Phonologie de l'Anglais Contemporain 
Phonology of Contemporary English

Phonology of Contemporary English


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PAC 2012

The Phonology of Contemporary English. Variation and change

University of Toulouse II-Le Mirail - Toulouse, France

29 Feb- 2 March 2012

In view of the number of abstracts received for the PAC Conference taking place next March, the conference organisers have decided to extend the length of the conference by one day (29 Feb-2 March 2012), and the deadline for receipt of abstracts will now be 1st November. Details of the conference are given below.

On 29 Feb- 2 March 2012, the CLLE-ERSS research institute (CNRS and University of Toulouse 2) will be organizing its first international conference on The Phonology of Contemporary English: Variation and Change.

Websites: (under construction)



All papers focusing on the main theme summarized by the title of the conference are welcome but, to contextualize this forthcoming event, participants should be aware that PAC 2012 is a logical extension of the open workshops that the PAC project has organized annually since 2000, on a European level, at the universities of Toulouse II, Montpellier III and Aix- Marseille I, and reflects the developing activities of this project.

The PAC project (Phonologie de l’Anglais Contemporain: usages, variétés et structure - The Phonology of Contemporary English: usage, varieties and structure) is coordinated by Jacques Durand (University of Toulouse II) and Philip Carr (University of Montpellier III). The main aims of the project can be summarized as follows: to give a better picture of spoken English in its unity and diversity (geographical, social and stylistic); to test phonological and phonetic models from a synchronic and diachronic point of view, making room for the systematic study of variation; to favour communication between specialists in speech and in phonological theory; to provide corpus-based data and analyses which will help improve the teaching of English as a foreign language.

To achieve these goals, the cornerstone of the PAC project is the creation of a corpus of oralEnglish, coming from a wide variety of linguistic areas in the English-speaking world (such as Great Britain: Received Pronunciation, Lancashire, York, Ayrshire, Edinburgh, Glasgow, West Midlands: Birmingham, Black Country ; Republic of Ireland: Limerick, Cork ; Canada: Alberta, Ontario ; Australia: New South Wales ; New Zealand: Christchurch, Dunedin ; India: Delhi English, Mumbai ; USA: California, West Texas, Saint Louis, Boston, North Carolina). The protocol used is the same throughout and was inspired by the classical methodology of William Labov. Although significant corpora of oral English already exist, many of them have been conceived along exclusively sociolinguistic rather than explicitly phonological lines. In other cases, hardly any information is available on speakers beyond gender and regional affiliation. Furthermore, few corpora are based upon a single methodology permitting a fully comparative analysis of the data. The approach chosen by the PAC project is modeled on the French PFC project (La Phonologie du Français Contemporain, coord. M.-H. Côté (Ottawa University), J. Durand, B. Laks (Paris X) and C. Lyche (Oslo/Tromsø), This parent project has demonstrated how a corpus which was originally conceived for phonology can lend itself to many other types of linguistic exploitation: the lexicon, morpho-syntax, prosody, pragmatics, dialectology, sociolinguistics and interaction.

All contributions on the phonology and phonetics of contemporary English are welcome. Other things being equal, papers with a focus on variation and change within a corpus approach will be given priority. Plenary sessions will alternate with shorter oral presentations along with swift, five-minute presentations to accompany posters presented, in our two Speed Postering sessions. A PAC workshop will form part of the general programme of the conference. Papers are expected to be delivered in English.

Felicity Cox (Macquarie University, Australia)
Ulrike Gut (University of Augsburg, Germany)
Nicolas Ballier (University of Paris VII, France)


Maciej Baranowski, University of Manchester, England
Joan C. Beal, Sheffield University
Ricardo Bermudez-Otero, University of Manchester, England
Phil Carr, EMMA, University of Montpellier III, France
Jacques Durand, CLLE-ERSS, University of Toulouse II, France
Colleen Fitzgerald, University of Texas Arlington, USA
Jean-Michel Fournier, University of Tours, France
Heinz Giegerich, University of Edinburgh, Scotland
Michael T. Hammond, University of Arizona, USA
Sophie Herment, University of Aix-Marseille I, France
Daniel Hirst, University of Aix-Marseille I, France
Patrick Honeybone, University of Edinburgh, Scotland
Wyn Johnson, University of Essex, England
Mariko Kondo, University of Waseda, Japan
Christiane Migette, University of Paris XIII, France
Monika Pukli, University of Strasbourg, France
Gabor Turcsan, University of Aix-Marseille I, France
Jørgen Staun, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Abstracts should be no longer than one side of A4, with 2.5cm margins, single-spaced, with a font size no smaller than 12, and with normal character spacing. All examples and references in the abstract should be included on the one single page, but it is enough, when referring to previous work, to cite "Author (Date)" in the body of the abstract - you do not need to include the full reference. Please send two copies of your abstract - one of these should be anonymous and one should include your name, affiliation and email at the top of the page, directly below the title. All abstracts will be reviewed anonymously by members of the scientific committee or other experts in the field. The named file should be camera-ready, as it will be used in the abstracts booklet if the proposal is accepted.

