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Contrastive Linguistics and Language
Teaching: Terms of Address in French and
Finnish
Kontrastiivista kielentutkimusta
Eva Havu ([email protected])
Université Sorbonne Nouvelle-CIEH /
Helsingin yliopisto
Contrastive Linguistics / Translation
Studies
 Eriksson


2004:
Contrastive Linguistics: ”langue” >
comparison of words / constructions
/ pragmatic features...
Translation Studies: ”parole” >
translation strategies, relation
between source language and
target language, accuracy...
Methodology

Cf. Chesterman (1998): Initial Data
 Comparability Criterion and
Similarity Constraint
 Problem and Initial Identity
Hypothesis
 Hypothesis Testing
 Revised Hypotheses
Methodology

Genericity in English and French:






Beavers build dams
The beaver builds dams
A beaver builds dams
Les castors construisent des barrages
Le castor construit des barrages
Un castor construit des barrages
Methodology

Hypothesis:




Verification:



E: 0-article
= fr: definite article pl
E: definite article sg. = fr: definite article sg
E: indefinite art. sg = ra: indefinite art. sg
I love honey >
* J’aime les miels > J’aime le miel
New hypothesis: ”mass nouns”:


Engl: 0-article
Fr: definite article sg
Use for Language Teaching?
Sen jälkeen, hän pyysi minua lukemaan
asiakirjoija että hän oli valmistellut työpöydälläni
joka oli häntä vastapätä
(Ensuite, elle m’invita à lire les documents qu’elle avait
préparés sur mon bureau qui faisait face au sien;
Amélie Nothomb: Stupeur et tremblements)

Että: fr que




a. conjunction: että (Je veux/je suis content que tu
viennes)
b. relative pronoun: joka, jotka… (La personne que
je vois..)
c. interrogative pronoun: mitä, mikä (Que fais-tu?)
Joka: fr qui:


a. relative pronoun (La personne qui arrive…)
b. interrogative pronoun: kuka (Qui regardes-tu?)
Use for Language Teaching?


..valmistellut työpöydälläni >
Finnish:




Local cases expressing state and direction:
Matkustan Ranskaan / matkustan Ranskassa
(I travel to France / I travel in France; Je voyage en
France ?? > Je vais en France)
Verbs demanding a certain case:
Ostin kirjan kaupasta (”I bought the book from a shop”)
(I bought the book in a shop; J’ai acheté le livre dans un
magasin)
Different verbs / constructions
Pekka istuu sängyllä / Pekka istuutuu sängylle
(Peter sits on the bed / Peter sits down on the bed; Pierre
est assis sur le lit / Pierre s’asseoit sur le lit)
Valmistellut työpöydälleni? > asettanut valmiiksi
työpöydälleni
Use for Language Teaching?

Herra Saito esitteli lyhyesti minua
kokoukselle. Sen jälkeen, hän
kysyi minulta pidinkö minä
haasteita.



Esittelen taloa / talon : aspect
Assemblée Nationale = kansalliskokous
/ assemblée: läsnäolijat : vocabulary
Pidän eläimiä / eläimistä : case >
lexical change
Use for Language Teaching?



Can / should a teacher anticipate the
problems?
Does a student memorize all that he has
learned?
Problems / questions:





language learning/ language acquisition
right moment for constrastive approach?
grammatical rules / sociolinguistic and
pragmatical rules
Hän pyysi minua lukemaan asiakirjat, jotka..
Se pyysi mua lukeen ne asiakirjat, jotka..
Address: contrastive approach

Address:(Social Deixis: Address Terms as a Mirror
of Societal Transformations
(www.helsinki.fi/romaanisetkielet/projekti_eng/descript
ion.htm)
 tu parles / vous parlez (grammar, morphology)
 which form to use in what situation? When do you
use an address noun? (sociolinguistics, pragmatics)

Both languages have two address pronouns


Tu / sinä (T); vous / te (V) (solidarity – distance,
Brown & Gilman 1960)
The systems are not identical
tu
sinä
>
>
vous
sinä
>
>
vous
te
Address: contrastive approach

Finnish: T much more common than
in French, but not automatically a
sign of less distance: different ways
of using the « T » -form
(Lappalainen 2006)
Tuletko
 Tuletko sinä
 Tuuksä/tuutsä ? (est-ce que tu viens?)
> vous is not always te

Address: contrastive approach

Havu 2005 (French and Finnish students’
use of address pronouns): Finns use tu /
sinä much more often than Frenchmen



Only towards unknown clearly elder people V
as often as in France (problems: who is older ?
> may be offensive)
Unsecurity about the pronoun to choose >
unpersonal address more common in Finnish
than in French
Actually V is again used for example by
salespersons, but not always natural >
variation between V and T (Olkaa hyvä (V) /
Onko sinulla plussakorttia? (T)
Address: contrastive approach

