Article published in:Deixis and Pronouns in Romance Languages
Edited by Kirsten Jeppesen Kragh and Jan Lindschouw
[Studies in Language Companion Series 136] 2013
► pp. 125–144
Diaphasic variation and change in French pronouns
Different uses of on with special reference to the on/nous alternation
The French pronominal paradigm demonstrates a colloquial variation between expressing the 1st person plural as on and as nous (On est 19 dans ma classe meaning the same as Nous sommes 19 dans ma classe). This use of definite on is stigmatized by some as working class and incorrect and seen as a spreading feature, but seen by others as a stable stylistic ressource. The present article (inspired by Coveney 2000) investigates the speech of six young Parisians in different kinds of speech situations, in order not only to examine the possible diaphasic dimension of the on/nous alternation, but also to look into their other uses of on, in search of an explanation of the increasing popularity of this pronoun in French.
Published online: 14 November 2013