As we shall see, this discussion often revolves around questions of medium and register, but Guimier has also raised the possibility that pragmatic-semantic factors may play a role. In the case of relative clauses, debate often centres on the contextual factors that are particularly compatible with postposition, be these syntactic, semantic, informational, prosodic or stylistic see, for example, Fuchs a. The substantial body of research on postposition is almost exclusively based on corpora of written texts.
Indeed, within the written medium, literary texts dominate, with only relatively small quantities of other forms of written French featuring, such as journalism. One of the reasons for this is the assumed higher level of productivity and therefore the possibility of gleaning larger quantities of data to use as the basis for analysis of the range of syntactic, semantic and informational phenomena mentioned in Section 1. There is thus an assumption behind the published research, supported by the examples of postposition quoted in grammars of French, that postposition is a written phenomenon occurring mainly in formal registers.
That said, large-scale corpus-based research on the productivity of postposition in different text types, genres or registers of written French has not really been undertaken; it is in fact not clear to what extent there might be variation across different registers and genres within the written medium.
Blanche-Benveniste summarises this as roughly one occurrence every half hour of conversation. He finds that particular types of postposition are more frequent than others in conversational oral French, notably in certain types of relative ff. The point of departure for this article is the observation, in the light of previous work and comments on register, medium and genre, that relatively speaking, there appears to be a noticeable presence of postposition in a recent corpus of French oral narrative — the French Oral Narrative Corpus. It contains eighty-seven stories which have been recorded in authentic performance contexts, transcribed and annotated using the Text Encoding Initiative TEI , for a range of structures, including postposition.
New storytellers glean their storylines from written texts reflecting a wide range of periods and story types but transform them each time that they are recounted into an oral performance. However, given the highly specific nature of the corpus, I will present, where possible, some comparisons with three other small corpora representing different registers and media:. The corpora are not remotely comparable in terms of size. The main focus here is the new storytelling corpus; the aim with the comparative corpora is to offer three small corpora of around twenty stories each, albeit of very different lengths.
This is possible in the case of the mini-CRFP and the published corpora, but only seventeen suitable stories in French are available from the Aubrac corpus. In any case, there is no claim that the corpora can be used for meaningful quantitative comparisons. As outlined in Section 1. Quantitative statistical analysis is simply not possible beyond basic percentages, as the numbers dictate that significance tests would not be meaningful. This is, therefore, essentially a qualitative analysis of postposition in the new storytelling corpus, with basic statistics such as percentages where appropriate and qualitative comparison with the other corpora where possible.
Cappeau notes that these are dispersed throughout the corpus and are not limited to a small number of subcorpora ; they are thus not indicative of idiolectal use by particular individuals. In the twenty conversational narratives forming the mini-CRFP used for this study i. In the new storytelling corpus, there is a wide range of verbs after nominal antecedents, with no suggestion of clear patterns of co-occurrence, for example:. In other words, while small in number, relative que with a nominal antecedent appears nonetheless to have a productive status in new storytelling, in that it is used with a range of verbs and tenses.
Since the structure is deployed to convey forms of reported speech, both the present tense and the future appear as frequently as past tenses. As with postposition after ce que , some examples are repeated in a formulaic fashion, not least 13 , which is repeated twice in the same story.
While the five examples following que involve five different verbs and three tenses, the numbers are too low to make arguments about productivity. In short, postposition after relatives is rare in the oral medium, with only the new storytelling corpus showing a marginally raised level of frequency. Even here, only two types of relative are attested with any degree of frequency, i. While there is some evidence of productivity in terms of the range of verbs and tenses attested, other examples are almost formulaic in nature. There is no obvious association with particular storytellers or types of story: the examples are scattered throughout the corpus.
Finally, there is no suggestion of any of the relatives attested representing a marker of genre; their relative rarity is probably simply related to medium and register, with only the published and highly performed oral stories in the new storytelling corpus demonstrating any sense of productivity.