Both languages have address nouns, but in
everyday Finnish mostly used in directives
(Hakulinen & alii 2004, Havu 2004)


In French address nouns often (but not always)
accompany certain speech acts:


Bonjour, Madame; Merci, Anne/ ??Päivää, rouva,
?Kiitos, Anne
Finns rarely use titles in everyday conversation
(Yli-Vakkuri 1989; may have other connotations):


Hei Pekka, tuu tänne! / Pierre, viens ici!
Herra (monsieur), neiti (mademoiselle)
Both languages: address nouns in formal speech
(herra kenraali / mon général)
Teaching address to Finnish French
students

Dewaele & Planchenault (2006 : 165):
students whose own language has two or
more address pronouns find the French
address system more difficult than
students whose language has only one
address pronoun (English; young Finns
use practically only one pronoun (sinä))
> Are able to suspect sociolinguistic problems

Beginners find the French address system
less difficult than those who are on an
advanced level
> Have not yet realized sociolinguistic differences
Teaching address to Finnish French
students: problems


Differences: sinä does not always
correspond to tu, vous not always to te
At school, only tu/ sinä is used






Between pupils
Between teachers and pupils
The natural use of vous does not appear
All dialogues in French are artificial
The only models of pronoun use and
variation are the French texts (videos) in
class
What models are given in text books?
French address in textbooks: pronouns

Short dialogues: address pronouns mostly used in
three contexts
Familiar contexts (between family members,
friends: T)
 Dialogues between an adult and a young person
(non reciprocal address: T / V)
 Service situations (shops..) (V)
> The most common situations where address is used



But: no variation > the address does not change
as in real life (meeting > getting acquainted >
becoming good friends > falling in love > getting
divorced...)
Responsability of the teacher : other situations,
other pragmatical functions (time? competence?)
French address in text books: nouns

Address nouns appear in some typical
pragmatic functions (speech acts)





But: in French, don’t appear regularly:
their use depends on the situation and
onthe speech act


Greeting
Thanking
Directives (« emploi phatique »)
Adversative expressions (mais chérie)
Bonjour, madame. - Bonjour
Rare in everyday language (KerbratOrecchioni 1992, Havu in press)
French address in text books: nouns


Text books: exaggerated use (to remind
of their existence?) :
(1) (Shopkeeper and a young Finnish
female student)




S : Madame, c’est combien ?
FS : 280 francs, mademoiselle. […]
S : Voilà, Madame. Ce sont mes derniers
sous... (Pont Astérisque, p. 18)
The basic use of address nouns and
pronouns implicitely presented in text
books > seldom explications
Do Finns learn the address models?


Project HY-Talk
http://www.helsinki.fi/sokla/vieki/index.h
tm
45 French learners:



28 yläaste, aged 12-13 (19 girls, 9 boys), 4-5
years of French studies
17 lukio, aged 15-16 (11 girls, 6 boys), 7-10
years of French studies
5 different schools
 Munkkiniemen yläaste, Saarnilaakson yläaste,
Tapiolan yläaste
 Helsingin Luonnontiedelukio, Munkkiniemen
lukio
Do Finns learn the address models?

Test




1. interview with a native who uses the
V-form
2. self-presentation « for a video to be
sent to a French correspondent who is
coming to Finland » (monologue)
3, 4, 5 : dialogues between the
« Finn » and the « Frenchman » who
has arrived
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Do Finns learn the address models?

Yläaste


Have great difficulties in speaking and
understanding French
Grammatical problems: verb conjugation
problematic



Address: pronoun T even with the adult



Quelle lange parle-vous ?
Nous faire de la cheval
Quel âge tu as ?
Exceptions: expressions learned with V: excusezmoi
Address nouns: very rare, even in situations of
greeting and thanking, when frequently used in text
books
Do Finns learn the address models?



Lukio:
Speak and understand more fluently (not all!!)
Partly the same problems:

Verb conjugation often problematic:


Address pronoun generally T:


[…] Quand tu aller en Finlande, tu peux faire
le voile aussi
Pourquoi tu es en Finlande ?
Address nouns rare, but:

Salut, Nico. Moi, je m’appelle X
Do Finns learn the address models?

Some learners having been to France or
having (had) contacts with Frenchmen
have (vaguely) realized that V is used
even in other situations than in Finnish >
use both pronouns, but don’t know the
sociolinguistic rules
Quelle langue tu parles et quel âge tu as […] Il
y a trois chambres et une chambre est pour
vous […] Je te promis que
Girl with French mother: V towards native
speaker / T towards young « Frenchman »


Do Finns learns the address models?



