posh American English

mjd   Saturday, February 07, 2004, 21:55 GMT
Alex_2   Sunday, February 08, 2004, 01:17 GMT
French Man,

In France, the Posh French ist the dialect of Paris, nothing else.
But not that of Provence, for instance. That's what they do mean.
french man   Tuesday, February 10, 2004, 11:16 GMT
To Alex_2, no the posh french is not from Paris. I don't think, especially when you know parisians are not appreciated in France (i live in Paris). If you think about the jet set accent, it's not especially from Paris, jet set paople can be from Monaco, Lyon...
Jordi   Tuesday, February 10, 2004, 18:02 GMT
I recommend my French friends to read this article on the Internet.
It comes to say that French as spoken by Parisian "bourgeois" or "intellectuals" would be considered the "neutral" or "correct" form of French. The rest, in France, is considered "provincial". It is, as always, because of political power.

"Le français auquel se réfèrent les manuels de prononciation est souvent défini comme le français des parisiens de milieux " bourgeois " ou intellectuels.
On peut se poser les questions suivantes :

1 - pourquoi le français de Paris a-t-il été longtemps choisi comme modèle parmi tous les francais régionaux?
2 - pourquoi la " bonne " société? Quelles sont les " autres " sociétés de Paris exclues du modèle et pourquoi ?"

Français standard
... standard, était très proche du français parisien neutre. ... des nombreuses variantes
admises par l'ensemble des Francais. ... é et qui marquent un accent régional ...
accentsdefrance.free.fr/standard/standardpres.html - 11k - En caché - Páginas similares
Lavoisel   Tuesday, February 10, 2004, 18:21 GMT

you said: "It comes to say that French as spoken by Parisian 'bourgeois' or 'intellectuals' would be considered the 'neutral' or 'correct' form of French."

I beg to differ: "La variété de prononciation généralement donnée comme modèle standard, était très proche du français parisien NEUTRE."

For those who can not speak French, the above sentence means "The kind of pronunciation generaly given as the standard model was very close to the neutral Parisian French."

It is precisely this pronunciation you will hear on TV and unfortunately it is very true that it tends to replace the other accents.

Thank you for this interesting link, Jordi.

By the way French Man, here is exactly the posh-wannabe accent I was talking about earlier in this thread:

Khatiya   Tuesday, February 10, 2004, 22:07 GMT

Thats not prejudice. I grew up around people from Brooklyn (hello...I live there) and its not my fault. I see people like this every day. Your parents might have grown uip in a different part of Brooklyn, or with a different family. I am sure your parents are great people, but this is what I see through my window. Can I help that its clouded? You may say yes you can, but you can't change how you think and you know it. Also ponder this: How I think is affected by the people around me. Who did I just say was around me?
mjd   Wednesday, February 11, 2004, 04:37 GMT

Well they're not my parents. My mom is from New Jersey (as am I) and my dad is from Lisbon, Portugal. I was talking about my friend's parents.

All I was saying is that you can't say that just because someone has a Brooklyn accent, that automatically makes the "trashy." Brooklyn is a largely working-class neighborhood, but the stigma around the accent is rather unfair.
mjd   Wednesday, February 11, 2004, 04:46 GMT
*makes THEM....
Jodi   Wednesday, February 11, 2004, 06:44 GMT
"Le français auquel se réfèrent les manuels de prononciation est souvent défini comme le français des parisiens de milieux " bourgeois " ou intellectuels

"The French you'll find in pronunciation manuals is often defined as the French of Parisians from "bourgeois" or "intellectual" backgrounds."

