Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Philip Comeau (York University) speaks at MUSL Brown Bag Talk

Philip Comeau (York University) will be giving a brown bag talk on Wednesday, July 22 at 1:00 pm (SN-3060). His paper is on the distribution of interrogative particles *–ti / –tu* in Canadian French. The abstract follows. Questions in both French and English are encouraged.

Previous accounts of interrogative particles in Quebec French differ not only in terms of the analyses, but also with respect to the distribution of these particles across the person paradigm (e.g., Picard (1992) claims they do not occur with second person subjects while Maury (1990) and Vecchiato (2000) report that they do). Subject-verb inversion, another variant for total interrogation, is reported to occur only with second person subjects (e.g., Auger 1994) or not at all (e.g., Vinet 2000). This paper presents an analysis of the spread of –*ti* across the person paradigm in one variety of Acadian French (Baie Sainte-Marie, Nova Scotia). Following a brief outline of the historical development of –*ti*/–*tu* in French, I present data from a number of varieties of Canadian French (both Acadian and Quebec) while considering a number of structural differences which may account for cross-dialectal differences.

Il existe en français populaire deux particules postverbales (–*ti* et –*tu*) qui marquent l’interrogation totale. Cependant, certains chercheurs ne sont pas d’accord sur la distribution de cette particule (p. ex. Picard (1992) soutient que –*tu* ne se trouve pas à la deuxième personne tandis que Maury (1990) et Vecchiato (2000) confirment la présence de –*tu* à la deuxième personne). Auger (1994) conclut que l’inversion du sujet et du verbe, une autre variante qui sert à marquer l’interrogation, se trouve uniquement à la deuxième personne alors que Vinet (2000) conclut que l’inversion n’existe plus comme option en français québécois. Suivant une analyse s'agissant de la répartition de la particule à travers du paradigme de personne dans le français acadien de la Baie Sainte-Marie (Nouvelle-Écosse), j’examine quelques différences dans les grammaires des variétés du français canadien, ce qui expliquerait les différences entre l'utilisation de la particule dans ces variétés.

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