Reggae Francophone : Alternance codique et emprunts
- Číslo 1 
PublisherUniverzita Karlova, Filozofická fakulta
SourceLinguistica Pragensia, 2014, 24,1, 19-33
French, reggae, code-switching, loanwords, sociolect, function
This paper deals with the language practices of French-speaking reggae singers and listeners. The observed phenomena comprise code-switching (selecting and alternating between languages) and lexical borrowings in reggae and dancehall, which form a musical tradition with unique features, both in song recordings and on stage. The method includes comparative lexicographic research and a web survey answered by 189 French-speaking reggae fans. The linguistic richness and diversity of reggae lyrics at a global level are also compared to multilingualism in hip-hop lyrics. Firstly, the empirical part investigates a random sample of 160 reggae songs in search of languages embedded in French. The lyrics draw on twelve foreign languages, placing every code-switch according to a song’s structure in a generally regular fashion. Secondly, the focus shifts to adoption of innovative lexical devices found in reggae songs, resulting in more than a hundred new loanwords from English and Jamaican Creole. Finally, the work points out functional differences between these borrowings and code-switching, in song lyrics and in an improvised DJ event. The strategies identified include addressing a concrete audience and combining spontaneity with lyrical editing. The loanwords’ reoccurring use in the fans’ discourse appears to be typical of the vernacular of francophone reggae listeners.