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Grammatical Variation across Space and Time : The French interrogative system.

By: Publisher: Amsterdam : John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2009Copyright date: ©2009Description: 1 online resource (299 pages)Content type:
  • text
Media type:
  • computer
Carrier type:
  • online resource
ISBN:
  • 9789027290373
Subject(s): Genre/Form: Additional physical formats: Print version:: Grammatical Variation across Space and Time : The French interrogative systemDDC classification:
  • 445
LOC classification:
  • PC2395 -- .E47 2009eb
Online resources:
Contents:
Grammatical Variation across Space and Time -- Editorial page -- Title page -- LCC data -- Table of contents -- List of figures -- List of tables -- Acknowledgments -- Introduction -- Overview of the literature -- 2.1 Descriptive and corpus-based analyses of French interrogatives -- 2.1.1 Pronominal inversion -- 2.1.1.1 Linguistic Factors. Subject identity: The identity of the inverted subject has been claimed to influence variable choice. Terry (1970: 90) states that the "[…] first person shows a relatively equal preference for inversion and est-ce que." According to Behnstedt (1973: 152, in regard to radio speech), first person (singular and plural) subject pronouns have neither a favoring nor a disfavoring influence on the choice of Pronominal inversion. Coveney (2002), on the other hand, claims that -- 2.1.1.2 Stylistic Factors. It is widely accepted that subject-verb inversion is favored by a formal, careful, or literary style of conversation (Behnstedt 1973: 75, 124, de Boer 1926: 315, Coveney 2002: 98, Pohl 1965: 512, Söll 1971: 499). Behnstedt (1973: 31) states that it preferentially appears in the parlure bourgeoise when the question is emphatic. According to Fontaney (1991: 113) and Terry (1970: 107), Complex inversion is indicative of a formal, polite, literary, and even archaic style. -- 2.1.1.3 Social Factors. As for the social factors, Ashby (1977: 51) found that Pronominal inversion is preferentially used by old speakers over 50 years of age and by young speakers under 30 years of age, by male informants, and by administrators and professionals (as opposed to teachers and students). However, his results are hardly representative since they are based on no more than twelve tokens of inversion. Behnstedt (1973: 75, 124) states that the use of Pronominal inversion is particularl -- 2.1.2 Intonation questions.
2.1.2.1 Linguistic Factors. Among the linguistic factors which allegedly favor intonation questions are all subject pronouns and ça (cf. Barbarie 1982: 161, Terry 1970: 90, as for radio speech cf. Behnstedt 1973: 131, 141, 145), a dislocated nominal subject (cf. Söll 1971: 497,504, Terry 1970: 100), the verbs aller, être, and dire (cf. Terry 1970: 92), periphrastic tenses, the future and the present perfect (cf. Terry 1970: 87-89), negation (cf. Söll 1971: 498, Terry 1970: 92), and interrogative -- 2.1.2.2 Stylistic Factors. According to Coveney (2002: 234), the intonation variant has a lower socio-stylistic status than other interrogative variants. It is the favored variant in a colloquial or familiar speech style (Coveney 2002: 98, Pohl 1965: 512). In Ashby's data (1977: 40), intonation questions are more often chosen in the first part of the interview than in the second part. Many communicative functions have been attributed to intonation questions, in particular by Coveney (2002). They -- 2.1.2.3 Social Factors. Behnstedt (1973: 118) states that intonation questions represent a colloquial interrogative form which is therefore more likely to be used in conversations with children. According to Coveney (2002: 234), the intonation variant is preferentially used by young and male speakers from the intermediate social class. -- 2.1.3 -tu questions -- 2.1.3.1 Linguistic Factors. Little has been said in the literature about the use and the conditioning of -tu questions (-ti questions in European French). Behnstedt (1973: 27-28, 31) states that this variant is favored by the subject pronouns ils and elles, as well as by ce in the lexically fixed expression c'est-ti. Furthermore, he states that it is a feature of emphasis or markedness. Barbarie (1982: 162) found a favoring effect exerted by subject nouns. The particle is less likely to occur wi.
2.1.3.2 Stylistic Factors. Both Behnstedt (1973: 26) and Coveney (2002: 98) claim that -tu questions are a feature of speech produced by rural, working-class and uneducated speakers. Pohl (1965: 505) says that it sometimes occurs in jokes. -- 2.1.4 Est-ce que questions -- 2.1.4.1 Linguistic Factors. According to a number of authors, subject pronouns favor est-ce que questions (Fontaney 1991: 139, Terry 1970: 90). Ashby (1977: 39) found that nouns disfavor this variant. In contrast to these authors, Behnstedt (1973: 144-145) observes that est-ce que is favored by the subjects ça, cela, and by subject nouns but disfavored by pronominal subjects. If the first person subject pronoun je co-occurs with an er conjugated verb in the present tense, est-ce que questions ar -- 2.1.4.2 Stylistic Factors. The authors disagree considerably when it comes to the style which is most suitable for the use of est-ce que: According to Terry (1970: 102), est-ce que indicates a literary style. Coveney (2002: 98) qualifies it as neutral (cf. also Behnstedt 1973: 104) although inelegant in writing. He attributes a higher socio-stylistic status to est-ce que than to intonation questions (Coveney 2002: 98). Vigner (1978: 88) states that est-ce que questions may be used to express pol -- 2.1.4.3 Social Factors. According to Coveney (2002: 234), the speakers who preferentially use est-ce que questions are women, rather old speakers, and speakers from the upper social class. Barbarie (1982: 154), who analyzed Quebec French, specifies retailers, teachers, and senior executives as the occupational classes who prefer the use of this variant. -- 2.2 Grammatical treatment of the variants -- Data and methods -- 3.1 Methodological fundamentals of variation theory -- 3.2 The data sources -- 3.3 Circumscription of the variable context -- 3.3.1 Yes/no questions.
