L’accord sujet-verbe en français contemporain
Une étude de cas — la/une foule
This article presents an analysis of synchronic variation and diachronic change in verbal agreement with the French noun foule. This noun, like many collective nouns in French and other languages, can show variation between singular and plural verbal agreement (la foule des habitants exulteSING de joie dans les rues vs. une foule de gens pressés s’attardentPLU). A novel combination of data, including data from sociolinguistic interviews, a gap-fill exercise, and a corpus of written French, is used to investigate this variation and change, to elucidate some of the factors that play a role in this type of agreement, and to examine the differences between this form used with the definite and indefinite determiner (la foule vs. une foule). Some theoretical issues concerning the definition of collective nouns are also addressed.
Article language: French