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Professor Janice Carruthers

Professor Janice Carruthers (
Professor Janice Carruthers (

Janice Carruthers MA MPhil PhD (Cantab)


Janice Carruthers took her BA in Modern and Medieval Languages at Cambridge University (St Catharine’s College), where she subsequently took an MPhil in Linguistics, followed by a PhD in French Linguistics under the supervision of Professor Wendy Ayres-Bennett. She was appointed to Queen’s in 1989 where she teaches and researches in French Language and Linguistics. She is Head of French and Director of the French and Francophone Studies Research Cluster.  She is on the Editorial Board of the Legenda ‘Research Monographs in French’ series and of the journals ‘French Studies’ (OUP) and ‘Discours’ (CNRS). She is a member of the International Advisory Board of the ‘Journal of French Language Studies’ (CUP), having been an Editor and Associate Editor for many years. She is also a member of the AHRC Peer Review College.

Her current international collaborations are with Patrick Caudal (Paris 7) and with Anne Le Draoulec and Marie-Paule Péry-Woodley (Toulouse-le-Mirail).

She has recently been External Examiner at both Undergraduate and Postgraduate level at Cambridge University and the University of Sheffield.

Her antidote to work is her young children but another form of escape is a glass of Pouilly fumé and/or some Palestrina, Byrd, Tallis, Victoria, Bach, Fauré or Duruflé.



Janice Carruthers has published widely on tense and aspect in French and on the structure of the contemporary spoken language.

Her 2005 book, 'Oral Narration in Modern French', examines tense and temporality in three corpora of oral French, one of conversational narrations, one of traditional contes and one of new storytelling. Tense switching, aspect and temporal connectors are the central preoccupation.

For reviews, click on the links below;

Oral Narration, JFLS

Oral Narration, French Studies


In her 2001 co-authored book with Wendy Ayres-Bennett, she writes on word formation and linguistic borrowings in French, on word order in the contemporary language, on subordination and coordination, and on tense and aspect.

For reviews, click on the links below;

Problems and Perspectives, JFLS (pg 99)

Problems and Perspectives, French Studies

Most of her articles are also in the area of tense and aspect in contemporary French but she has also published on sampling and fieldwork methodology for research on oral language.


Current Research

Her current research has two connected strands. One is the linguistic structure of oral narrative, in particular the stylistic, temporal and syntactic features of contemporary oral storytelling. She is currently completing a co-edited volume with Patrick Caudal (Paris 7), entitled ‘La Narration Orale. Temporalité et Structuration du Discours’ (Cahiers Chronos) and is beginning a collaborative project on temporal framing in oral narrative with Anne Le Draoulec and Marie-Paule Péry-Woodley (CNRS, Toulouse-le-Mirail). Her 2010 book, co-edited with Maeve McCusker, is an interdisciplinary volume that brings together literary scholars, linguists and anthropologists working on the oral-written interface in the French and francophone conte.


The other main strand of her current research is Corpus Linguistics. She is currently completing the first transcribed and annotated corpus of contemporary oral storytelling, in collaboration with the ‘Conservatoire de littérature orale’ in Vendôme (Dir: Bruno De La Salle). It has been funded by the British Academy and the AHRC and will be deposited in the Oxford Text Archive later in 2011. The corpus contains a wide variety of types of conte by a range of contemporary conteurs/ses, and is annotated using the Text Encoding Initiative for a range of stylistic and syntactic features.


List of Publications

Authored Books

Carruthers, J. (2005). Oral Narration in Modern French. A Linguistic Analysis of Temporal Patterns. Oxford: Legenda Monographs in French. ISBN 1904713114

Ayres-Bennett, W. and Carruthers, J. (2001). Problems and Perspectives.Studies in the Modern French Language. London: Longman. ISBN 0-582-29345-6

Edited Books

Caudal, P. and Carruthers, J. (in preparation).  La Narration Orale. Temporalité et Structuration du Discours. Amsterdam:  Rodopi (Cahiers Chronos).

Carruthers, J. and McCusker, MM. (2010). The Conte. Oral and Written Dynamics. Oxford: Peter Lang.

Annotated corpus (forthcoming, 2011).

An Annotated Corpus of New Storytelling in French with Methodological Framework and Metadata. To be deposited in the Oxford Text Archive in 2011.


Carruthers, J. (forthcoming, 2011). 'Temporal Framing in the 'Conte'. From Theoretical Debate to Oral Story Performance'. French Studies.

