'Le vrai recueil des Sarcelles' of Nicolas Jouin : an edition with a linguistic study of the depicted sociolect and its Parisian connections
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This thesis aims to explore an aspect of the history of vernacular speech through analysis of some eighteenth century verse texts. These satirical anti-Jesuit pamphlets by Nicolas Jouin, known as the 'Sarcelades', were collected posthumously in 'Le Vrai Recueil des Sarcelles' of 1764. The texts purport to be in the patois of the peasants of Sarcelles and show features which may be paralleled in the vernacular speech of Paris and elsewhere, and even correspond with features of contemporary colloquial French. The study may appeal to French historical sociolinguists interested in reconstructing spoken language of the past, and particularly in the history of vernacular speech of Paris since the Middle Ages through to the eighteenth century, in the context of the development of urban dialects. In order to set the scene for a linguistic description of Jouin’s work the limited biographical information available was collated. Then a period of bibliographical research led to acquisition of copies of the texts which were to be studied in order to identify and examine their non-standard linguistic features. Firstly the process of growth of urban dialects was discussed, and then the development of the Paris vernacular in particular. Then attention was turned to direct written evidence in the form of commentary and to a number of texts from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries containing features of the Paris vernacular. These had already been analysed by certain historical linguists, although the texts in the 'Sarcelades' had hitherto only been briefly mentioned. However, here they are considered to be of sufficient interest to be examined more closely, although it had to be established whether Jouin’s texts containing a selection of non-standard features could be regarded as an accurate depiction of the Paris vernacular at the period. The non-standard phonetic, morphological, syntactic, and lexical features in the texts were therefore compared with findings in other texts by previous commentators. Following these analyses it was noted to what extent the relative frequency of the variables correlates with the salience of certain features in popular speech in Paris at the period, as already observed in other texts by previous commentators, and it was concluded that in general established characteristics of the 'patois de Paris' at the period are to be found in the 'Sarcelades', even though there do remain certain features which do not appear to be generally attested elsewhere. Nevertheless, despite reservations concerning the authenticity of some of the non-standard features employed by Jouin, by bringing attention to this little-known series of texts this study may help to claim a place for the Sarcelades amongst the corpus of texts which reflect aspects of the lower-class sociolect, the 'patois de Paris', at the period.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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