ODG – Salle du conseil (533)
Bernard Fradin (LLF)
Les dénuméraux en X-aire du français
From the formal point of view, the denumerals in question can be classified in three subsets: those in Xaire e.g. binaire 'binary', those in X(e)naire e.g. trentenaire '30 years old' and those in Xgénaire e.g. sexagénaire '60 years old'. From the point of view of their origin, these forms are either adaptations of Latin adjectives (themselves derived from distributive adjectives) e.g. fra binaire < lat binarius, octogénaire '80 years old' < lat octogenarius or regular derivations from French cardinals e.g. cinquantenaire '50 years old' <- cinquante 'fifty'. From the semantic point of view, four patterns of interpretation are observed: (i) Time measuring: 'CARD(inal) years old' e.g. trentenaire, octogénaire; (ii) Element counting: 'comprising CARD similar elements' e.g. musique ternaire 'ternary music'; (iii) Anniversary reading: 'which took place CARD years ago' le cinquantenaire du débarquement 'the 50th anniversary of the Normandy landing'; (iv) Ordinal: 'occupying rank CARD (in a given series)' e.g. école secondaire '(secondary | high) school'. Arguments that support an abstractive approach to the data in question will be proposed. It will be argued that the adaptation from Latin did not occur blindly but as a result of an 'onomasiological pressure'.