French in Multilingual Urban Centres

Aston University, Birmingham (UK)

Friday 12th – Saturday 13th June 2015

This event has been cancelled. For more information please contact: e.labeau@aston.ac.uk

Pour voir la version Française de ce site, cliquez ici. 


This two-day conference will conclude a pilot study, French as Spoken in Brussels, funded by the British Academy. The project aims to conduct, to transcribe and to disseminate online sociolinguistc interviews with born and bred inhabitants of Brussels in order to provide an authentic snapshot of French as it is spoken nowadays in Brussels.

In addition to presenting the project’s results, the conference’s purposes are to offer networking opportunities to researchers working on French in multilingual urban centres and a springboard for new collaborations and research directions.

The conference welcomes any presentation on French in a multilingual urban environment, irrespective of its focus: contact phenomena, changes or linguistic planning.  Presentations about existing or planned corpora and resources are welcome. More specifically, the programme will revolve around 4 specific areas

Research strands

Strand 1: Language policy in officially multilingual spaces

In many parts of the worlds, French officially co-exists with other languages.  Autochthonous language, language of implantation or of (post)colonisation, how is the status of French evolving? This strand welcomes discussions around issues of language planning and its fallouts.

Strand 2: Spaces of language contact 

The vagaries of history and migration movements have put French in contact with other languages, some of which are typologically very remote. What are the consequences on discursive practices including French? Discussions about code-switching and code mixing would be relevant in this section.

Strand 3: Influence of language contact on language evolution

Language contact can lead to adopting foreign features but also to encouraging word coinage. In extreme cases, it can result in forsaking one language for another. Phenomena of that type will be addressed here.

Strand 4 : Linguistic Data

In the last half century, large corpora have emerged and developed thanks to technological development. This strand will be devoted to the presentation and the exploitation of corpora of French in multilingual spaces of any kind.


Hélène Blondeau (University of Florida) is Assistant Professor at the University of Florida. She gained in 2000 a PhD in linguistic anthropology from the University of Montréal where she was involved in various research projects and trained in variationist sociolinguistics, including specific statistical tools such as Goldvarb. She is currently a co-investigator in a major research project on French on the American continent (Le français à la mesure d’un continent) led by Prof. France Martineau, where her main focus is on Montreal.


Rudi Janssens (Vrije Universiteit Brussels) studied sociology at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. In 1995 he obtained his PhD, 'A Boolean Approach to Attitude Measurement'. He currently teaches 'Language Policy and Language Education in Multilingual Societies' and works as a senior researcher at the Brussels Information, Documentation and Research Centre (BRIO) where he is in charge of the language-sociological research strand. He mainly works on language use in multilingual and multicultural urban centres, and on the impact of language policies. He has already conducted several language surveys on language use, language shift and language and identity. He is a member of the MIME-Consortium (Mobilities and Integration in a Multilingual Europe) funded by the 7th Framework Program of the EU.

Organising Committee

Emmanuelle Labeau ; Anne Dister ; Said Djama Dirie ; Ghizlane Lafdi ; Qioachao Zhang. 

Scientific Committee

Michael Abecassis, Mathieu Avanzi, Hélène Blondeau, Sonia Branca, Anne Dister, Gaetane Dostie,  Michel Francard, Penelope Gardner-Chloros, Philippe Hambye, Emmanuelle Labeau, Florence Lefeuvre, Mat Pires

A 400-word abstract (including references) will provide the background for the paper, the research question(s) and an overview of the results.

It will be submitted through Easychairby 31 st January 2015.

31st  January 2015 : Abstract Submission

31st March 2015 : Acceptation notification

1st April 2015 : registration opens

15th May 2015 : Final programme

12th-13th  June 2015 : Conference

Online enrolment coming soon
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