Preposition stranding?

Philippe Bourdin pbourdin at YORKU.CA
Thu Nov 12 10:38:22 UTC 1998

	I agree with you that even though calque is not a plausible
explanation here, "interlingual identification" is a possibility. I'm not
aware of any work that's been done on this specific topic, although I
suspect it has been tackled by specialists of Quebec French syntax or

	"Tu vas sortir avec?" is fine, but off the cuff I would interpret
the "missing" object of the preposition as referring to an inanimate
entity -- maybe a piece of clothing that the speaker thinks is
inappropriate or strange. I have some difficulty imagining a situation
where, for instance, the speaker is astonished at the addressee's choice
of a romantic partner. But then again, this is very much an initial, "gut
feeling" kind of reaction. (My own dialect is, roughly speaking, Parisian

On Wed, 11 Nov 1998, Stephen Matthews wrote:

> 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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