Home > Catalogue > Annali di Ca’ Foscari. Serie occidentale > 57 | 2023 > An Accessibility hierarchy pattern for Resumptive pronouns in spoken French

An Accessibility hierarchy pattern for Resumptive pronouns in spoken French

Peijia Su    Université Paris Cité, France

Caterina Donati    Laboratoire Linguistique Formelle, Université Paris citée    



On the basis of the results of a corpus study on Colloquial French, which show that the distribution of resumptive pronouns globally matches the Accessibility Hierarchy (Keenan, Comrie 1977), we argue that resumptive pronouns in French relative clauses are not intrusive and that resumptive and gapped relatives involve different syntactic derivations belonging to different registers. We explain the lack of the highest subject restriction in Colloquial French, in contrast with (other) languages displaying regular resumptive relatives, by the special nature of French subject clitics as agreement markers (Culbertson 2010). This conclusion and the distribution of subject clitics we found in the corpus reinforces the analysis of the relative complementizer qui as a grammaticalized form of que+obligatory resumption il (Rooryck 2000; Rizzi, Shlonsky 2007).

Oct. 30, 2023
June 11, 2023
April 13, 2023

Keywords: Resumptive pronounsSpoken FrenchCorpusAccessibility hierarchyRelative clauses

Copyright: © 2023 Peijia Su, Caterina Donati. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.