Folk Linguistics

My post-doctoral research interests mainly concern sub-Saharan Africa and include language and identity, the role and perception of the former colonial languages, language policy models and sociolinguistic variation. I have published works on language, education and identity in Gabon, speaker attitudes towards language use, and syntactic variation in Gabonese French. I am currently working on a translation into English of a teaching method for Cape Verdean Creole, and act as a peer reviewer for System (an applied linguistics journal) and French Studies. My current research involves folk linguistics, a discipline related to sociolinguistics and social anthropology, which specifically examines speakers’ own perceptions and attitudes regarding language use. I have recently spent a month carrying out fieldwork in Douala, Cameroon, where I collected a questionnaire-based corpus of attitudinal data from 90 subjects. The questionnaire focussed chiefly on the role of language and ethnicity in the construction of personal identity, and the subjects’ perceptions of the relationship between language policy and economic development. The findings both corroborate and challenge those of existing literature on this region, and I hope to present them at a conference later this year.

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