Skip to main content

Zsuzsanna Fagyal

Profile picture for Zsuzsanna Fagyal

Contact Information

University of Illinois
Dept. of French and Italian, MC-158
2090 Foreign Languages Building
707 S. Mathews Ave.
Urbana, IL 61801

Office: 2090H, Foreign Languages Building

Office Hours

Spring 2024: W 11 am -12 pm or by appointment
Professor of French

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 to 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.

Accents de banlieues. Aspects prosodiques du français populaire en contact avec les langues de l’immigration. Paris, L’Harmattan, Séries “Espaces discursifs”, 2010.

French: A Linguistic Introduction.1st edition, with Kibbee, and Jenkins, F., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006

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 18, 2022.

Convergence and Divergence in Laurentian French, with Hirschensohn, J., Theme Special Issue of the Journal of French Language Studiesvolume 26, issue 2, 2016.

Francophone Cultures and Geographies of Identity, with Murdoch, H. Adlai, Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013.

Romance Linguistics 2008: Interactions in Romance, with Arregi, Karlos, Silvina Montrul, and Annie Tremblay, Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2008.

Selected Articles

"Finding Spoken Identifications: Using GPT-4 Annotation For An Efficient And Fast Dataset Creation Pipeline," Jahan, M., Wang, H. Thebaud, T., Sun, Y., Le, G., Fagyal, Z., Scharenborg, O., Hasegawa-Johnson, M., Moro-Velazquez, L., Dehak, N. International LREC-Coling Joint Conference, Torino, Italy, May 20-24, 2024, accepted.

Urban youth vernaculars and the social-indexical meaning of coronal plosive realizations: a Francophone perspective,” under review.

“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.

“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, pp. 267–271.

"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.

“What’s with your nasals? Perception of nasal vowel contrasts in two dialects of French,” Nicholas, J., Fagyal, Z., Carignan, C., Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Melbourne, Australia, 2019, 1208-1212.

"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.

"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.

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.

View all publications on Illinois Experts