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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Une comparaison du français parlé des enfants en immersion et des enfants francophones: étude syntaxique de plusieurs aspects de la langue parlée, dont les ratés de la communication Santen, Marcia-Ellen


Following a review of the literature on French immersion, this thesis considers the implications of the systematic transcription of oral texts for linguistic analysis. In transcribing a corpus of spoken French by children attending a French immersion school and a corpus of children from Quebec (both from tape recordings and included in the appendice), the transcription conventions proposed by the Groupe Aixois de Recherche en Syntaxe were applied. In chapter III, some of the most common deviations from the norm that occur in the French immersion corpus are discussed, and for the most part these aberrations reflect the results of previous error analyses done on second language learners. In chapters IV and V, a study of "slip-ups" is undertaken. Slip-ups are repetitions or self-corrections, referred to as "rates" in this thesis. They occur frequently both in the Francophone and French immersion corpus. The purpose of this study is to analyse the intrinsic structure of these hesitations (that were previously brushed off as un-grammatical) and to discover whether the repetitions or self-corrections produced by the French immersion speakers share characteristics with or differ from the slip-ups identified in the Francophone corpus. Whereas an enumeration of grammatical errors will almost always show that the French spoken by French immersion pupils is not as "good" as that spoken by Francophone children, the analysis of slip-ups is a more objective endeavor. And indeed, the study reveals some unpredicted results. On certain parts of the sentence, such as the predicate, French native speakers surprisingly slip up more often than French immersion children, while the latter tend to hesitate more often on subjects and indirect objects. Further analysis reveals that native French speakers almost always repeat (or correct) entire word groups, or syntagms, although they don't always complete such groups. The French immersion children, on the other hand, do not always repeat the entire word group when they slip up, but they do seem to finish their construction (or sentence), once it has started. Finally, the situation (formal or informal) appeared to only affect the speakers in the Francophone corpus: they hesitated slightly more often in a formal setting, whereas the situation did not seem to affect the results for the French immersion speakers.

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