The study of variation in Phonetics and Linguistics is at the same time obvious and fuzzy. Since the beginning of modern Linguistics, the notion of variation has occupied a central position in the theories, models and methods. At the same time, variation is a fuzzy notion which may cover different aspects (social impact, diachronic change, dialect, coarticulation and assimilation, speech styles, etc.). Traditionally, variation is the domain of speech realization and is characterized by several factors that may have an influence on how speech is produced. But for some approaches (Variationist Sociolinguistics) variation is not a consequence of speech actualization, it is the central part of language.
The second team of the VARIAMU project is in the “mood” of new approaches which consider language as a global system in which the expression of each domain (phonetics, prosody, syntax, discourse, etc.) depends on the other ones. These approaches have been reinforced by the recent studies on big corpora of spontaneous speech. These corpora provide new variation phenomena and new linguistics structures which have to be described and explained. Moreover, our team aims to understand these variation phenomena through a cross-linguistic perspective.
The projects developed in the second team of VARIAMU are focused on language comparison (French, English, Cantonese, Mandarin), situation of plurilinguism (with social impact), second language acquisition and speech style characteristics (spontaneous speech in different languages).