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" Speaking French without an accent ": ideologies about phonetic accommodation among Cameroonian immigrants in Paris

Abstract : This article describes some of the social issues of phonetic accommodation among Cameroonian immigrants in Paris, through the analysis of their ideologies about the practice of ​ whitisage, a neologism which refers, according to the subjects, to the act of ''speaking like a White person'' or in other words, ''speaking French without an accent''. This practice is a form of accommodation which consists in adapting one's way of speaking toward a non-Cameroonian interlocutor by imitating his or her accent. By describing both the social functions and the ambivalent meanings of this language practice, I show that if it can be valued as a form of adaptation and a sign of open-mindedness to others in a new socio-cultural environment, it can also be perceived, in some contexts, as a form of assimilation and rejection of one's identity. I argue that the negative values associated with ​ whitisage must be related to the socio-historical circumstances in which this social practice appeared as a psychological and cultural consequence of the power relationship between the Black colonized and the White colonizer.
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https://hal-univ-paris.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01440360
Contributor : Suzie Telep <>
Submitted on : Thursday, January 19, 2017 - 11:48:24 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - 3:58:35 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Thursday, April 20, 2017 - 1:05:18 PM

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  • HAL Id : hal-01440360, version 1

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Suzie Telep. " Speaking French without an accent ": ideologies about phonetic accommodation among Cameroonian immigrants in Paris. 6th Sociolinguistics Summer School, Aug 2015, Dublin, Ireland. pp.115-124. ⟨hal-01440360⟩

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