3.3.1.1 The OH corpus. The OH corpus provided 1,804 polar interrogative tokens from which 1,172 had to be excluded. 632 yes/no questions were thus left for the final analysis. Among the excluded questions were 88 negated interrogatives out of which 90.9 % (N=80) were intonation questions and the remaining 8 tokens were -tu questions (cf. (29) and (30)). -- 3.3.1.2 The RFQ corpus. From the language data provided by the 40 speakers of the RFQ corpus, 1,220 yes/no interrogative tokens were extracted. 674 interrogative sentences, more than half of the tokens, had to be excluded so that 546 tokens of yes/no questions were left for the final analysis. -- 3.3.1.3 Fifteenth to seventeenth century French. When extracting the interrogative tokens from the fifteenth to seventeenth century literature and plays, I applied the same criteria as in the OH and the RFQ corpus with regard to the question as to which tokens form part of the variable context and which tokens do not. 1,275 tokens qualified for the statistical and linguistic analysis. It is important to mention that the variable context of the fifteenth to seventeenth century French literature a -- 3.3.2 Wh-questions -- 3.4 Establishing the independent variables (factor groups) -- 3.4.1 Subject identity -- 3.4.2 Verb identity -- 3.4.3 Verb frequency -- 3.4.4 Tense and mood of the verb -- 3.4.5 Grammatical class of the verb -- 3.4.6 Cognitive verbs -- 3.4.7 Verb syllables -- 3.4.8 Parallel processing -- 3.4.9 Style -- 3.4.10 Localization of the token -- 3.4.11 Social factor groups -- Results -- 4.1 Yes/no questions -- 4.1.1 The OH corpus -- 4.1.2 The RFQ corpus -- 4.1.3 Fifteenth to seventeenth century literature and plays -- 4.2 Wh-questions -- 4.2.1 Wh-questions in the RFQ and OH data -- 4.2.2 Late Middle French data -- Interpretation and discussion of the results.
5.1 The interrogative syntax in twentieth and nineteenth century Quebec French -- 5.1.1 Pronominal inversion: the status of the (inverted) subject pronoun -- 5.1.1.1 Pronominal inversion: previous analyses: In this section, I briefly recapitulate some of the generative literature which has considered Pronominal inversion more closely, before providing my own account in the remainder of this section. -- 5.1.1.2 Examining Pronominal inversion in the Quebec French data. In Chapter 4., it was shown that one-third of all (non-negated) yes/no questions in the Ottawa-Hull French corpus (Vieux-Hull and Mont-Bleu) are interrogatives making use of Pronominal inversion (32.44%, N=205/632). However, there are several unmistakable signs that this type of inversion cannot be interpreted as a syntactic mechanism whereby the verb and the pronoun represent two independent items, the former undergoing head-move -- 5.1.2 -tu questions: their relatedness to Pronominal inversion -- 5.1.3 /tsy/ and /vu/: a unified account of postverbal subject pronouns and question markers -- 5.1.4 Intonation questions -- 5.1.5 Est-ce que questions -- 5.1.6 The TP as the locus for checking the interrogative feature -- 5.1.7 Preverbal subject DPs: evidence for multiple TP-specifiers -- 5.1.8 The interrogative system of contemporary Quebec French -- 5.2 The interrogative syntax in fifteenth to seventeenth century French -- 5.2.1 Interrogatives in Middle French: replacement of VS with SV variants -- 5.2.2 Pronominal inversion in fifteenth to seventeenth century French -- 5.2.3 Complex inversion: previous analyses -- 5.2.4 A unified account of Complex inversion and of -tu questions -- 5.2.5 Middle French: loss of verb-to-C° movement -- 5.2.6 The grammaticalization of est-ce que -- 5.2.7 The interrogative system of late Middle French -- 5.2.8 SpecCP - SpecTP: An A'-chain.
5.2.9 Free and Stylistic inversion in fifteenth to seventeenth century French.
Summary: Interrogative clauses in French show abundant variation, especially with regard to the position of the subject vis-à-vis the finite verb, the placement of the wh-word, and the use of question markers such as est-ce que and ti/tu. This book presents a comprehensive study of the evolution and use of French interrogative constructions across a time span of approximately five hundred years by drawing on written sources (15th to 17th century) and oral data (19th and 20th century). Special attention is paid to the regional variation between European French and Quebec French. A variationist analysis reveals the relevant sociolinguistic factors conditioning variant choice. On the basis of the results obtained, the syntax of the different variants is modeled within the framework of generative grammar. In particular, the progressive diachronic decline and restriction of subject-verb inversion is argued to mirror the loss of verb movement. This book is of interest to anyone concerned with syntactic variation and change.
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Grammatical Variation across Space and Time -- Editorial page -- Title page -- LCC data -- Table of contents -- List of figures -- List of tables -- Acknowledgments -- Introduction -- Overview of the literature -- 2.1 Descriptive and corpus-based analyses of French interrogatives -- 2.1.1 Pronominal inversion -- 2.1.1.1 Linguistic Factors. Subject identity: The identity of the inverted subject has been claimed to influence variable choice. Terry (1970: 90) states that the "[…] first person shows a relatively equal preference for inversion and est-ce que." According to Behnstedt (1973: 152, in regard to radio speech), first person (singular and plural) subject pronouns have neither a favoring nor a disfavoring influence on the choice of Pronominal inversion. Coveney (2002), on the other hand, claims that -- 2.1.1.2 Stylistic Factors. It is widely accepted that subject-verb inversion is favored by a formal, careful, or literary style of conversation (Behnstedt 1973: 75, 124, de Boer 1926: 315, Coveney 2002: 98, Pohl 1965: 512, Söll 1971: 499). Behnstedt (1973: 31) states that it preferentially appears in the parlure bourgeoise when the question is emphatic. According to Fontaney (1991: 113) and Terry (1970: 107), Complex inversion is indicative of a formal, polite, literary, and even archaic style. -- 2.1.1.3 Social Factors. As for the social factors, Ashby (1977: 51) found that Pronominal inversion is preferentially used by old speakers over 50 years of age and by young speakers under 30 years of age, by male informants, and by administrators and professionals (as opposed to teachers and students). However, his results are hardly representative since they are based on no more than twelve tokens of inversion. Behnstedt (1973: 75, 124) states that the use of Pronominal inversion is particularl -- 2.1.2 Intonation questions.

