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Le phénomène de réduction consonantique dans les écrits épistolaires des soldats confédérés virginiens

Gaëlle Le Corre 1
1 CRBC Brest - Centre de recherche bretonne et celtique
UBO - Université de Brest, IBSHS - Institut Brestois des Sciences de l'Homme et de la Société, CRBC - Centre de recherche bretonne et celtique
Abstract : During the American Civil War, hundreds of thousands of Confederate soldiers kept in touch with their loved ones and communicated news from the front by letter. Many of the soldiers were semiliterate and situated at the bottom of the military hierarchy. Their writings reveal a partial orthographic, morphosyntactic and lexical mastery of the written codes of the standard language. The epistolary exchanges of these unranked Confederate soldiers from Virginia provide real-time information on the dialect used by working-class white speakers. The corpus on which this study was based consists of 354 letters written by 75 Virginian soldiers or members of their families. These data are representative of a relatively homogenous speech community because the informants all came from the same state and were of the same generation. Due to its history as the first English colony in North America as well as the mass emigration of its population to the other southern states, Virginia is today considered one of the cradles of the Southern United States vernacular. To date, however, the majority of studies on the origin of this vernacular have focused on the states of Carolina and Tennessee. The soldiers’ phonetic handwriting evidences a number of non-standard pronunciations that are still used today in both this vernacular and the African-American vernacular. The present study examines the phenomenon of consonant reduction within final-position consonant groups.
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Gaëlle Le Corre. Le phénomène de réduction consonantique dans les écrits épistolaires des soldats confédérés virginiens. La Bretagne Linguistique, Centre de Recherche Bretonne et Celtique, 2019, 23, pp.179-197. ⟨hal-02940315⟩

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