preposition stranding

Geoffrey S. Nathan geoffn at SIU.EDU
Mon Oct 26 15:04:47 UTC 1998

At 08:51 AM 10/26/98 -0500, Paul J Hopper wrote:
>Some examples of preposition stranding in Spoken French, taken from
>Henri Bauche, Le langage populaire: Grammaire, syntaxe, et dictionnaire
>du franc,ais tel qu'on le parle dans le peuple de Paris, avec tous les
>termes de l'argot usuel. Paris: Payot, 1928:
>je lui ai couru apres
>les femmes qu'il a couche' avec
>il lui a rentre dedans
>tu n'as pas travaille' pour
>- Paul
I just can't resist adding one I heard a few (five?) years ago in a
restaurant somewhere in Central France.  My wife asked the waiter:

Si je peux vous poser une question? (Could I ask you a question?)

To which he replied:

Je suis la pour.  (I'm here for)

Both of us being linguists we suppressed giggles and wrote it down at our
earliest opportunity.

Further to discussion of WH questions lacking WH words, I note the spread
of the same phenomenon in English, usually with sarcastic intent:

And this should make me feel...?  (sense:  I just can't get excited about
this, Do you think I should?)


Geoffrey S. Nathan
Department of Linguistics
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale,
Carbondale, IL, 62901 USA
Phone:  +618 453-3421 (Office)   FAX +618 453-6527
+618 549-0106 (Home)

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