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Topic, Antitopic and Verb Agreement in Non-Standard French by Knud Lambrecht

By Knud Lambrecht

The writer describes and explains the syntactic and pragmatic houses of the nominal and pronominal parts in sentences of the categories Ces Romains ils sont fous and Ils sont fous, ces Romains, which, regardless of their common prevalence, have thus far obtained little recognition between linguists and grammarians. He argues that faraway from having the marginal prestige of a linguistic anomaly, the cooccurrence within the similar clause of coreferential nouns and pronouns is one formal manifestation of a massive sensible precept in sleek French: the encoding of a topic-comment courting within the floor constitution of the sentence. The pronouns in sentences reminiscent of those pointed out are interpreted as contract markers. The syntactic and semantic transformations among issues and anti-topics are analyzed.

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Its literal trans­ lation would be "whereas Swiss-German one has to get up early", where "getting up early" expresses a strenuous and long-lasting effort. I imagine that an English speaker in that situation might have said some­ thing like "Swiss-German, on the other hand, you really have to work at", using a topicalized sentence structure. Examples such as those in (67) constitute good evidence, I believe, for the psychological claim made earlier: if the topic in these sentences does not corres­ pond to a particular case role in the semantic frame of the verb, one need not assume that at the moment of utterance it was conceived as having any such role.

All these developments constitute good evidence, I believe, for the close connection between clitic pro­ nouns and topics/antitopics and for the existence of a new agreement 40 TOPIC, ANTITOPIC AND VERB AGREEMENT IN NON-STANDARD FRENCH network in Non-Standard French. 8. Distribution of semantic features. Semantic simplification. Parallel to phonetic erosion, a certain "bleaching" (Givon, 76) of se­ mantic distinctions has taken place in NSF with respect to the features of gender, number and person.

Below), I exclude from discussion the problem of clitic anaphora in embedded clauses. Thus I do not intend to deal with the case of non- tensed embedded clauses, in which subject clitics are never present, such as in infinitival clauses like (28) a. Il-est parti sans ø me-donner l'argent b. El-est partie après ø m-avoir donné l'argent However there is one interesting problem of clitic embedding that I CLITIC PRONOUNS 29 would like to deal with briefly here: the behavior of clitic subjects in NSF relative clauses.

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