Sociolinguist Shana Poplack wins the Acfas André-Laurendeau Prize

Posted on Friday, November 15, 2019

Shana Poplack


The University of Ottawa is proud to announce that Distinguished University Professor Shana Poplack, of the Department of Linguistics, Faculty of Arts, has received the André-Laurendeau Prize (article in French only), which honours excellence in the humanities. Sponsored by Acfas, the association for the advancement of science in Quebec and Francophone Canada, this award underscores the national and international influence of Poplack’s research and her major impact on the field of linguistics.

“I wish to congratulate Shana Poplack, the first member of the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Arts to receive the André-Laurendeau Prize, a distinction that highlights her outstanding research,” said Vice-President, Research Sylvain Charbonneau.

Shana Poplack, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Linguistics, received this award due to the originality of her research on Canada’s official languages, and her major contributions to the advancement of knowledge on bilingualism and minority dialects.

She is known for her rigorous analysis of the French spoken in Ottawa-Gatineau, in Quebec, and in immigrant communities in Canada, and for her studies of English spoken in Quebec and in African Nova Scotian communities. As an expert sociolinguist, she has contributed significantly to our understanding of the dynamics of language in bilingual communities.

Her digitized mega-corpus of French in Canada’s capital region and her theoretical models of bilingualism are considered authoritative. Her research has contributed to a new appreciation for minority dialects and code-switching (which occurs when speakers alternate between languages in conversation) in the face of an exclusionary linguistic ideology practised by cultural elites, which she clearly exposed.

The Acfas (Association canadienne-française pour l’avancement des sciences) created this prize in 1986 in honour of Quebec intellectual and humanist André Laurendeau (1912-1968).

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