A Short Summary Of Wallon

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The linguistic imaginary of Walloon is a complex one, and its deciphering and interpretation is an exercise to be realized with caution, especially if the leading perspective on the issue is a potential survival or revival of the language. Throughout this thesis, we attempted to identify, describe, and explain the subjective norms of Walloon and to assess these norms’ implications in the frame of language maintenance and revitalization. By the end of this analysis, it has become clear that no simple answer exists.

When considering the evaluative norms, the first thoughts that come to mind is how scarce they are in the corpus, and how absent Walloon is in the users’ cognition. Additionally, these norms expose an informative paucity
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Whether these norms play a crucial role in language survival is hard to determine due to the highly heterogeneous set of representations. Indeed, all of the associations participated in the creation of a stigmatizing atmosphere, however, several benevolent attitudes provided a relative counterweight. For instance, associations of Walloon with rurality illustrate the duality opposing pastoral but underdeveloped countryside and the arrogant but modern city. In the same line of ideas, Walloon can be a language of high culture, yet, its speakers belong to lower social-class and are less intelligent than French speaking natives. Finally, if several users express linguistic insecurity regarding an “inherent” language register of Walloon, the force of the affective dimension, which symbolizes the inter-generational bond between family members, offsets many of the potentially harmful effects of negative attitudes. From a language maintenance perspective, this characteristic diglossic conflict, where Walloon speakers generate an alternative mythology to counter the mainstream discourse, represents a challenge. A sensible strategy would be to use the existing stereotypes, both positive and negative, and to have recourse to storytelling techniques to modify the Walloon language narrative by deconstructing demeaning associations and enriching the positive connotations. Furthermore,…show more content…
Indeed, references to organizations, individuals or works are close to non-existent in the corpus, which explains the overall weak recognition of a Walloon standard. Standardization faces three majors challenges: first, speakers feel a sense of alienation toward the rfondou standard whose spelling is too remote from their pronunciation or they criticize the relativity of the Feller diasystem, which fails to unite the speakers beyond the variational level; second, the access to prescriptive discourse is too difficult for speakers to correct their speech easily; third, Walloon knowledge is principally in the oral sphere and few speakers feel comfortable writing it. As a consequence, speakers either develop a hybrid language where their French knowledge compensates their Walloon shortcomings or they have recourse to alternative sources of prescriptive references. The discourse on prescriptive norms brings to light the dire need for accessible linguistic technologies, which could be achieved by user-friendly online tools for speakers. Moreover, an augmented production of written content could be the second step for the development of prescriptive
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