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Predicational and (quasi-)specificational constructions with fronted adjectival predicates in French

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

This paper deals with fronting of predicative adjectives (e.g., Big was his surprise) in French. From the present-day usage emerge two main constructions, both with their own surface forms and syntactic, semantic and information-structural properties. The first one, CxA, is a quasi-specificational copular construction, with narrow focus on the post-copular subject. The second one is a predicational copular construction, though with inverted word order, yielding sentence focus, hence thetic constructions. In the second part of the paper, we define the lexical profile (and the semantics) of both constructions by means of a collostructional analysis, and their productivity. CxA is more productive and seems to become even more productive in the newspaper corpus, while CxB exhibits symptoms of lexicalization.
Journal: Transactions of the Philological Society
ISSN: 0079-1636
Issue: 3
Volume: 118
Pages: 468 - 499
Publication year:2020