The starting point of this article is that sociolinguistics and in fact any social science should acknowledge that there are different ways of constructing knowledge regarding human behaviour in society and that each of the main trend of scholarship is underpinned by basic philosophical principles. These principles are nested within paradigms that contain the researcher’s epistemological, ontological, ethical and methodological premises. Not questioning the paradigmatic choice implies that there is only one paradigm, one approach to interpret social behaviour. In order to support my argument, I have compared the research which has been carried out on what is termed as regional French and World Englishes. This comparative study has led me to two main findings. First, the tools of conceptualisation that have been provided by the dominant trends of sociolinguistics determine how the objects of studies are constituted as well as the way they are interpreted by scholars. The second one concerns the emergence of a marginal trend of research based on alternative epistemological and ontological foundations. The interpretation of several key aspects of regional French is renewed because of the different epistemological perspectives adopted by the researchers who have opted for a different research paradigm.