Beatrice Rea

Beatrice Rea

Béatrice is a DPhil candidate in Comparative Philology and General Linguistics and her thesis is titled: “Je m’ai fait mal quand j’ai tombé”: A real- and apparent-time study of auxiliary alternation in intransitive and pronominal verbs in spoken Montréal French (1971-2016)

Her research focuses on Québécois French, as it is spoken in the city of Montréal and examining a morphosyntactic feature typical of this variety of French: the replacement of the auxiliary verb être ‘to be’ with avoir ‘to have’ in verbs that conventionally require the exclusive use of être (ex. Je suis tombé vs J’ai tombé ‘I fell/have fallen’). In written discourse, French speakers are theoretically required to observe the Metropolitan Standard, which classifies this innovative feature as ‘a grammar mistake’. The regularisation process that happens in Montréal, and in other parts of Canada, might eventually bring Canadian French closer to the structure of some other Romance languages, which employ only one verbal auxiliary. The main goals of her doctoral fieldwork are not only to predict the direction of this potential linguistic change, but also to understand how social and linguistic factors influence this phenomenon.

Béatrice plans to continue investigating the structure of Québécois French at the post-doctoral level and then work as an academic in order to teach and disseminate linguistic research on varieties of  Canadian French. The funds from the Canada-UK Foundation have also helped me carry out my fieldwork and attend international conferences.