LLF – Bât. ODG – 5e étage – Salle du conseil (533)
Jan Fliessbach (Universität Potsdam)
On the role of verbs in French partial interrogative syntax
French partial interrogative markers (Q-phrases) can occur preverbally (QV) and postverbally (VQ). This variability has been studied from various sociolinguistic perspectives (Coveney 2011; Elsig 2009; Adli 2013; Thiberge 2020). Yet the designs of these studies did not allow for a detailed investigation of the role of specific verbs for the syntax and pragmatics of the interrogatives such verbs occur in, hypothesized to be important for example by Myers (2007: 78) and Boucher (2010: 111). Using a workflow based on OpusTools (Aulamo et al. 2020), we extracted more than one hundred thousand partial interrogatives from a large parallel corpus of French-Spanish fan-generated film subtitles (Lison & Tiedemann 2016) which represents a close approximation of informal conversations (Levshina 2017). We selected 20 verbs for investigation and found that most of the verbs show a tendency to occur in either QV or VQ, some almost categorically so. Among those verbs that occur in a relevant number of both, we found that different Q-placements correlate with differences in Spanish translations, with QV more often translated with constructions and Pottsian expressives (Potts 2007) that indicate a challenging or negative-evaluative function.