November 20th, 2008

Modern French Accents, Toulouse; Pronouncationese

Setting: Present-day United States, except where otherwise noted.

Searches and Researches:
Preliminary Googling and consultations with a friend who specializes in modern and 16th century French, and my own limited experiences with written Langue d'Oc, Occitan, and Provencal. The real problem is that the bulk of my experience is in a language no longer spoken.

Scenario: Character A is a bilingual English/French speaker. She learned French in school until eleven, then moved to Toulouse and lived in a bilingual household until eighteen.

The Question!
A introduces herself to another character in French. She retains a slight accent from her time in Toulouse.

ETA: Her audience is a native speaker of the Langue d'Oc --someone who grew up speaking the French of Bernart de Ventadorn and Bertrand de Born --this is the sticky wicket, I realize.

However, the fellow in question also understand and speaks (less fluently) modern Parisian French. So he could perceive the departures of her accent from either of those points.

1) What is characteristic of French spoken in Toulouse? (Toulousian French?) Qualitative description of the sound difference would be wonderful because while preliminary Googling turned up some of the answers I need, I can't interpret them.

What I found:
"In Toulouse the vowel sound at the end of the suffix [e:n] is a diphthong gliding from /I/ to /ε/. This means that the start of this sound is more fronted than the Parisian version [iεn]."

Also: Toulouse is more 'fronted' and 'closed'; Parisian French 'open-mid.'

I could copy this analysis but it isn't how my characters would hear those differences, and my readers don't understand pronunciationese any better than I do.

Help?

Thank you to anyone who can help, in advance.

Nazis in Argentina

I have a Nazi character, an SS man who escapes via the ratlines set up by ODESSA at the end of WWII. I know that he makes his way out through Switzerland, coming to Italy where he is helped by the monastery route and the Roman Catholic priests to get to Argentina.

And.. .this is where google fu and research fails me. I need to know

a) what sort of passage he would take from Italy to Argentina. I am assuming a ship? Would their be any other stops along the way?

and b) What town is he likely to settle in afterward? I want a small-ish town, something that isn't a huge city, that has a German speaking population. I am considering Crespo, which has descendants of Volga German immigration - but how likely is it to still be speaking German in the late 1940s - early 1950s? This is also a lot of presumption on my part, that the Nazis would integrate into existing German populations - I can't find research to confirm or deny this. Or did they make their own towns?


I am failing hard on finding details for these two points - any help, especially links to personal accounts or webpages on the topic is very appreciated!
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