The address models given in textbooks are not
reproduced > they are not acquired
Address mainly based on the Finnish model
Dewaele 2004 : 308 : “The developing pronoun
system goes through stable states or ‘equilibrium
points’ (categorical use of a variant) before
varying freely without any apparent system and
finally reaching a state where the variation
becomes more native speaker-like”.

The tested Finns have not yet reached the final
state
How to teach address in a foreign
language?


Dewaele & Planchenault 2006: the
acquisition of sociolinguistic competences
mainly depending on authentic
interactions > nearly impossible at school
Possibilities: Telecollaborative learning via
electronic interaction (Belz&Kinginger
2002)


allows learners to interact and negotiate social
meaning with native speakers
native speakers could be asked to point out
inappropriate use of address pronouns during
email exchanges.
How to teach address in a foreign
language?


Could an explicit contrastive approach help?
Dewaele & Planchenault 2006, Lyster 1994:
repetitive, explicit teaching and a functionalanalytic strategy > good results


Teacher: description and explanation of the system
Discussion about pragmatic features: authentic
documents, video


Possibility of dicussing less stereotyped interactions
Lyster 1996 : 178: “It may not be necessary for
teachers to draw explicit attention to V as a
marker of formality until L2 learners reach
adolescence” (learners understand the idea of
sociostylistic variation only then).
A contrastive approach in teaching
address: necessary?

Following Lyster’s experience, the address systems
could be compared and discussed at a suitable level:





What is polite in French / Finnish?
How would you address an unknown about 30-years old
person in French / Finnish? etc.
But: is correct address necessary? Most of the elder
tested learners would be able to have an interaction
with a Frenchman – is it not enough?
Yet: wrong address can be very offensive, for example
T towards a bank employer, secretary..
> The most important V-situations in French must be
learned and acquired:

T impossible towards elder unknown Frenchmen (especially
occupying an official position) / V always correct
Contrastive approach in my own work


« Mikä merkitys ja millaisia painotusalueita
kontrastiivisella tutkimuksella on omassa
aineessasi / opetuskokonaisuudessasi a)
perustutkinnon tasolla (esim. graduaiheet) ja b
tohtorikoulutuksessa (väitöskirja-aiheet)? »
Always a contrastive approach in teaching




Grammar / syntax
Linguistics (examples)
A. Pro gradu: contrasive approach is not imposed
- a part of the students choose it
B. Thesis: both doctoral students have a
contrastive approach
Bibliography




Belz, J.A. & Kinginger, C. (2002) « The cross-linguistic
development of address form use in telecollaborative
language learning, Two case studies. Canadian Modern
Language Review, 59 (2), 189-214.
Brown, R. & A. Gilman (1960) : « The pronouns of power
and solidarity », in : Fishman, J. A. (éd) : Readings in the
sociology of language, Mouton & Co. Printers, Hague, 252275.
Dewaele, Jean-Marc (2004) « The acquisition of sociolinguistic
competence in French as a foreign language : an overview ».
Journal of French Language Studies, 14, 301-319.
Dewaele, J.-M. & Planchenault, G. (2006) « ‘Dites-moi tu ?!’
La perception de la difficulté du système des pronoms
d’adresse français ». Faraco, Martine (éd.) La classe de
langue. Théories, méthodes et pratiques. Publications de
l’Université de Provence (langues et langage, 14), Aix-enProvence.
Bibliography







Eriksson, O. (2004) « Entre traductologie et linguistique contrastive: la
notion de ‘transposition ’ ». Härmä, J & Tuomarla, U. (éds) Actes du 6e
Colloque franco-finlandais de linguistique contrastive, 88-103.
Hakulinen, A. & alii (2004). Iso suomen kielioppi. Suomalaisen
kirjallisuuden seura, Helsinki.
Havu Eva (2005b) “L’emploi des pronoms d’adresse en français : étude
sociolinguistique et comparaison avec le finnois”. Taavitsainen, I. & alii
(éds) , Dimensions du dialogisme, Mémoires de la Société Néophilologique
de Helsinki, Helsinki, 225-240
Havu, E. & Isosavi, J. (à paraître) « Les stratégies d’adresse dans différents
types de texte ».
Kerbrat-Orecchioni, C. (1992) Les interactions verbales, tome II. Armand
Colin Éditeur, Paris.
Lappalainen, H., « Mie vai mää, sinä tai te? », in Sorjonen, M.-L. &
Raevaara, L. (éds), Arjen asiointia: keskusteluja Kelan tiskin äärellä,
Helsinki, Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 2006.
Lyster, Roy (1996) « Question Forms, Conditionals, and Second-Person
Pronouns Used by Adolescent Native Speakers across Two Levels of
Formality in Written and Spoken French ». The Modern Language Journal
80, 165-182.
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