This is what I roughly translated and this is is what is thought of as "neutral French". As you know, there is nothing "neutral" in human nature. When we say that something is neutral it is because that has been imposed on the population's mind as being the accepted correct form.
The big difference between French and the other languages I know it that it would be very difficult to become the "Président de la République" if you had perfect standard French with a strong regional accent. Spain's ex-president Felipe González --a lawyer-- spoke with a strong Andalusian (southern) Spanish accent and there have been several American presidents who have what you might call a "twang". That has never been a hindrance in those countries. The British and the French expect their President or Prime Minister to have what they call a "neutral" (France) or "near RP" (GB) accent and even the slightest hints of an accent are mocked at. François Mitterand was scorned at in the 70s nad 80s because of his slight Auvergnat "s" (sounding more like "sh" to some ears.) Do you imagine a president of the French Reoublic with "perfect standard" French but sounding to the ears like the Marseille's actor Fernandel? It just wouldn't do, would it? Even many Marseillais would feel embarassed and that is the shame of it. Why should anybody feel ashamed about his accent that is so much a part of our cultural and historical heritage? That has got nothing to do with speaking a language well.
In some countries if you want to rule it is so much easier if you have the accent of the ruling classes.
I suppose that speakers from the south of France and other regions know what I'm speaking about. And, perhaps, some Britons too. Is that the case in other languages?
nico to Jordi   Wednesday, February 11, 2004, 09:17 GMT

I agree with the fact there is a tendencie to have a "neutral accent" which is logic in fact, because the "real french people" are native from "Ile the France and the Anjou", they have conquered many places in their history and have imposed their language.

But there is one thing you are wrong Mitterand couldn't have an Accent from Auvergne because he was not from Auvergne, he came from the Nièvre which is a part of Burgundy. Maybe you are talking from Giscard or Pompidou who were auvergnat, but if i remember well, they never used their accent when they talk to people at Tv or something inthat way. At least many politicians have some regional accents in France : Gaston deferre from Marseille, Charles Pasqua from Corsica, Noiret from Lyon etc
No one in France is ashamed because of his accent, some of them do not hesitate to use their accent (especially when they are from the south part of France, because they know some french like that and it's a good point for futur votes.
Jordi   Wednesday, February 11, 2004, 17:52 GMT
I apologise and I had Valery Giscard d'Estaing in mind. I didn't say he spoke with a regional accent. How could he if he belonged to the best society and it was written in the stars that he would become president of France? Although, according to you, he should have been proud of his origin and shouldn't have adopted the accent of another region. What I did say is that he was what the French call "chuintant", which is how he pronouced his "s" as "sh"; and that was enough to remind others of his provincial origin since this is one of the characteristics of the Auvergnat dialect. You can check that yourself in the Internet.
I have a young 22 year old young lady from Marseille working in my office as a "stagiaire" in Catalonia. She tells me that she would never get a good job a a top secretary in Marseille if her accent was too local even if her French is excellent! And she lives in Marseille! She speaks great English and Spanish. I remind you I was born in the south of France myself and everybody knows that young university students from the south try to speak with what is known in the south as "accent pointu", meaning "accent from the north". You can't say that nobody in France is ashamed if his accent because that isn't true. Local accents can be good for local politics and older politicians but can you imagine a speakerine (funny English word, which only exists in French to mean a female TV broadcaster) in French television speaking like Mireille of Mistral? It's even worse than it seems. I have friends in Toulouse that tell me they can't get a job in local television because they have a southern accent and that all those who sit for interviews try to speak with their best northern accents. Malgré tout ça sent le soleil! Since Guilhem and Lavoisel are also from the south (Toulouse and Valence) could you please confirm this? After all, denying facts is not the best form of patriotism I know. I can assure you I'm quite critical with Spain and Catalonia.
By the way it's becoming more and more usual in Spain, at least, to hear people running TV shows with regional accents, although a standard language is always a must. And that goes both for Catalan and Spanish. You can hear more regional accents in British TV now. Is France different?
Lavoisel   Wednesday, February 11, 2004, 23:21 GMT
Hi Jordi,

I haven't the accent a real Valentinois should have, and I therefore seem to stick to the stereotype of the French who has forgotten his origins. However, this was decided long before my birth.
My paternal grandmother is an Italian who was repudiated by her parents at the age of twelve along with her sister and all her brothers because they were too poor to feed any child any longer. She settled in Grenoble in France where she met my native Parisian paternal grandfather. Full of resentment for the country in which she was born, slightly raised and merely abandoned, she decided to forget anything related to it, including the language, and made her best to speak French the way her husband do... i.e. with a Parisian accent. She did not speak any Italian to my father and his three brothers.
My maternal grandfather was born in France from an English father and an Austrian mother. Both of them had a good Parisian accent with some hints of their mother tongue. They "trilingualy" raised their two sons. But my maternal grandfather was attached to teach proper French to my mother... and he did not speak to her anything but this tongue. The accent my mother took from her parents had some striking touches of the traditional French bourgeois one, but she quickly decided that it did not fit the kind of left-winged "soixante-huitards" chaps she befriended and the convictions she shared with them... and forgot it.
So here I am, speaking French with an accent far from being the creole accent I could have expected to inherit from such mixed origins. Valence could have make me take the accent of "midi moins le quart", but the accent I feel most comfortable to use is the one I learned from my parents. I wouldn't find natural to drop it for another.
This short background-giving shows three different cases which may cause people to forget their accent: rejection of a painful past, political convictions and an over-zealous drive for integration.

