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Zsuzsanna Fagyal

Profile picture for Zsuzsanna Fagyal

Contact Information

2090 H FLB
Spring 2024 Office hours: W 11 am - 12 pm or by appointment on Zoom or in person
Professor and Head, Program Advisor for French Applied Linguistics

Research Interests

Sociophonetics of French and Romance languages
Language variation and change
Social networks and the diffusion of linguistic innovations
Speech prosody
Language and minorities in Europe

Research Description

In my research and teaching, I focus on socially meaningful phonetic and lexical variation and change in French, with special emphasis on multiethnic urban speech styles in France. I have been conducting and directing research in both fieldwork and laboratory settings as well as corpus-based studies in phonetics and sociolinguistics for over twenty years. In recent years, I also undertook the study of the influence of social actors and institutions on minority and standard language planning and policies in Europe, and simulated with computer scientists the influence of such actors on the spread of innovations in models of densely connected social networks. My upcoming book, Home Turf: Multiethnic Speech Styles in French, deals with the cultural context, origins, and linguistic features of working-class Parisian French in contact with immigrant languages in Paris.

I have been directing PhD dissertations and advising graduate students in the humanities and the social sciences in three departments and two research centers since 2000. My grants and awards include the Summer Research Award of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (2001), IPRH-UIUC faculty fellowship (2003-2004), and two NSF grants (2010-2013, 2022-2025). My most recent grant is in collaboration with a team of engineers at UIUC and John Hopkins University on inclusive automatic speech recognition: See the announcement by our School:

I also teach and develop courses that foreground French around the world. Most recently, in collaboration with students and faculty in French Cultural Studies, I developed a General Education course entitled ‘French in US Minority Cultures’ that traces the spread and decline of French as a heritage language in the American Midwest from the early modern times until the 20th century. The course is expected be offered for the first time in Fall 2024.


Linguistics (Sciences du Langage), Ph.D., University of Paris III, Sorbonne Nouvelle
Russian and Slavic Languages, M.A., ELTE, Eötvös Loránd University
French and Romance Languages, M.A., ELTE, Eötvös Loránd University
European Union Studies, Graduate Minor, European Union Center, University of Nancy II, France

Additional Campus Affiliations

Affiliate Faculty, Department of Linguistics

Affiliate Faculty, European Union Center, UIUC

Affiliate Faculty, Center for Global Studies, UIUC

Highlighted Publications


















Home Turf:  Multiethnic Speech Styles in French, under review.


French: A Linguistic Introduction. Second revised and extended edition, with Heather Burnett, Mireille Tremblay, and Douglas Kibbee. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, under contract.


Edited Volumes


















Interfaces in Romance Linguistics, Selected Proceedings of the 51st Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages (LSRL), UIUC, April-May 2021, with MacDonald, J., Beristain, A., and Turner, R.Special Issue of Isogloss, Romance Languages and Linguistic Theory Series, volume 8, issue 4, 2022.


Selected Book Contributions


Speaker stance and the affrication of plosives in adolescent peer-group interactions in multiethnic urban vernaculars of French,” In: Morand, A-M., Schmid, S. and Schwab, S. (eds.), The Sounds of European Multiethnolects, Philadelphia, John Benjamins, invited, expected in 2023.


Standardization and language regimes in Europe: the case of France, Spain, and the United Kingdom,” In: Mufwene, S. and Escobar, A-M. (eds.), Cambridge Handbook of Language Contact, volume 2, chapter 37, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2022, pp. 228-253.


"Sociophonetics," with Justin Davidson, In: Gabriel C., Gess, R., and Meisenburg, T. (eds.), Manual of Romance phonetics and phonology, compiled by Gabriel Christoph, compiled by Randall Gess, compiled by Trudel Meisenburg. Berlin, New York: De Gruyter, 2021, pp. 343-374.


"Sociolinguistic variation and pluricentricity," In: Potowski, Kim and Bugel, Talia (eds.), Sociolinguistic change across the Spanish-speaking world: Case studies in honor of Anna María Escobar, New York, NY: Peter Lang, 2015, pp. 215-220.


"Prosodic style-shifting in preadolescent peer-group interactions in a working-class suburb of Paris," with Christopher Stewart, In: Kern, Friederike and Selting, Margret (eds.), Ethnic Styles of Speaking in European Metropolitan Areas, Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2011, pp. 75–99.


Selected Journal Articles


“Introduction to Romance Languages and Linguistic Theory 18,” Special Issue of Isogloss. Open Journal of Romance Linguistics, with MacDonald, J., Beristain, A., & Turner, R., (eds.), volume 8, issue 4, 1-10. 2022. DOI:


Old and New in Variation in French Digital Media: A Commentary,” Special Issue on French Variation in Digital Media, Journal of French Language Studies, volume 32, July 2022, 267 - 271.


"Prosodic rhythm, cultural background, and the performance of adolescent urban vernaculars in Paris: case studies and comparisons," with Eivind Torgersen, Journal of French Language Studies, vol. 28, no. 2, 2018, pp. 165-179.


"Convergence, divergence et filiation linguistique: retour à l’étude panlectale de la variation en français." Journal of French Language Studies, vol. 26, no. 2, 2016, pp. 163-166.


"Centers and peripheries: Network roles in language change," with Samarth Swarup, Anna Maria Escobar, Les Gasser, and Kiran Lakkaraju, Lingua, vol. 120, no. 8, 2010, pp. 2061-2079.


“Comparing single and double sayings of the German response token ja and the role of prosody: A conversation analytic perspective,” with Andrea Golato, Research on Language and Social Interaction, 41(3), 2008, pp. 1-30.


“Acoustic aspects of vowel harmony in French,” with Noel Nguyen, Journal of Phonetics, 36 (1), 2008, pp. 1-27.


Recent Publications

Fagyal, Z. (2022). Monolingualism vs. Multilingualism in Western Europe: Language Regimes in France, Spain, and the United Kingdom. In S. Mufwene, & A. M. Escobar (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Language Contact: Volume 2: Multilingualism in Population Structure (Cambridge Handbooks in Language and Linguistics). Cambridge University Press.

Fagyal, Z. (2022). Old and New in Language Variation in French Digital Media: A Commentary. Journal of French Language Studies, 32(2), 267-271.

MacDonald, J. E., Fagyal, Z., Beristain, A., & Turner, R. (2022). Introduction to RLLT 18. Isogloss, 8(4).

Fagyal, Z. (2021). Review: K. Chenoweth's The prosthetic tongue: Printing technology and the rise of the French language. Language in Society, 50(3), 482-483.

Fagyal, Z. (2021). Review: N. Peter's Gascon et français chez les Israélites d’Aquitaine : documents et inventaire lexical. Journal of French Language Studies, 31(1), 109-110.

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