Preposition stranding?

Stephen Matthews matthews at HKUCC.HKU.HK
Wed Nov 11 06:05:17 UTC 1998

Re Philippe Bourdin's discussion:

>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.

It has been plausibly suggested that the frequency and perhaps productivity
of the 'avec' construction is increased in Quebec French through
interlingual identification with the English construction, though this does
not entail that
the same analysis is applicable, or that calquing on English is the source
of the 'avec' construction.

>	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."

Is it not the case that 'avec' can be "stranded" outside QU-movement
constructions? In some French varieties we can have:

Qu'est-ce que tu veux faire avec?
"what do you want to do with [it]?"

Although this is a wh-question, the wh-phrase does not correspond
to the missing object of 'avec'. Nor would I be surprised to hear e.g.

Tu vas sortir avec?

Any judgements?

Steve Matthews
U of Hong Kong

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