Impersonals and other Agent Defocusing Constructions in French

| Rice University
ISBN 9789027246660 | EUR 99.00 | USD 149.00
ISBN 9789027269072 | EUR 99.00 | USD 149.00
This book investigates French impersonals as a functional category. Any structure whose agent is defocused and whose predicate describes a situation stable enough to be generally available should be considered impersonal. In addition to il impersonals, the category also includes demonstrative (ce/ça), middle (se), and indefinite (on) structures. These different forms belong to the same functional category because they systematically code general and predictable events that cannot be imputed to a specific cause. Because generality and predictability are gradual notions, impersonals can only be identified within the context of specific constructional islands which therefore constitute the organizing principle of the French impersonal category.

Conducted in Cognitive Grammar, the analysis follows the functional tradition in expanding the scope of French impersonals beyond il constructions, but also proposes a way of precisely delineating the category. This book will be of interest to anyone interested in impersonal constructions and French linguistics.
[Human Cognitive Processing, 50]  2015.  ix, 372 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Narrow and broad impersonals: Definitions and scope of analysis
Chapter 2. A cognitive approach to French impersonals
Chapter 3. The semantic range of il impersonals
Chapter 4. Simple Impersonals: Pattern of Usage
Chapter 5. Complex impersonals
Chapter 6. Demonstrative impersonals
Chapter 7. Middle impersonals
Chapter 8. Indefinite impersonals
Chapter 9. Concluding remarks
“The volume is a very valuable contribution and reveals to be fruitful reading for students and scholars interested in the impersonal domain, both in French and from a cross-linguistic perspective. Indeed, the innovative functional definition of impersonality will undoubtedly be of great service for comparisons between languages, at least within the Romance language area.”


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