[PLing] Th. 21.5., 16:45 Guest talk by Heather Burnett

Jakob Steixner jakob.steixner at univie.ac.at
Mon May 18 10:13:19 CEST 2015

Dear network members,

the Department of German Studies is pleased to invite you to a guest talk on

  *The Syntax of Negation in the Romance Languages of France: Data from the
SyMiLa project*

  Heather Burnett (Université de Toulouse 2-Jean Jaurès)

The talk will take place this Thursday, May 21, at 16:45 in the Übungsraum
3 Germanistik Hauptgebäude, 2.Stock, Stiege 5

Please see the abstract below.

Best regards,
Jakob Steixner


This presentation show some preliminary results exploring the patterns of
syntactic microvariation found in the endangered Gallo-Romance languages
spoken on French soil. This research is undertaken in the context of the
"Syntactic Microvariation in the Romance Languages of France" (SyMiLa)
project (funded by the Agence nationale de la recherche).

The empirical focus of the presentation is on the syntax of sentential
negation in North Eastern France. Although sentential negation in spoken
French (the dialect originating in the Parisian region) is relatively
simple, consisting in the optional use of the preverbal particle "ne" and
the postverbal negator "pas" (1), previous (albeit limited) dialectological
studies (such as Brunot & Bruneau (1912)) have suggested that the dialects
spoken in the North East display a much more complicated system involving
optionality in the presence of a secondary negation (2) and up to three
different secondary negation markers (3).

(1) Je (ne) t'ai *pas* vu.  `I did not see you.'

(2) Je *ne* m'en rappelle. `I don't remember.' (from Brunot & Bruneau 1912)

(3) a. Je ne t'ai *pas* vu.

b. Tu n'es *mie* changée.  `You haven't changed.'

c. Je n'ai *pont *de mémoire. `I don't have any memory.'   All from Brunot
& Bruneau (1912)

Given their complexity, the negative systems of the northern Gallo-Romance
dialects are clearly of great interest to theoretical syntacticians and
semanticists interested in the grammatical mechanisms underlying the
expression and interpretation of negation in the world's languages.
Unfortunately, these dialects are both understudied and highly endangered;
therefore, access to native speakers is extremely limited and usable oral
corpora are non-existent.

In response to these methodological challenges, this presentation proposes
to study the negative patterns of North Eastern Gallo-Romance dialects
using the ``Atlas linguistique de la France" dialect atlas (ALF: Edmont &
Gilliéron 1902-1910). Although the ALF has been heavily used for studies of
phonological, morphological and lexical variation (and has even been
considered to the `benchmark' for dialectological studies in Europe
(Anderwald & Szmrecsanyi 2009)), (as far as we know) this atlas has formed
the basis for no serious studies of syntactic variation. It therefore
constitutes an important untapped resource for the study of syntactic
microvariation in the endangered Gallo-Romance dialects.

After discussing the challenges associated with using a dialect atlas for
theoretical syntax/semantics (and how they can be addressed), I present a
study of the 2989 dialect productions encoded in the maps associated with
22 negative stimuli for 150 points of the ALF. Based on this dataset, I
identify a series of areal properties that characterize the syntax of
negation in North Eastern France. I then present a detailed study of the
fine-grained syntactic patterns of sentential negation in the dialect
spoken in the Lorraine region, and I argue that the syntax of sentential
negation in Lorrain shows clear similarities to the syntax negation in
certain Italian dialects (see Zanuttini 1997, Cinque 1999, among others). I
give a formal analysis of the structure of sentential negation in Lorrain
and discuss the consequences of this analysis for the syntax of negation in
the Parisian dialect, as well as for negation in dialects of French spoken
around the world.


Anderwald, L. & B. Szmrecsanyi. (2009).  "Corpus linguistics and
dialectology". In: Lüdeling, Anke & Merja Kytö (eds), Corpus Linguistics.
An International Handbook. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 1126-1139.

Brunot, F. and Bruneau, C. (1912). Archives de la parole : enquête dans les
Ardennes. Bibliothèque nationale de France, Gallica.

Cinque, G. (1999). Adverbs and functional heads : A cross-linguistic
perspective. Oxford University Press.

Edmont, E. and Gilliéron, J. (1902-1910). Atlas linguistique de la France.
Champion, Paris.

Zanuttini, R. (1997). Negation and Clausal Structure : a Comparative Study
of Romance Languages. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
-------------- n�chster Teil --------------
Ein Dateianhang mit HTML-Daten wurde abgetrennt...
URL: <https://lists.univie.ac.at/pipermail/pling/attachments/20150518/b18e6120/attachment.html>

More information about the PLing mailing list