Carruthers, J. (forthcoming, 2011). 'Tense and Aspect in Discourse and Text', in R. Binnick (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Tense and Aspect, Oxford University Press.

Carruthers, J. (forthcoming). 'Oralité et Expression de la Séquence Temporelle', in P. Caudal and J. Carruthers (eds),  La Narration Orale. Temporalité et Structuration du Discours. Amsterdam:  Rodopi (Cahiers Chronos).

Carruthers, J. (2010). 'The Oral/Written Dynamic in ‘New’ Storytelling in French', in J. Carruthers and M. McCusker (eds), The Conte. Oral and Written Dynamics. Oxford: Peter Lang, pp. 211-233.

Carruthers, J and McCusker, MM. (2010).  'Contextualising the Oral-Written Dynamic in the French and Francophone 'Conte'', in J. Carruthers and M. McCusker (eds), The Conte. Oral and Written Dynamics. Oxford: Peter Lang, pp. 1-15.

Carruthers, J. (2008). ‘Annotating an Oral Corpus using the Text Encoding Initiative Codes: Methodology, Problems, Solutions’, Journal of French Language Studies, 18.3, 103-119.

Carruthers, J. and Marnette, S. ( 2007). ‘Tense, Voices and Point of View in Medieval and Modern ‘Oral’ Narration’, in P.Caudal, E. Labeau and C.Vetters (eds), Sémantique et Diachronie du Système Verbal Français. Amsterdam:  Rodopi (Cahiers Chronos), pp.177-202.

Carruthers, J. (2006). ‘Temps et Oralité dans le Conte Oral’, La Linguistique, 42.1, 97-114.

Carruthers, J. (2006). ‘The Syntax of Oral French’, French Studies, LX.2, 251-60.

Carruthers, J. (2003). ‘Tense, Orality and Narration’. The Case of the Néo-Conte’,  French Studies, LVII, 501-520.

Carruthers, J. (2003). ‘The Walloon-Scots Comparison. Are there Further Parallels with Other Langues d’Oïl?’, in J.M. Kirk and D.P. O Baoill (eds), Minority Languages in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Scotland, Belfast: BSLP, pp.303-308.

Carruthers, J.(1999).‘A Problem in Sociolinguistic Methodology: Investigating a Rare Syntactic Form’, Journal of French Language Studies, 9:1, 1-24.

Carruthers, J.(1998).‘Surcomposé Général et Surcomposé Régional: Deux Formes Distinctes?’, Atti del XXI Congresso Internazionale di Linguistica e Filologia Romanza, ed Giovanni Ruffino, II Morphologia e sintassi delle lingue romanze, Tubingen: Niemeyer, 143-154.

Carruthers, J.(1996).‘The Passé Surcomposé Général: on the Relationship between a Rare Tense and Discourse Organization’, Romance Philology, L (2), 183-200.

Carruthers, J.(1994).‘The Passé Surcomposé Régional: Towards a Definition of its Function in Contemporary Spoken French’, Journal of French Language Studies, 4:2, 171-190.

Carruthers, J. (1993).‘Passé Composé, Passé Surcomposé: Marqueurs de l’Antériorité en Français Parlé’, Actes du Xxe Congrès International de Linguistique et Philologie Romanes, I, 111-122.

Ayres-Bennett, W. and Carruthers, J. (1992).‘“Une Regrettable et Fort Disgracieuse Faute de Français”? The Description and Analysis of the French surcomposés from 1530 to the Present Day’, Transactions of the Philological Society, 90/2, 219-257.

Carruthers, J. (1992).‘Une Etude Sociolinguistique des Formes Surcomposées en Français Moderne’, Actas do XIX Congreso Internacional de Lingüística e Filoloxía Románicas, III, 145-162.


Research Students

Janice Carruthers currently supervises four research students. Jonny Thompson is working on the temporal structure of sports commentary; Colin Mills is working on information flow in French and Dagara narratives; Elizabeth Dowling is working on word creation in different registers and domains in contemproary French; and Helen Morrow (first supervisor: Paul Simpson) is analysing female discourse in English and French advertising.  



Janice Carruthers teaches undergraduate modules and filières on French Phonetics (part of FRH2001), Linguistic Variation in French (FRH2010), the Structure of Modern French (FRH3015) and Francophone Linguistics (part of FRH1003/4). She co-ordinates the MA in French and Linguistics on which she teaches elements of research methodology and a module entitled ‘The French Language. Structures and Analyses’ (FRH7007) which focuses on current developments in the morphosyntax and lexis of French.


She is a member of the Higher Education Academy.