Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
2Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
“In the spoken idiom the so-called unmarked order hardly ever occurs.” (POSNER) Discuss this statement about SVO word order. Include in your answer an explanation of the term ‘unmarked’, a discussion of the issues around orders that might be possible in contemporary French and the implications of Posner’s statement for the analysis of word order evolution.”

“In the spoken idiom the so-called unmarked order hardly ever occurs.” (POSNER) Discuss this statement about SVO word order. Include in your answer an explanation of the term ‘unmarked’, a discussion of the issues around orders that might be possible in contemporary French and the implications of Posner’s statement for the analysis of word order evolution.”

Ratings: (0)|Views: 21 |Likes:
An essay for the 2011 Undergraduate Awards (Ireland) Competition by Leanne Trainor. Originally submitted for BA Joint Honours French and German at Queen University Belfast, with lecturer Dr. Janice Carruthers in the category of Languages & Linguistics
An essay for the 2011 Undergraduate Awards (Ireland) Competition by Leanne Trainor. Originally submitted for BA Joint Honours French and German at Queen University Belfast, with lecturer Dr. Janice Carruthers in the category of Languages & Linguistics

More info:

Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 31, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
See more
See less

05/13/2014

 
French Studies Optional Module: The structure of Modern French
“In the spoken idiom the so-called unmarked order hardly ever occurs.”(POSNER) Discuss this statement about SVO word order. Include in youranswer an explanation of the term ‘unmarked’, a discussion of theissues around orders that might be possible in contemporary Frenchand the implications of Posner’s statement for the analysis of wordorder evolution.”
Posner broaches a heavily discussed issue in the field of French linguistics byclaiming that the ‘so-called unmarked order’ seldom occurs in the spoken idiom.If this is indeed the case, there will undeniably be implications for the future of the French language. However, before discussing Posner’s statement concerningword order, its validity and what effects it could have on word order evolution, itis necessary to define what is meant by the term ‘
unmarked
.’ According toHarris (1978:5), unmarked word order is ‘when no special effect of emphasis oranaphora is sought by the language user.’ In other words, it isn’t pragmaticallymarked and has no connotations of being associated with a particular register orspeaker. Regarding French, this unmarked order is generally accepted to beSVO, for example:1) Il adore des bonbonsMoreau’s survey on spoken French (1987 as quoted by Ayres-Bennett andCarruthers 2001:255) proves this order to be the
statistical
norm in the spokenmedium because in sentences where the elements S, V and O are present, theorder SVO is found in 70% of the cases. This ‘unmarked’ statistical norm of SVO in the French spoken idiom hasestablished itself in the language through time. French, like other romancelanguages, comes from Vulgar Latin. Whilst Classical Latin was ‘a highly polishedliterary language’ (Price 1971: 2), Vulgar Latin was the language spoken by thepeople. VL, unlike Modern French, had the remains of a case system whichenabled the use of structures such as OV which are now impossible. Even in OldFrench this OV construction was still feasible because there were still the obliqueand nominative cases. However Modern French has now evolved as a languagewhich has distinct ‘predictable’ features, one of which is a relatively fixed wordorder. So what stage is ModFr currently at in this typological evolution? Harrisargues that ‘French, having reached an almost ‘ideal’ SVO stage is nowAnonymous Code: 48787FRH3015
 
proceeding further along the cycle towards being a verb-initial language.’(1978:7) After analysis of the various ‘marked’ orders in French, this controversialargument and the implications of these other structures will be addressed.
Object Pronouns
In modern French, there is a well known, accepted exception to this statisticalnorm of SVO word order through the positioning of direct and indirect objectpronouns, for example, je le lui dis, where the word order is SO
p
V. Harrissuggests that perhaps because subject pronouns are compulsory and preverbal,that is why all unstressed pronouns also precede the verb with which they areassociated (1978:22). This grammatically fixed structure has been observed as ageneral pattern among Romance languages (Ayres-Bennett and Carruthers2001:256). Thus because it is grammatically required that pronouns are to bepositioned before the verb, this is an
unmarked
order which frequently occurs inthe language, which is not the statistical norm ‘SVO’.
Inversion
In Old French, Ayres-Bennett tells us that normally ‘if the first word of a clausewas not the subject, the subject and verb would be inverted.’ (1996:93) Thereare remnants of this inversion which still exist in Modern French regarding agroup of adverbs which
grammatically
require inversion, e.g. ainsi, sans douteetc.1)
À peine
fut-il à l’auberge, que Bournisien demanda où était la femme dumédecin d’Yonville. (Flaubert)In the spoken medium these structures are extremely formal and are generallyavoided in spontaneous discourse. They are primarily
stylistically marked pre-planned
structures in the written medium. Inversion can also be used as forvarious expressive purposes such as emphasis, irony, personification, a‘delaying’ effect etc. (Clifford 1972: 434) One way of using inversion in a stylisticmanner is by putting adjectives or adverbs at the start of the sentence to create
emphasis
:Anonymous Code: 48787FRH3015
 
2)
Heureux
est l’écrivain qui peut faire un beau petit livre. (Joubert quotedby Price 1971 :261)3)
Soudain
apparaissent trois jeunes filles. (Clifford 1972:437)In (2) the author is accentuating the happiness of the writer, however adjectivesor adverbs can also be pragmatically used to put emphasis on other aspectssuch as time (as shown in example 3), location and also for
topicalization
,which we see below. In (4) there is a verb at the start of the clause where “thesubject is the important element and the rest of the clause leads up to it.” (Price1971:262)4)
Suivit
une âpre discussion en russe, à laquelle je ne pouvais prendreaucune part (Duhamel as quoted by Price 1971 :262)5)
Allaient
à la soirée tous les étudiantes de français.Whereas in example (5) “the subject has to be a noun and normally one which is‘programmed’ by the predicate, that is, predictable from it.” (Ayres-Bennett andCarruthers 2001:265) “Allaient à la soirée” is the topic whereas “tous lesétudiantes de français” is the focus. This again shows a inversion being exploitedfor the purposes of topicalization.So with regards to the ‘unmarked’ SVO word order, it is clear that ‘inversionconstitutes an example of 
flexibility
in contemporary French’ (Ayres-Bennettand Carruthers 2001:266) and can be used, particularly by writers, to createeffect. Clifford argues however that this use of inversion to created markedstructures is increasing, particularly in journalism and non-fictional writing.(1973: 437) She even goes as far as to say that inversion is ‘frequently to beheard in everyday speech of both a colloquial and a more elevated nature’(1973:437). Nonetheless it is widely accepted that especially in the oral mediumin ModFr, there is a tendency to push away from this ‘marked’ order.A clear cut example of this tendency to avoid inversion is shown in the
interrogative
. The inverted question form developed around the same timethat SVO structures were emerging, as a method of distinguishing interrogativesfrom declaratives. Thus the
unmarked, grammaticalized
order for questionswas
VSO
.6)Veux-tu aller au théâtre?Anonymous Code: 48787FRH3015

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->