Paris mushroomed in the thirteenth century to become the largest city in the Western world, largely through in-migration from rural areas. The resulting dialect-mixture led to the formation of new, specifically urban modes of speech. From the time of the Renaissance social stratification became sharper as the elites distanced themselves from the Parisian 'Cockney' of the masses. Nineteenth-century urbanisation transformed the situation yet again with the arrival of huge numbers of immigrants from far-flung corners of France, levelling dialect-differences and exposing ever larger sections of the population to standardising influences. At the same time, a working-class vernacular emerged which was distinguished from the upper-class standard not only in grammar and pronunciation but most markedly in vocabulary (slang). This book examines the interlinked history of Parisian speech and the Parisian population through these various phases of in-migration, dialect-mixing and social stratification from medieval times to the present day.
"Lodge is well qualified to chart the development of Parisian French over the course of eight centuries...he marshals a convincing array of sources and theoretical models...this accessible study presents a broad tableau, highlighting the interaction of language, social structures, and economic trends, and combining carefully chosen sample texts with stimulating critical reflection." J.R. Iverson, Whitman College, Choice "Neatly produced and will undoubtedly become a standard book of reference for all those interested in the history of colloquial speech and the sociological factors that have contributed to its development. On the whole...this book should be read by all scholars working in the field of historical sociolinguistics." Estudios de Sociolinguistica Begona Crespo Garcia "...this highly informative and superbly written book will stand as a model for future research in the field." French Review Zsuzsanna Fagyal, University of Illinois "In this richly documented book, Lodge embarks on a bold, risky, yet compelling enterprise: attempting as plausible and comprehensive a reconstruction as possible of the history of Parisian French...the pedagogical approach chosen by the author is evidenced by the presence of a summary at the end of each chapter and of each part makes the reading and the understanding of the book easier and more enjoyable." Jean-Guy Mboudjeke, Dalhousie University