LingLunch : Suzanne Lesage

Jeudi 25 Avril 2024, 12:00 to 13:00
Karen De Clercq et Ira Noveck (LLF)

LLF – Bât. ODG – 5e étage – Salle du conseil (533)

Suzanne Lesage (French Department, University of Fribourg)
Vous avez dérogé la règle: Transitivizing the intransitive in French

Cases of transitivization have been reported in French by Serbat (1994) and Condamines (2013, 2017), and one may wonder under which conditions they occur. Corpus research highlights three forms of transitivization:

  • Objectivization consists in making an oblique argument or an adjunct of an intransitive verb into a direct object (1a);
  • Causativization consists in applying a causative-anticausative alternation pattern to a verb that is standardly used in the anticausative construction, thus adding a causer participant realized as the subject of the verb (1b);
  • Ex nihilo transitivization adds a direct object out of the blue, i.e. without inferring it from any argument or adjunct in the verb’s intransitive use (1c).

a. cliquer l’icône ("click the icon")
b. mousser le lait ("froth the milk")
c. dormir une nuit paisible ("sleep a peaceful night")

In addition, transitivization can be realized in different syntactic structures, including a direct object construction with lexicalized arguments (2a), a cliticized construction with the object in a pronominal form (2b), and a passive construction in which the novel object is promoted as the subject (2c).

a. J'ai cliqué l'icône. ("I clicked  the icon.")
b. Je l'ai cliquée. ("I clicked it.")
c. L'icône a été cliquée. ("The icon has been clicked.")

The objective of our study is to determine (i) whether the different types of transitivization (as illustrated in (1)) influence the possibility of transitivization, and (ii) whether transitivization depends on differences in syntactic realizations (as illustrated in (2)), possibly in interaction with transitivization types.