Texting the Future in Belgium and Québec: Present matters

Tremblay, Mireille, Blondeau, Hélène and Labeau, Emmanuelle (2019). Texting the Future in Belgium and Québec: Present matters. Journal of French Language Studies , (In Press)


This study investigates the variation in the expression of Future Temporal Reference in text messages in Belgian and Québecois French. Three variants are considered: the Futurate Present, the Synthetic Future and the Analytic Future. The results of multivariate analyses show that the use of the Futurate Present does not appear to be subject to dialectal variation: both communities use this variant at similar rates and the use of the variant is constrained by the same linguistic factors. The two dialects show differences in their choice of the Synthetic vs the Analytic Future. Unlike Québecois French, Belgian French strongly favours the Synthetic Future. The two dialects also differ with respect to the linguistic constraints in effect. Our analysis shows the need to explore the relationship between variants, and to distinguish between Covert T (realized as Present tense) and Overt T (either Synthetic or Analytic Future). Our results point toward the hybrid nature of text messages: while our results show patterns of use in line with oral∕conversational corpora as reflected by the dialectal variation observed, text messages are not exempt from the influence of written French, as shown by the use of Synthetic Future forms in affirmative sentences in the Québec corpus.

Divisions: Languages & Social Sciences
Languages & Social Sciences > French
Languages & Social Sciences > Centre for Critical Inquiry into Society and Culture (CCISC)
Languages & Social Sciences > Centre for Language Research at Aston (CLaRA)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Synthetic Future,Inflected Future,Periphrastic Future,Québec French,Belgian French,Text messages,SMS
Accepted Date: 2019-03-01
Authors: Tremblay, Mireille
Blondeau, Hélène
Labeau, Emmanuelle ( 0000-0002-0041-8023)



Version: Accepted Version

Access Restriction: Restricted to Repository staff only until 1 January 2050.

Export / Share Citation


Additional statistics for this record