Postposition of the verb after initial spatial and temporal elements involves nominal subjects and features regularly in analyses and discussions of postposition: In practice, the spatiotemporal elements co-occurring with postposition vary in terms of their relationship with the verb and the nature of this relationship is, in turn, closely linked to the likelihood of postposition of the subject. In other words, if the spatiotemporal element is a compulsory complement of the verb as in 14 and 15 above, and 17 and 18 below, postposition is effectively compulsory and the order is XVS Fournier :.
However, in many examples, the relationship between the spatiotemporal element and the verb is not so clear cut. There has been considerable theoretical debate around the analysis of different types of postposition following initial spatiotemporal elements, in particular concerning the status of the initial spatiotemporal element.
In other cases, the relationship to the verb is less clear: the spatiotemporal element is, strictly speaking, not part of the valency of the verb but is equally not entirely autonomous, as in 20 and 21 , cited by Fuchs and Fournier 94 :. There are two different, but interconnected, theoretically problematic issues here. The first concerns whether or not the spatiotemporal element is extrapredicative or intrapredicative.
But whichever view one takes on this, including the possibility that there is a continuum of predicativity in such contexts, most relevant for this discussion is that this is a key context for examples of postposition of the subject. This article does not intend to take up the debate around framing versus non-framing, which is explored in detail in Carruthers and Le Draoulec Rather, the key point is that, given the relative rarity of subject postposition in the oral medium, it appears to be found fairly frequently after initial spatiotemporal elements in the new storytelling corpus, whether some of these instances constitute frames or not.
There are sixty-six examples in total, across a range of storytellers and types of story: forty-two of these are spatial, fifteen are temporal and nine are both. The function of postposition after initial spatiotemporal elements is related to the positions in the conte where it is attested. In terms of productivity, it could be argued that since a considerable number of examples are attested with a range of tenses and verbs, there is reason to believe that postposition in this context is fairly productive.
On the other hand, there are some indications of fixed and recurring patterns. For example, a recurring type of structure involves the introduction of a new character or idea into the discourse, often a new protagonist — a particularly useful device for an oral storyteller.
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This type of structure thus appears with a restricted set of verbs in the new storytelling data, as it does elsewhere. Indeed, the structure can be embedded in a formulaic construction, as in:. This type of structure is, therefore, something of a convention in the conte : counterbalancing some evidence of productivity, there is also a formulaic dimension to certain examples of postposition, which would suggest that productivity may be limited.
It can safely be concluded that the levels attested in new storytelling are indeed considerably higher than in conversation. There is only one example in the Aubrac corpus of traditional stories, a corpus where language is much less self-consciously performed and much less stylised than in new storytelling. Interestingly, there are also relatively few examples in the corpus of twenty published stories — only seven, all of which are of similar types to those in the new storytelling corpus, for instance:.
What tentative conclusions can be drawn about this type of postposition, in terms of register, medium and genre? There are certainly links to register: only the more formal varieties — the new storytelling corpus and to some extent the published stories — contain a critical mass of examples. Questions of genre and medium are more complex.
Taking the latter together with the relatively low levels in the published corpus, it certainly cannot be argued that postposition after initial spatiotemporal elements is a genre marker for oral narrative or for the conte. However, it may be possible to contend that it is a hallmark of new storytelling. Levels are certainly raised relative to in other types of oral discourse and examples are spread across the corpus in terms of different storytellers and different types of story.
It is important to note that all these elements can appear elsewhere in the clause, notably postverbally, where no postposition of the subject occurs:. In other words, these adverbials are by no means consistently linked to compulsory postposition of the subject; only where they appear at the head of the clause do they trigger postposition and there is no evidence that this position in the clause is preferable to any other. In addition to cases where the adverbial is postverbal or where que is used, there are instances where the adverb appears at the head of the phrase and there is simply no postposition — that is, in precisely the context where postposition is normally triggered:.
