Crari, genre and the likes: pragmatic markers in multilingual contexts

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


This paper examines the sociopragmatic functions of pragmatic markers with similar semantic origins in two contrasting contexts of long-term language contact. Specifically it analyses the use of the borrowed pragmatic markers crari and like in contemporary Parisian French and among Gaeltacht (traditionally Irish-speaking area) speakers of Irish Gaelic respectively.
The variety of French used in the corpus on which this paper is based is a Parisian multiethnolect showing the influence of sustained contact between a variety of migrant languages and French, and often individual multilingualism on the part of the speakers. The paper evaluates the interactional contexts in which crari appears alongside and in competition with its native French equivalent genre, the two being used almost interchangeably. Furthermore, it outlines a potential pathway for integration into French that may have facilitated crari’s rapid uptake in the Paris region. The paper exemplifies this pattern of usage following existing cross-linguistic work on genre and like by Fleischman and Yaguello (2004), and shows that functionally, crari is very similar to its competitor, but suggests a further emblematic function of its use among the banlieue peer group.
In the second part of the paper, we turn to the use of the functionally similar particle like in a starkly contrasting context of language contact. Whereas speakers in the Parisian group often report significant exposure to several languages other than French but their discourse unfolds monolingually in French, the sociolinguistic situation of the Irish language in the Donegal Gaeltacht sees intensive influence from only one other language – English. The matrix language of these interactions is Irish, but Irish-English code-switching is not uncommon given speakers’ proficiency in and frequent use of English. Use of like both independently of and in connection with instances of code-switching is discussed, as are instances of the semantically equivalent Irish item cineál ‘kind’.
In examining these functionally equivalent particles across languages, we address the question of the added pragmatic value gained from the use of borrowings in contrasting multilingual circumstances. Where crari only marginally recalls its origin outside the French language, like often directly refers to English-language discourse, even sometimes introducing a code-switch.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 07 Apr 2017
EventiMean Conference 2017: Language and Change - Universite of the West of England, Bristol, United Kingdom
Duration: 06 Apr 201708 Apr 2017
Conference number: 5


ConferenceiMean Conference 2017
Abbreviated titleiMean
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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