A corpus linguistic analysis of phraseology and collocation in the register of current European Union administrative French
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The French administrative language of the European Union is an emerging discourse: it is less than fifty years old, and has its origins in the French administrative register of the middle of the twentieth century. This thesis has two main objectives. The first is descriptive: using the flourishing methodology of corpus linguistics, and a specially compiled two-million word corpus of texts, it aims to describe the current discourse of EU French in terms of its phraseology and collocational patterning, in particular in relation to its French national counterpart. The description confirms the phraseological specificity of EU language but shows that not all of this can be ascribed to semantic or pragmatic factors. The second objective of this thesis is therefore explanatory: given the phraseological differences evident between the two discourses, and by means of a diachronic comparison, it asks how the EU discourse has developed in relation to the national discourse. A detailed analysis is provided of differences between the administrative language as a whole and other registers of French, and indeed of genre-based variation within the administrative register. Three main types of phraseological patterning are investigated: phraseology which is the creation of administrators themselves; phraseological elements which are part of the general language heritage adopted by the administrative register; and collocational patterning which, as a statistical notion, is the creation of the corpus. The thesis then seeks to identify the most significant influences on the discourse. The data indicates that, contrary to expectations, English, nowadays the most commonly-used official language of the EU institutions, has had relatively little influence. More importantly, the translation process itself has acted as a conservative influence on the EU discourse. This corresponds with linguistic findings about the nature of translated text.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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