Guimier Chronological sequence is the default interpretation for juxtaposed event clauses, with alternative interpretations normally only coming into play if signalled explicitly e. Elsewhere it is usually compatible with sequence: This might help to explain their presence in this form of oral narrative discourse, especially given the broader context of extreme rarity in this position in the spoken medium.
The overall number of examples is too low and the examples too scattered throughout the corpus to speak of any firm patterns in terms of storyteller or type of story. In terms of the three other corpora, there are no examples at all of postposition in this context in either the Aubrac traditional storytelling or the mini-CRFP conversational narrative corpus. The low presence of these examples in the most informal oral variety mini-CRFP and the more informal of the two storytelling corpora Aubrac is not at all surprising and correlates with the comments alluded to above concerning register and medium.
What is somewhat more surprising is the fact that levels are, relatively speaking, slightly raised in the oral conte corpus relative to the written conte. But given the quantity of examples, this should perhaps not be overstated. In practice, most examples cited in grammars of French are written and, indeed, usually literary.
In spoken varieties of French, postposition in this context is extremely rare and often limited to certain verbs notably dire, faire and the auxiliary avoir and to particular registers and genres. However, it is not possible to argue that a different construction is used in spoken French in every instance where a written text might use an incise : in practice, although oral varieties of course contain forms of represented discourse, the distribution of these forms and their structures does not necessarily take the same form as in written varieties.
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Direct discourse in these very informal registers tends to appear accompanied by a verb of speech usually positioned before the direct discourse with the order SV, as the following examples from the mini-CRFP demonstrate: The verb of speech is overwhelmingly dire but faire is also attested as a verb of speech in the most informal registers. Again, the interesting corpus in our data in terms of postposition is that of new storytelling. The other three corpora conform to predictable patterns.
The mini-CRFP conversational narrative corpus contains no examples of postposition note that Cappeau found extremely few examples in the full CRFP corpus and the Aubrac corpus of traditional stories contains only two. In both of the latter corpora, it is the other forms of reported discourse noted above with regard to the most informal varieties that dominate — that is, indirect discourse or direct discourse with verbs of speech but no postposition.
Additionally, the Aubrac corpus contains examples of direct discourse where que is inserted before the verb of speech, again with the SV order preserved: In the new storytelling corpus, the situation is more complex. First, postposition with verbs of speech is indeed attested, and in not insignificant quantities. Second, as we would expect given the oral nature of the discourse, there are proportionally far fewer examples of postposition than in the published corpus: in the much larger oral corpus of eighty-seven stories, there are only examples versus in the small published corpus of twenty short stories.
The examples in the new storytelling corpus are overwhelming cases of the verb dire e. It is important to note that direct discourse is extremely common in the new storytelling corpus. All research on oral narratives — whether medieval or modern, conversational or performed — testifies to the importance of direct discourse: substantial quantities of direct discourse are in fact cited by Hymes and many subsequent scholars as a key performance feature, alongside gestures, sound effects, asides and so forth.
In the new storytelling corpus, the vast majority of the time we find, as in other types of oral narrative, either direct discourse with subject-verb word order usually positioned before the direct discourse but after is also possible , or examples where there is no verb of speech at all. Both phenomena are illustrated in the following example, where the central section contains no verbs of speech: In summary, in terms of our consideration of questions of medium, register and genre, the picture in relation to incises is not entirely surprising: medium is the primary determiner of postposition with verbs of speech, and register is also relevant.
The case of new storytelling is interesting. It is a fundamentally oral form of discourse, where many features correlate strongly with other types of oral narrative, such as conversational or traditional stories. However, there are some features of this genre that show clear influence from conventional written patterns. On the basis of an analysis of temporal features e. There may also be a connection with the preferences of individual storytellers: of the eighteen storytellers, there are seven who use little or no postposition in this context and four where it occurs very frequently together producing 79 of the examples.
