Michelle Auzanneau

Full Professor
Population and Development Center
Convergences Migration Institute
University of Paris
Paris, France


I am a sociolinguist whose work focuses on the variability of language practices in interaction with and in relation to global sociolinguistic dynamics (linked to urbanization, mobility, contacts, etc.). Whether in France or in Africa, I have worked on sociolinguistic situations characterized by language contact between French and socially devalued ways of speaking.

My earlier research dealt with a linguistic pattern consisting of a rural dialect mixed with French in Poitou. I then turned my attention to sociolinguistic situations in urban settings of Senegal, Gabon and France. In particular, my research has concerned the oral and/or written language practices of young speakers brought together by certain activities within common relational spaces (rap, peer groups, training centers, social or judicial integration centers). I am interested in the social process of meaning construction.

A large part of my current research in the Île de France region (i.e., the Paris metropolitan area) concerns young persons of migrant background or unaccompanied migrant minors who have committed various offences and been placed under monitoring and surveillance by a juvenile court judge. This happens under the auspices of La Direction de la Protection Judiciaire de la Jeunesse, a government agency that oversees the social integration as well as education and vocational training of juvenile delinquents.

My studies look at the role of language in how these young people both access the law and achieve social integration. The relationship between the mobility of these speakers (as seen through both their migratory route and daily movements) and the development of their communicative competence is what interests me. I have developed collaborative projects with professionals in the juvenile justice sector (teachers, trainers and officers of La Direction ) in order to improve the social outcomes and integration of these young people, with a focus on vulnerable migrants.

Areas of Interest

Articles on the Language Practices of Young People Entrusted to La Protection Judiciaire de la Jeunesse (Judicial Protection of Youth)