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Standard Average European

From:Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets <christophe.grandsire@...>
Date:Tuesday, April 15, 2008, 19:33
Selon Tristan McLeay :
> >> French requires the pronoun, though. Remember the Grandsirian >> reanalysis... > > French is polysynthetic nowadays? >
Quickly delurking again... :) First I'd like to say it's nice not to be forgotten :) . Second, yes Tristan, *Spoken* French is a good example of a polysynthetic language (hidden by an out-of-date orthography as a synthetic language - although actually, I'd say French is really two languages, one spoken and one written, a bit like Classical and Vulgar Latin were very different, or like Standard Written Arabic vs. the various spoken Arabic languages/dialects, or katharevousa/dimothiki -). I don't have much time to explain my analysis in detail, but trust this good old native speaker who isn't brainwashed by the prescriptive grammatical establishment :) . If I find a moment, I'll be happy to substantiate my claim, but let's just summarise some quick points already: - Spoken French features verbal agreement with the three main participants of the sentence. - It features incorporation and suffixation of semantic items (like adjectives in the nominal phrase, and adverbs and nouns in the verbal phrase). - It features a rather free topic-comment-oriented word order. - Many of the so-called function words like articles and prepositions are best seen as prefixes. Those features are sometimes slightly disguised due to the strong prescriptive element of the French educational system in terms of French teaching, which forces elements of the written language into the spoken language, in the form of formality registers, with the more polite registers looking more like the written language (that includes the French language spoken on TV and in movies, which makes it in my ears often sound rather forced and unnatural), and the more familiar registers going more fully the polysynthetic way (this is not unlike the katharevousa/dimothiki duality Greek has suffered from). But Spoken French never goes as far as completely losing its polysynthetic form. OK, Gotta go now. If you want to know more I'll try and find some time to write a more complete post on this subject. -- Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets. You need a straight mind to invent a twisted conlang.


Lars Finsen <lars.finsen@...>Polysynthetic French (was: Standard Average European)
Tristan McLeay <conlang@...>