So, what will be my answer to your former question? Well, yes where I live people tend to lose their own accent. I lived one year in Montpellier, am often in Grenoble and have noticed the same state of affairs there.

P.S.: This message was pretty long to write, therefore I have probably failed to proofread it properly. Please don't hesitate to correct any mistake I have made.
Jordi   Thursday, February 12, 2004, 06:00 GMT
Interesting storty indeed and it explains your accent. Nevertheless, the main reason why people drop their regional accents is social mobility. If your father and mother have a Provençal accent and you try to move away from it, without moving from Provence, it's because you want to have "qualities" different to the ones around you. In France, unfortunately as far as I see it, a Northern standard accent is often considered a "social marker" if you want to move in the "correct" circles. This hasn't always been the case and it started with Louis XIV and especially with the bourgeois society that arose after the French revolution. I think you have a better explanation in "accentsdefrance", which is a French page written by French scholars. I think the young French generation has to come to terms with this and try to change the situation although I admit it's not an easy task. One expects local people with petty jobs to have a local accent especially if one is on holidays "ça sent les vacances" but highly educated southerners are expected to drop or to soften, as much as possible, their southern accent. I don't think that's fair or convenient because it creates social values, which are not based on merit and it leaves half of France making an extra effort it shouldn't make.
Lavoisel   Thursday, February 12, 2004, 09:50 GMT

alas, the rare local actions to change a deep-rooted mentality take too much time in comparison with the fast decline of local accents. I am convinced that the real means of attracting people's attention on that matter would be a debate at the national level.
In my opinion there is only one way to arouse such a debate: giving the local patois, dialects and languages a statut at last. This would be the first step in the acceptation of traditional differences.
Why not also vote an anti accent discrimination law?
Many times in history, the law has changed to follow the evolution of the custom. But as much often, the law was the forerunner of change in the notion of social correctness.
nicolas   Thursday, February 12, 2004, 11:36 GMT
What you said Jordi is true. But i have observed the fact that usually when people have a high society level (education, diplomas etc). They do not have a big accent, and that's the opposite with simple origins like people who work in factories, farmers etc, is it the same in Spain. 5i do not insult any people when i say that, i hope it's clear in your mind.

I think it's a social fact.

I thought about something else, if i understood well what you said about spanish politicians who (not all of them) voluntary use their regional accent. It's in fact the opposit and the extrem. Because they do it voluntary, isn't it demagogy to?

At least, it's just a detail but the accent from Auvergne is not "sh", there are many accents from Auvergne, not only one.

About Giscard d'Estaing, i don't know if he ever had any accent, because he's a noble and had a very special education (conservative and noble family), i don't think he had a very big accent (if he had one) at the beginnig. That's true i have never heard any french president with a south accent. But we never had presidents in France from the south. When i speak about the south i mean countries with accents from the midi.

Mitterand Bourgogne
Pompidou Auvergne
Giscard Auvergne
De Gaulle Nord (from Lille)

As i told you, France is a country where kings and politicians tried to erase any dialects and differences from different countries because they wanted to unify all the french. I think nowaday it's in the french culture. At list, the french language has one origin, as i said it comes from Ile de France and Anjou, so, it became the reference at school to speak french.
You musn't forget that, there's a big difference between france ands spain, French governements had to teach french to people like alsacians, flanders or bretons who do not have any latin culture (to the opposite of the others), so their language was so different; they had to learn french from A to Z. That was not especially the case with others like auvergnats, provençaux etc who used a latin language even it was not french but occitan.