It is impossible to make robust statistical claims here; two of these storytellers offer a substantial contribution in terms of volume of stories in the corpus but, on the other hand, the same is true of several of those who almost never use postposition with direct discourse. Moreover, the quantities of direct discourse vary across stories, although it is generally very frequent. Equally, there are no obvious links with story type or tense usage. I would thus hesitate to identify postposition with verbs of speech as a genre marker in new storytelling, especially as it is far from being the dominant form of represented discourse and its use varies between different storytellers.
Nonetheless, the range of ways in which discourse is reported certainly reinforces the sense that new storytelling is a borderline genre in terms of linguistic patterns associated with different media, demonstrating a distinctive mixture of oral and written patterns. To return to the research questions, four contexts for postposition have a significant presence in new storytelling and these have formed the basis for this paper.
Both contexts are certainly more frequent sites for postposition in new storytelling than in other types of oral discourse. In the case of spatiotemporal elements at the head of the phrase, these are particularly important for the performance of the story in terms of its evolution in time and space. In other words, the spatiotemporal positioning of events and descriptions in the evolution of the story, and the progression of narrative events in sequence, both seem to play a role in increasing the presence of two particular contexts in which postposition might — and in a number of cases does — occur.
Indeed, at times both types of usage of postposition appear to be somewhat formulaic, something which is also highly compatible with the performed oral story. It is difficult to know whether we can go as far as describing either of these contexts for postposition as a genre feature. In terms of broader questions of register and medium, when new storytelling is viewed alongside the other mini-corpora analysed, it is clear that the presence of postposition ranges from relatively rare to extremely rare and tends to be restricted to certain types of structure.
Questions of register and medium are undoubtedly relevant. More work does need to be done on postposition in different genres, media, registers and text types in order to get a more accurate picture of the broader context. To what extent is it attested in a range of written text types? And which oral discourse types show raised levels of postposition of the subject, and why? At this stage, it is certainly not possible to say that the apparent raised levels of postposition in the performed oral story are indicative of future productivity of the structure more generally in French.
Quite the opposite: it would appear that its use is closely connected to certain features of the genre, not least the fact that it is a very particular type of oral discourse which is performed rather than informal, spontaneous within certain conventions, and where written texts are an important source. It would be interesting to see to what extent other borderline or hybrid genres such as speeches or news reports exhibit raised levels of postposition.
My hypothesis would be that the borderline nature of new storytelling in terms of medium and its particular narrative structures converge to raise the levels of postposition but that this particular mixture of factors will probably be found in few other types of oral discourse. However, while it is crucial not to suggest that postposition is productive in oral French, or that its use is likely to increase in the future, it is nonetheless important to point out that the combination of medium, register and genre can mean that certain types of oral discourse can produce patterns that are quite distinctive; and it is vital that these are explored so that we have a full picture of contemporary oral French.
As Blanche-Benveniste puts it her bold :. Note also that the discussion here relates exclusively to declaratives: interrogative structures use subject postposition as a key method for forming a question, precisely because the VS order contrasts with the usual declarative order of SV.
See Fleischman Plus tard, l'auteur reprendra les bassins, auxquels il ajoutera une touaille, comme signe de reconnaissance. Une toaille a son col pent ; L'eve donna au chevalier, Et la toaille a essuier. Il a les bacins conneiiz, Si tost comme il les a veiiz. La damoisele les porta, Qu'en la Lande primes trova ; Ne volt au nain fer e semblant. Que conclure de ce passage?
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Lods Seul le mss. Ewert et J. Warnke et J. Hoepffner celle de S. Gaston Paris c. Warnke, Rom. XIV, p. Warnke fait suivre le vers 62 de deux points et le v.
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Hoepffner met deux points en 62 et un point en 63, J. Lods ponctue les deux vers d'une simple virgule. L'iave li aporterent por laver II mescin Et furent ambedoi de fin or li bacin. Tables et nappes, pains et vins Fu tost apareilliez et mis Si se sunt au soper assis. Li valet saillent err ornent Por l'eve as bacins si la donent.
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