Morphosyntactic adaptation of English loanwords in present-day French: A study of gender and number - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Contrastive Linguistics Year : 2015

Morphosyntactic adaptation of English loanwords in present-day French: A study of gender and number

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Vincent HUGOU

Abstract

This study deals with the morphosyntactic adaptation of recent English-origin nouns and adjectives into French. It aims to determine to what extent these loanwords are brought into line with the French system, which differs structurally from the English one. More precisely, it investigates the factors influencing gender assignment (for nouns), gender agreement (for adjectives), as well as plural inflection (for both nouns and adjectives), and seeks to explain how these factors interact. The data used for this study is taken from a corpus, which comprises texts from two online women's magazines. A small survey is also conducted with ten native speakers and sheds more light on the information provided by the corpus. The results for nominal gender reveal that semantic properties seem to be better predictors of gender assignment than formal properties. On the other hand, nominal plural inflection is more grounded in formal criteria. In both cases, constraints tend to converge toward the same results, or more rarely compete with each other. The analysis of adjectival Anglicisms indicates that they are consistently less amenable to morphosyntactic adaptation than nouns. The explanation provided is based on the degree of "adjectiveness" of borrowed adjectives, more prototypical adjectives tending to receive gender and plural inflections. Overall, this paper yields some insights into present-day French and confirms earlier findings. It also proposes to revisit some classifications to make them more powerful and it incorporates factors heretofore ignored in Anglicism research, such as the role of the syntactic environment.
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Dates and versions

hal-03812734 , version 1 (12-10-2022)

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  • HAL Id : hal-03812734 , version 1

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Vincent HUGOU. Morphosyntactic adaptation of English loanwords in present-day French: A study of gender and number. Contrastive Linguistics, 2015, pp.123-162. ⟨hal-03812734⟩
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