their albums being released internationally, where the dialect faces stigma (Szlezák 2015). We further hypothesize that pop singers are especially sensitive to international norms and stigma because they are more likely to market abroad due to pop music’s greater international appeal (Grenier 1993). We examine non-lengthened high vowel laxing in closed final syllables (e.g. /vit/ [vɪt] vite ‘fast’; Dumas 1983), a process characteristic of Laurentian French that is categorical (Côté 2012) and nonstigmatized (Lappin 1982; Paradis & Dolbec 1998; Reinke et al. 2006) within the dialect. We expand the study of dialectal traits in music beyond English by using a new corpus of 20 Québécois singers who sing in French and are of the Laurentian French dialect. Additionally, we analyze the patterning of groups of singers across their careers, rather than the patterning of a single singer, and analyze real-time change of groups as opposed to individuals




How to Cite

Owens, Kaitlyn, and Jeffrey Lamontagne. 2023. “Community and Lifespan Changes in Music: Sociophonetic Variation in Laurentian French”. Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 8 (1): 5531.