Abstracts both for talks and posters should be submitted in the same form, in a PDF file, by email to Anne Przewozny-Desriaux with copy to Steven Moore The scientific committee will decide the final format of each accepted abstract.

Time for papers: 20 minutes, plus 10 minutes for questions.

Conference: 29 Feb- 2 March 2012
Final deadline for submissions: 1st November 2011
Results of refereeing of abstracts: 15th December 2011

Anne Przewozny-Desriaux,
Steven Moore,

PAC 2012 organizers



PAC "La Phonologie de l’Anglais Contemporain: usages, variétés et structure : The Phonology of Contemporary English: usage, varieties and structure" is a project coordinated by Philip Carr and Jacques Durand from France. Among other things it aims at:

  •  giving a better picture of spoken English in its unity and diversity (geographical, social and stylistic);

  •  testing phonological and phonetic models from a synchronic and diachronic point of view, making room for the systematic study of variation,

  •  favouring communication between specialists in speech and in phonological theory,

  •  providing data and analyses which will help improve the teaching of English as a foreign language.

To achieve these goals our project is involved in the construction of a corpus of spoken English from a wide variety of locations in the English-speaking world on the basis of a common protocol. While there are important corpora of spoken English, most of them have been devised on sociolinguistic (rather than explicit phonological) principles and they do not always offer a uniform methodology allowing for a comparison of results and comparable studies of selected problems.

The approach adopted within PAC is a well tested one since it has been followed in the international project ‘La Phonologie du Français Contemporain’ (PFC) coordinated by Marie-Hélène Côté (Ottawa University), Jacques Durand (Toulouse II), Bernard Laks (Paris X) and Chantal Lyche (Oslo/Tromsø): for more information see Durand, Laks & Lyche (2002) and the internet site:

The methodology is inspired by the classical work of Labov in that, for each selection of speakers, it involves the reading of a word list and a passage as well as formal and informal conversation (cf. section 2). But in each area surveyed, the speakers (usually groups between 10 and 20 informants) are selected on a network principle well known in the United Kingdom, particularly from the work of the Milroys and their associates (see Milroy 1980).

In the initial phase of the project we favour geographical variation, that is the recording and analysis of cohorts of speakers from as many different locations as possible in the English-speaking world. Within each location, however, we require that the groups include an equal number of men and women and well defined age ranges (e.g. 70+, 40+, 20+). Social diversity is less easy to achieve with small groups of speakers and it has been found profitable to study family networks which allow for better comparison of age- grading especially when the social world of the informants has remained stable.

In terms of linguistic study, the recordings obviously lend themselves to various types of exploitation (including syntax and pragmatics). However, all participants in the project commit themselves to studying three areas: 1) Phonological inventories (oppositions and main variants), 2) Rhoticity (Is the accent rhotic / non rhotic? Does it have /r/ intrusion? How is /r/ phonetically realized in different positions? etc.), 3) T/D (How is the contrast between /t/ and /d/ phonetically realized in different contexts? Is it ever neutralized? Is there a process of tapping? etc.). Beyond these questions, researchers will obviously pursue their own interests (fast speech processes, stress, rhythm, intonation, etc.).

It should be noted that the protocol is neutral as to the selection of informants and it is intended that, after this initial phase, some locations will be analysed from a stricter sociolinguistic perspective. In this initial stage, we control the parameters mentioned above (location, gender, age) and carefully record as much information as possible about the speaker (education, professional status, ethnicity, other languages spoken within the community, etc.). We should stress however that colleagues who, because of limited time and resources, can only study individual speakers on the basis of our protocol are welcome to join the project and contribute to the setting up of our database.

Jacques Durand

Philip Carr



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