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2 Moi je ne sais pas vs. Je ne sais pas moi: French Disjoint Pronouns in the Left vs. Right Periphery

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses certain asymmetries in the behaviour of French strong pronouns when used either in the left or the right periphery of the sentence. It is based on an analysis of the ELICOP version of the Corpus Orléans, a corpus of spontaneous French conversations recorded in the 1960s, now freely accessible on the web. Parenthetical constructions of the type (moi) je trouve que 'I think that' have a special discourse function. The variant moi je trouve que with a strong pronoun is, despite its high frequency, still much less frequent than the unmarked variant with just the subject clitic je. The essential difference between left and right periphery seems to be this: while the elements of the left periphery serve to anchor the upcoming rheme and/ or the illocution expressed by it, the right periphery is a place where rheme and illocution can be re-negotiated.

Keywords: ELICOP; French conversations; left periphery; parenthetical constructions; right periphery



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