2.1.2.1 Linguistic Factors. Among the linguistic factors which allegedly favor intonation questions are all subject pronouns and ça (cf. Barbarie 1982: 161, Terry 1970: 90, as for radio speech cf. Behnstedt 1973: 131, 141, 145), a dislocated nominal subject (cf. Söll 1971: 497,504, Terry 1970: 100), the verbs aller, être, and dire (cf. Terry 1970: 92), periphrastic tenses, the future and the present perfect (cf. Terry 1970: 87-89), negation (cf. Söll 1971: 498, Terry 1970: 92), and interrogative -- 2.1.2.2 Stylistic Factors. According to Coveney (2002: 234), the intonation variant has a lower socio-stylistic status than other interrogative variants. It is the favored variant in a colloquial or familiar speech style (Coveney 2002: 98, Pohl 1965: 512). In Ashby's data (1977: 40), intonation questions are more often chosen in the first part of the interview than in the second part. Many communicative functions have been attributed to intonation questions, in particular by Coveney (2002). They -- 2.1.2.3 Social Factors. Behnstedt (1973: 118) states that intonation questions represent a colloquial interrogative form which is therefore more likely to be used in conversations with children. According to Coveney (2002: 234), the intonation variant is preferentially used by young and male speakers from the intermediate social class. -- 2.1.3 -tu questions -- 2.1.3.1 Linguistic Factors. Little has been said in the literature about the use and the conditioning of -tu questions (-ti questions in European French). Behnstedt (1973: 27-28, 31) states that this variant is favored by the subject pronouns ils and elles, as well as by ce in the lexically fixed expression c'est-ti. Furthermore, he states that it is a feature of emphasis or markedness. Barbarie (1982: 162) found a favoring effect exerted by subject nouns. The particle is less likely to occur wi.

