preposition stranding

Philippe Bourdin pbourdin at YORKU.CA
Tue Nov 10 22:48:59 UTC 1998

	As a belated follow-up to the interesting discussion about
preposition stranding in French and other Romance languages, may I add
that "V'la la fille qu'i sort avec" is indeed common in contemporary
colloquial Quebec French -- and probably more so than in colloquial
varieties spoken in France, although I suspect there's a fair amount of
regional variation.

	I would certainly not see it, however, as a calque of English
("Here's the girl he's going out with"). In his book FOUNDATIONS
OF FRENCH SYNTAX (Cambridge U.P., 1996, p. 517-518), M. A. Jones shows,
convincingly in my view, that the French construction is NOT an
instance of QU- movement, but should rather be analyzed as a variant of
"la fille qu'il sort avec elle", i.e. a common construction in colloquial
French involving the resumptive pronoun strategy. Jones concludes his
demonstration on an intriguing note:
	"... the only difference [is] that [in "la fille que je suis
	sorti avec"] the resumptive pronominal element is implicit,
	incorporated as it were in the preposition."

	One piece of evidence Jones adduces is directly relevant to the
debate between Paul Hopper and Mauro Tosco, i.e. the fact that 'a' and
'de' cannot be stranded:
	*l'homme que j'ai parle a
	*la chose que j'ai reve de
	(Jones's examples)
	to which I would add, inter alia,
	*la cabane que mon frere habite dans
	*l'employe qu'il a fait faire le travail par
It's certainly not fortuitous that 'a', 'de', 'dans' and 'par' are not
susceptible to the sort of adverbial behaviour illustrated by "Je suis
pour" or "On va devoir faire avec".

	Philippe Bourdin,
	Glendon College,
	York University,
	Toronto, Ontario

On Mon, 26 Oct 1998, Paul J Hopper wrote:

> Excerpts from mail: 26-Oct-98 Re: preposition stranding by Mauro
> Tosco at TN.VILLAGE.I
> >
> > French "avec" ("with") is rightly labelled in any French dictionary as a
> > preposition AND as an adverb (with the specification "colloquial" in my
> > dictionary); in French, "with" is possibly encroaching "together"; Italian
> > keeps the two strictly separated ("insieme" is much more used than its
> > French cognate), while in Piedmontese (geographically, too, between French
> > and Italian) "together" has almost completely taken the place of "with".
> >
> Is the dictionary to be our ultimate authority in how words are to be
> assigned to classes? If so, it would seem that the debate over the
> Somali examples is superfluous - we should instead simply consult a
> Somali dictionary, where words are presumably also rightly labeled for
> us.
> Presumably the dictionaries' designation "Preposition AND adverb" for
> words like avec is based precisely on their ability (in the colloquial
> language) to be stranded. If there is any different kind of evidence
> supporting the analysis of avec as an adverb, I would be very curious to
> know it, as in general I'd be interested to know why avec in the French
> example (les femmes qu'il a couche' avec) is an adverb while "with" in
> the corresponding English phrase (the women he has slept with) is a
> preposition.
> Paul

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