Article published in:Constructions in French
Edited by Myriam Bouveret and Dominique Legallois
[Constructional Approaches to Language 13] 2012
► pp. 201–232
“C’est de la bombe!”
Qualitative count-to-mass conversion in French copular subject-predicate constructions
In this paper, I propose a Construction Grammar approach to the count/mass distinction in French. Rather than confine my analysis to NPs, I examine the effects of mass conversion in the broader context of two partially-filled idiomatic constructions: the CCDN construction (ça c’est de la voiture! ‘that’s some car’) and the CDN construction (cette voiture, c’est de la bombe! ‘that car rocks!’). Both inherit properties from the Copular Subject Predicate construction (c’est une voiture ‘that’s a car”), except their nominal predicates undergo count-to-mass conversion. Generally, count-to-mass conversion has a quantitative function: it turns NPs whose referents are numerically quantifiable into an NP whose referents cannot be quantified as separate entities. In the CCDN and the CDN, count-to-mass conversion has a qualitative function: it predicates a quality of the subject by identifying this subject with the prototype of the category denoted by the nominal predicate. I show that the CCDN and the CDN belong to the same constructional network, even if they differ as to the kinds of identification that they realize.
Published online: 19 December 2012
Cited by 2 other publications
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