2.1.3.2 Stylistic Factors. Both Behnstedt (1973: 26) and Coveney (2002: 98) claim that -tu questions are a feature of speech produced by rural, working-class and uneducated speakers. Pohl (1965: 505) says that it sometimes occurs in jokes. -- 2.1.4 Est-ce que questions -- 2.1.4.1 Linguistic Factors. According to a number of authors, subject pronouns favor est-ce que questions (Fontaney 1991: 139, Terry 1970: 90). Ashby (1977: 39) found that nouns disfavor this variant. In contrast to these authors, Behnstedt (1973: 144-145) observes that est-ce que is favored by the subjects ça, cela, and by subject nouns but disfavored by pronominal subjects. If the first person subject pronoun je co-occurs with an er conjugated verb in the present tense, est-ce que questions ar -- 2.1.4.2 Stylistic Factors. The authors disagree considerably when it comes to the style which is most suitable for the use of est-ce que: According to Terry (1970: 102), est-ce que indicates a literary style. Coveney (2002: 98) qualifies it as neutral (cf. also Behnstedt 1973: 104) although inelegant in writing. He attributes a higher socio-stylistic status to est-ce que than to intonation questions (Coveney 2002: 98). Vigner (1978: 88) states that est-ce que questions may be used to express pol -- 2.1.4.3 Social Factors. According to Coveney (2002: 234), the speakers who preferentially use est-ce que questions are women, rather old speakers, and speakers from the upper social class. Barbarie (1982: 154), who analyzed Quebec French, specifies retailers, teachers, and senior executives as the occupational classes who prefer the use of this variant. -- 2.2 Grammatical treatment of the variants -- Data and methods -- 3.1 Methodological fundamentals of variation theory -- 3.2 The data sources -- 3.3 Circumscription of the variable context -- 3.3.1 Yes/no questions.

