Kathleen Y. Ensz (Ph.D., Stanford University) is Professor of French at the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO.
Perceptions of French Slang: l'autre face de la médaille
Article first published online: 31 DEC 2008
© 1986 American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
Foreign Language Annals
Volume 19, Issue 6, pages 499–505, December 1986
How to Cite
Ensz, K. Y. (1986), Perceptions of French Slang: l'autre face de la médaille. Foreign Language Annals, 19: 499–505. doi: 10.1111/j.1944-9720.1986.tb01040.x
- Issue published online: 31 DEC 2008
- Article first published online: 31 DEC 2008
ABSTRACT This article reports on a second study of reactions of native French persons to use of French slang. In the first study (Foreign Language Annals, December 1985), French interviewees listened to thirty selected French slang expressions spoken by young Americans. In the present study, the French listeners heard the same expressions used by French youths. A comparison of reactions to French versus American usage of French slang was therefore possible. The same interviewing procedure was used in both studies. French listeners residing in different areas of France rated the thirty tape-recorded slang expressions ranging in nonstandard usage from “very familiar” to “rather vulgar.” The possible reactions, très mauvais goût (very bad taste), un peu incorrect (socially inappropriate) or langage normal (acceptable speech), were scored one, two and three, respectively, and mean scores were calculated for each expression. Reactions were evaluated according to the sex, profession, age and residence of the listeners as well as to the sample as a whole. As in the previous study, findings reveal a generally critical attitude toward slang usage. Several sample subgroups found the Americans' use of French slang less acceptable, and there were notably lower tolerance ratings for various expressions when used by the Americans. Results of this study reinforce those of the first and suggest the need for discrimination, especially in terms of the quality of the expression, when considering the inclusion of slang in French-language classrooms and in the curriculum.