3.3.1.1 The OH corpus. The OH corpus provided 1,804 polar interrogative tokens from which 1,172 had to be excluded. 632 yes/no questions were thus left for the final analysis. Among the excluded questions were 88 negated interrogatives out of which 90.9 % (N=80) were intonation questions and the remaining 8 tokens were -tu questions (cf. (29) and (30)). -- 3.3.1.2 The RFQ corpus. From the language data provided by the 40 speakers of the RFQ corpus, 1,220 yes/no interrogative tokens were extracted. 674 interrogative sentences, more than half of the tokens, had to be excluded so that 546 tokens of yes/no questions were left for the final analysis. -- 3.3.1.3 Fifteenth to seventeenth century French. When extracting the interrogative tokens from the fifteenth to seventeenth century literature and plays, I applied the same criteria as in the OH and the RFQ corpus with regard to the question as to which tokens form part of the variable context and which tokens do not. 1,275 tokens qualified for the statistical and linguistic analysis. It is important to mention that the variable context of the fifteenth to seventeenth century French literature a -- 3.3.2 Wh-questions -- 3.4 Establishing the independent variables (factor groups) -- 3.4.1 Subject identity -- 3.4.2 Verb identity -- 3.4.3 Verb frequency -- 3.4.4 Tense and mood of the verb -- 3.4.5 Grammatical class of the verb -- 3.4.6 Cognitive verbs -- 3.4.7 Verb syllables -- 3.4.8 Parallel processing -- 3.4.9 Style -- 3.4.10 Localization of the token -- 3.4.11 Social factor groups -- Results -- 4.1 Yes/no questions -- 4.1.1 The OH corpus -- 4.1.2 The RFQ corpus -- 4.1.3 Fifteenth to seventeenth century literature and plays -- 4.2 Wh-questions -- 4.2.1 Wh-questions in the RFQ and OH data -- 4.2.2 Late Middle French data -- Interpretation and discussion of the results.

5.1 The interrogative syntax in twentieth and nineteenth century Quebec French -- 5.1.1 Pronominal inversion: the status of the (inverted) subject pronoun -- 5.1.1.1 Pronominal inversion: previous analyses: In this section, I briefly recapitulate some of the generative literature which has considered Pronominal inversion more closely, before providing my own account in the remainder of this section. -- 5.1.1.2 Examining Pronominal inversion in the Quebec French data. In Chapter 4., it was shown that one-third of all (non-negated) yes/no questions in the Ottawa-Hull French corpus (Vieux-Hull and Mont-Bleu) are interrogatives making use of Pronominal inversion (32.44%, N=205/632). However, there are several unmistakable signs that this type of inversion cannot be interpreted as a syntactic mechanism whereby the verb and the pronoun represent two independent items, the former undergoing head-move -- 5.1.2 -tu questions: their relatedness to Pronominal inversion -- 5.1.3 /tsy/ and /vu/: a unified account of postverbal subject pronouns and question markers -- 5.1.4 Intonation questions -- 5.1.5 Est-ce que questions -- 5.1.6 The TP as the locus for checking the interrogative feature -- 5.1.7 Preverbal subject DPs: evidence for multiple TP-specifiers -- 5.1.8 The interrogative system of contemporary Quebec French -- 5.2 The interrogative syntax in fifteenth to seventeenth century French -- 5.2.1 Interrogatives in Middle French: replacement of VS with SV variants -- 5.2.2 Pronominal inversion in fifteenth to seventeenth century French -- 5.2.3 Complex inversion: previous analyses -- 5.2.4 A unified account of Complex inversion and of -tu questions -- 5.2.5 Middle French: loss of verb-to-C° movement -- 5.2.6 The grammaticalization of est-ce que -- 5.2.7 The interrogative system of late Middle French -- 5.2.8 SpecCP - SpecTP: An A'-chain.

5.2.9 Free and Stylistic inversion in fifteenth to seventeenth century French.

Interrogative clauses in French show abundant variation, especially with regard to the position of the subject vis-à-vis the finite verb, the placement of the wh-word, and the use of question markers such as est-ce que and ti/tu. This book presents a comprehensive study of the evolution and use of French interrogative constructions across a time span of approximately five hundred years by drawing on written sources (15th to 17th century) and oral data (19th and 20th century). Special attention is paid to the regional variation between European French and Quebec French. A variationist analysis reveals the relevant sociolinguistic factors conditioning variant choice. On the basis of the results obtained, the syntax of the different variants is modeled within the framework of generative grammar. In particular, the progressive diachronic decline and restriction of subject-verb inversion is argued to mirror the loss of verb movement. This book is of interest to anyone concerned with syntactic variation and change.

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Electronic reproduction. Ann Arbor, Michigan : ProQuest Ebook Central, 2019. Available via World Wide Web. Access may be limited to ProQuest Ebook Central affiliated libraries.

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